“Of the many problems we face today, some are natural calamities and must be accepted and faced with equanimity. Others, however, are of our own making, created by misunderstanding, and can be corrected. One such type arises from the conflict of ideologies, political or religious, when people fight each other for petty ends, losing sight of the basic humanity that binds us all together as a single human family. We must remember that the different religions, ideologies, and political systems of the world are meant for human beings to achieve happiness. We must not lose sight of this fundamental goal and at no time should we place means above ends; the supremacy of humanity over matter and ideology must always be maintained” - The Dalai Lama
|In 1935, a little boy named Lhamo Thondub was born to a peasant family in Takstar, a small village in Tibet, high in the Himalayan Mountains. Lhamo had one older sister and three older brothers. His family had a small farm where they grew barley and potatoes and kept horses, yaks, sheep, goats and chicken. The family lived in a typical Tibet house made primarily of stone and mud.
Lhamo grew up as an ordinary Tibetan boy. He enjoyed ice skating in the winter and helping his mother around the farm. He would also often make believe that he was going on a trip to Lhasa, the capitol city of Tibet that was a several months journey from his home. His parents thought this was very strange because they were not sure how Lhamo even knew that Lhasa existed.
Hear The Dalai Lama explain why the Global Call to Action is so important.
One day when Lhamo was three years old, several monks and men from the Tibetan Government visited Takstar. The old Dalai Lama, leader of one of the main branches of Tibetan Buddhism, and head of the Tibetan government, had died. Now this team was looking for his reincarnation, the young child in which the old Dalai Lama’s soul had been reborn. In their dreams and visions the monks had seen a home with turquoise gutters – just like Lhamo’s house.
They suspected that Lhamo was the reincarnation of the thirteenth Dalai Lama. But they had to test him first. They set several pairs of objects in front of the boy, such as eye glasses, canes, and prayer beads. One of each object had belonged to the thirteenth Dalai Lama and the other had not. When Lhamo chose the objects that belonged to the previous Dalai Lama the monks were convinced that they had found the next Dalai Lama. Lhamo was going to Lhasa after all.
Lhamo and his family packed their bags and traveled to Lhasa where Lhamo began his studies with other monks. He learned about Tibetan art and culture, logic, and meditation in preparation to be the official leader of Tibet on his 21st birthday. Lhamo was taught to strive for compassion and sympathy for all living beings, without exception.
In October 1950, when the Dalai Lama was just fifteen years old, 80,000 soldiers from China invaded Tibet. Thousands of Tibet people were killed in the invasion. The people of Tibet needed a strong leader to stand up to the Chinese and to bring peace back to their country. They could not wait for the new Dalai Lama to turn 21. So at the age of fifteen, the boy who had been named Lhamo Thondup found himself the spiritual and political leader of over six million Tibetans.
The Dalai Lama worked for nine long years to find a peaceful solution to the conflict with China. But the situation grew worse. On March 10, 1959, thousands of Tibetans demonstrated in Lhasa, demanding an independent Tibet. Chinese soldiers fired on the protesters and thousands of Tibetans were killed. Tibet was no longer safe for him and the Dalai Lama had to flee his country.
The Dalai Lama traveled for many weeks over the Himalayas – the highest mountains in the world – into India. His parents and siblings went with him, as did many of his teachers and other Tibetan government officials. They made their way to Dharamsala, now known as “Little Lhasa,” where they set up the Tibetan Government in exile. The Dalai Lama continued to work for the rights of his people. United Nations General Assembly adopted three resolutions in 1959, 1961, and 1965 calling on China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and to honor their independence.
The Dalai Lama started over 50 large settlements for Tibetan refugees in India and created a Tibetan school system to teach refugee children Tibetan language, history, religion, and culture. He founded several cultural institutes to preserve 2,000 years of Tibet’s arts and sciences and helped reestablish more than 200 monasteries to keep Buddhist teachings alive.
In 1989, on the 30th anniversary of China’s invasion of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to find a non-violent solution to the conflict with China. He continues to travel the globe speaking to world leaders and with ordinary people, spreading his message of peace and urging all people to live their lives with compassion for others and the earth. The Dalai Lama believes that “in today’s world, every nation is heavily interdependent, interconnected. Under these circumstances, destroying your enemy – your neighbor – means destroying yourself in the long run. You need your neighbor.”
The Dalai Lama often says “I am just a simple Buddhist monk – no more, no less.” Living in a small cottage in Dharamsala, he rises at 4 AM each morning to meditate, attend meeting sand conduct religious teachings and ceremonies. He concludes each day with more prayers. The Dalai Lama has worked hard over the years to bring compassion and loving kindness to the world – even to the Chinese government after all they have done to his people. For him, this is the only way to bring peace to Tibet and to the world.
Ancient Wisdom, Modern World - Ethics for a New Millennium.Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart
Buddhism of Tibet And the Key to the Middle Way
Cultivating a Daily Meditation
Dalai Lama's Little Book of Wisdom
Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night
Four Noble Truths
Freedom in Exile (The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama of Tibet)
The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective
Joy of Living and Dying in Peace
Kindness, Clarity and Insight
Love, Kindness and Universal Responsibility
Meaning of Life from a Buddhist Perspective
My Land and My People(Memoirs of the Dalai Lama)
Opening the Mind & Generating a Good Heart
Path to Bliss (A Practical Guide to Stages of Meditation)
Path to Enlightenment
Policy of Kindness (An Anthology of Writings By and About the Dalai Lama)
Power of Buddhism
Power of Compassion
Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying
Union of Bliss and Emptiness.Universal Responsibility and the Good Heart
Violence and Compassion
Way to Freedom
World of Tibetan Buddhism