The Dalai Lama

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama (born Lhamo Döndrub, also known by his religious name, Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso), is Tibet’s head of state as well as the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was recognized at age 2 as the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. In November 1950, His Holiness assumed full power of Tibet. He completed his Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy in 1959, the same year that China attacked Tibet; after which he escaped to Dharamsala, India, where he has since led the Tibetan government in exile. On December 10th, 1989, His Holiness accepted the Nobel Peace Prize “on behalf of the oppressed everywhere and all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace and the people of Tibet.” In his acceptance statement, he declared, “This prize reaffirms our conviction that with truth, courage, and determination as our weapons, Tibet will be liberated. Our struggle must remain nonviolent and free of hatred.”

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