Born on a straw mat in a cowshed to a farmer’s family, little Lhamo Thondup was recognised as the 14th Dalai Lama, in 1939. He was rechristened as Tenzin Gyatso, on being recognised as the Dalai Lama. On July 6, 2017, he turns 82. Eswar profiles His Holiness, in the regular column. Different Truths wishes him a Happy Birthday with millions around the world. An exclusive.
July 6, 2017, marks the 82nd birthday of Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. Tibetans, Tibet supporters and followers of the Dalai Lama across the world start festivities ten days in advance and the day is celebrated as the World Tibet Day. Dalai Lama lineage is considered to be the incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. The title ‘Dalai Lama’ which means ‘Ocean of Wisdom’ was created by the Mongolian ruler Altan Khan in 1578.
Born on a straw mat in a cowshed to a farmer’s family, little Lhamo Thondup was recognised as the 14th Dalai Lama, in 1939. He was rechristened as Tenzin Gyatso, a short name for Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, on being recognised as the Dalai Lama. The enthronement ceremony was held in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet on 22 February 1940 and he assumed full temporal duties on 17 November 1950 at the age of 15 at a time when the People’s Republic of China invaded Tibet and started illegally occupying the peaceful ‘Shangri la’.
For the last 58 years His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama is living in exile in India.
This generation is blessed to live at a time when the epitome of non-violence, love, and compassion is still alive and spreads the true essence of Buddhism world over. Though forced to live in exile for most of his life, though he is denied entry to his nation, Dalai Lama considers that he is blessed that he could live in the nation where Buddhism originated and to live in the land of Buddha. He proudly calls himself a true Indian and says that his body is nutritioned by the Dal and Roti he eats for more than half a century and his mind is rejuvenated with the ancient teachings of Nalanda. Wherever he goes, he talks about how we have a lot to learn from Ancient India and in one of his recent speeches he said Western psychology is like a UKG student in front of Indian ancient teachings on the subject and the western world has a lot to learn from the rich ancient Indian books and ancient Indian spiritual masters.
It is sad and an unfortunate reality that though the world over the Dalai Lama is invited and people wait in millions to see and to be with him, we have comfortably forgotten his nation, his cause, and his people.
It’s an irony that a revered person world over, considered to be the Compassionate one, who spreads the language of Love and compassion, is seen with fear by the Chinese forces, censoring even the remotest association with the name ‘His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama’. The fear is spreading like wildfire that even if one holds a photograph of His Holiness, the person is denied entry and is threatened. The Tibetans are forced to remove the photographs of His Holiness from their homes inside Tibet, but unfortunately, they are so mean that they do not know that the picture is not in a frame, but in the hearts of Tibetans, to whom Dalai Lama is their leader, their spiritual master.
Fifty-eight years, a lifetime to many, living with hope, practising non-violence, encouraging and making sure Tibet and its rich culture is not erased permanently from the world. On being forced to go into exile to India, one of the important task before His Holiness was to make sure that Tibetans who are in exile, the world over live the Tibetan way of life and do not forget their roots, the cause and its rich heritage and more importantly the Tibetan Language. Schools were opened to teach Tibetan children. When the language, its culture, the rich history, and heritage is slowly being re-written and brainwashed in the ‘Roof of the World’, Tibetans in exile, the world over and the ones chained inside, live with the hope that this nation becomes free from the clutches of the red dragons. It’s the dream, prayer, and hope of each Tibetan that His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama is able to return to Tibet and live amongst them in Tibet.
On his 82nd birthday when we, at Different Truths with millions around the world, wish the Dalai Lama many happy returns of the day, let us not forget the essence of the Tibetan Cause and its people and the nation which is still not free, though over 100 countries gained freedom since Tibet was illegally occupied.
Photos sourced by the author.
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Eswar Anandan’s mother’s traverse with Cancer opened his eyes and thoughts about the life outside the glass cubicles. In his own words: “Strong emotions gave way to words, words took poetic form, and I found a new purpose…” His first book, ‘Seasons’ is a dedication to her. He is currently working on ‘Thoughts in Silence’ and ‘Story of a Nation’. Eswar is an entrepreneur and Friends of Tibet Campaigner.