Every morning when I wake up, I dedicate myself to helping others to find peace of mind. Then, when I meet people, I think of them as long term friends; I don't regard others as strangers. -- The Dalai Lama
According to the World Almanac there are over 450 million Buddhists in 150 countries. Most of the people who practice Buddhism are in Asia. One of the most well known Buddhists is The Dalai Lama of Tibet. He was born on July 6, 1935 as Lhamo Dhondup in northeastern Tibet. He is believed, by Tibetans, to be the 14th reincarnation of Gedun Drub (1391-1474), the first Dalai Lama. The current Dalai Lama was identified at the age of 2 and eventually taken to the monastery in Llasa to study with the monks. Through the centuries the Dalai Lama has become not just the spiritual leader of Tibet but also the political leader. In 1950, Tenzin Gyatso (the name he took upon entering the monastery) assumed this role. In 1959 he was forced to flee after the Chinese invaded his homeland. He established the Tibetan Government in Exile in Dharamsala, India.
The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet is one of the most well known and respected people in the world, religious or political. Through the years he has become a voice for non-violence and respect of others. In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "to emphasize the fact that the Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people" (Nobel Peace Prize Press Release).
The Dalai Lama has three main commitments in his life:
1) The promotion of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline.
2) The promotion of religious harmony and understanding among the world’s major religious traditions.
3) The Tibetan issue.
While I, admittedly, know very little about Buddhism, I have great respect and admiration for The Dalai Lama because of his compassion and respect for others and for his firm stance of non-violence even when it comes to the survival of his beloved homeland. No matter our beliefs, I think that there is much we can learn from this man.
So in honor of his 77th birthday, why not take some time to take a look at his website or check out a few books:
About The Dalai Lama
And if you want to join in on The Dalai Lama's birthday celebrations, there will be a live broadcast from Dharamsala, India. Just go to this link by 11:30 EDT, July 5th.
-- Post by Tracy