The Dalai Lama represents the voice of moral authority. He is a compassionate human being capable of integrating expanded spiritual, religious heart and mind. Tenzin Gyatso (religious name) is the 14th Dalai Lama, currently the spiritual and secular leader of Tibet which now only exists in exile.
Tibetans have been able to embrace the non-violent principles of Buddhism and become a society devoted to producing enlightened beings. For centuries Tibet was ruled by successive reincarnations of their god King, the Dalai Lama. In 1932, Tibet’s 13th Dalai Lama prophesied that his peace loving country will soon come under attack and that he would have to die sooner than he needed so that when this attack happened he could be of an age that would be of greater help to his people. After his death on December 17th, 1933, clues from dreams and oracles of what they were looking for in the reincarnation were revealed and the search for the 14th Dalai Lama began.
Lhamo Dondrub born on July 6th, 1935 was discovered in 1937 at age 2 ½ by senior monks in disguise scouring the country side looking for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. One of the senior monks wanted a closer look at the boy and upon placing him in his lap the boy started to play with the rosary around the monk’s neck and proceeded to say to the monk in Central Tibetan dialect which was unknown in his village and family, “That’s mine, give it to me!”.
Intrigued, the monks spread a collection of items, including toys, some of which had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama and some of which had not, to see if he recognized anything from a former life. Without any hesitation the child picked out the possessions of the 13th Dalai Lama (several rosaries, a walking stick, and a drum). He played the drum in the same characteristic as the 13th Dalai Lama had. Interestingly he picked up one of the walking sticks and held it for a second but then immediately put it back and picked out another which he held onto as his choice. It turned out that the first walking stick he picked out had been given by the 13th Dalai Lama to somebody. Even more astonishing, the boy was able to name each monk by their first names, something he could not have known. After a few more tests the monks decided that they have found the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.
On February 22, 1940 the 4 year old boy was officially proclaimed the 14 Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet and was given a new name, Tenzin Gyatso (ocean of wisdom). From a young age the Dalai Lama was put into a rigorous system of Buddhist education where he had to memorize mountains of texts and later lead his country through the trials and aggression of the communist Chinese.
To learn more on the Buddhist belief of reincarnation check out “The Tibetan Book of the Dead“.