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Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama (a title that means “Ocean of Wisdom”) is considered to be a reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of compassion.

On February 22nd 1940, at the age of five-and-a-half, the Dalai Lama was formally enthroned and received the name Tenzin Gyatso. His education started at six. It included dialectics, Tibetan culture and arts, grammar, linguistics and medicine, as well as Buddhist philosophy - the most important subject.

In 1950 Chinese troops invaded Tibet. One year later, when the Dalai Lama was 16 years old and the situation in Tibet was becoming more and more threatening, he took on full political responsibility for his country. In 1954, he went to Beijing in order to negotiate a peace agreement with Mao Tse Tung and other Chinese leaders, among them Chou En Laï and Deng Xiao Ping.

In 1956, on the occasion of the 2500th anniversary of the Buddha's Parinirvana, His Holiness went on a journey to India. Many of his advisors asked him to remain in India and not to return to Tibet, but he decided to return to Lhasa and continue his efforts to arrive at a peaceful co-existence with the Chinese occupying forces.


The merciless politics of China in the East of Tibet thwarted his efforts for a peaceful resolution of the situation. The Chinese occupying forces drowned the people's uprising of March 1959 in blood. In 1959 and 1960, a total of 90.000 Tibetans lost their lives during this revolt. Seeing the turn that events had taken, the Dalai Lama and of tens of thousands of Tibetans were forced to flee over the Himalayas to India. Since then, the Tibetans have commemorated the victims of 1959 every year.

Since 1960, the Dalai Lama has lived in Dharamsala in the north of India, which is also the seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile. During the early years of exile, he called upon the United Nations to try to find a solution for the Tibetan situation. In 1959, 1961 and 1965, the UN adopted resolutions in which it was demanded that China respect the human rights of the Tibetans and their right to self-determination.

While in exile, the Dalai Lama and his government have always been committed to saving the Tibetan people and their culture. The government in exile take care of refugees and support economic development, and a system of schools and a Tibetan university have been established. Over 200 monasteries have also been founded.

In 1963, the Dalai Lama presented the preliminary draft of a constitution for a future free Tibet. The Dalai Lama has always been a most fervent promoter of the democratisation of Tibetan society. In addition to his efforts for the Tibetans in exile, he has tirelessly searched for a peaceful solution to the Tibetan issue.


During his visits to a total of 52 countries and his meetings with other religious leaders as well as with politicians, the Dalai Lama has campaigned for the peaceful resolution of the Tibetan situation as well as other conflicts, problems of human rights, and ecological problems affecting our planet. He has been officially received by many national leaders. Many influential people in the fields of politics, religion, science and economics who aspire to meet him in order to exchange about the crucial problems, have sought his company. He is regularly invited to many countries to express his ideas regarding harmonious co-existence and world peace, lecturing to thousands of people.

In addition to his responsibilities as spiritual leader and policy maker for Tibet, His Holiness is also one of the most accomplished masters and scholars of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. In this capacity he devotes a large part of his time to transmitting his knowledge and his spiritual experience to many other Buddhist masters and to very broad audiences.

All teachings are available on CD and DVD at


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