14th Dalai Lama & His Holiness’s relationship with India

Born on the 6th of July, 1935, as Lhamo Dhondrub, and discovered two years later. However, he was not formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama until the age of 15, on November 17th, 1950. In the past, the Dalai Lamas have served rather influential roles in the politics of the Central Tibet area, and it has been largely governed by the Central Tibet administration for large periods of the last few centuries. In keeping with this, and in light of the recent Chinese hostility, the enthroning ceremony of the 14thDalai Lama also effectively appointed him the temporal ruler of Tibet.

Through the better part of the decade that was the 1950s, the Dalai Lama attempted peaceable negotiations with the People’s Republic of China, none of which were highly successful. The rebellious uprisings in the Sichuan area in 1956 compelled the U.S. to step in and assist the efforts against the communist Chinese forces. Soon after, in 1959, a much more intense and hostile movement broke out which came to be known as the Tibetan Uprising. The Dalai Lama, fearing is safety threatened, was assisted by the CIA in fleeing to India, reaching Assam after a month long journey on April 18th. He was granted asylum by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in Dharamsala, from where he established the Government of Tibet in Exile. Following the Dalai Lama to India, approximately 80,000 Tibetan refugees came to settle in and around Dharamsala, and in the years that followed, the Dalai Lama strove for the realignment of these refugees into agricultural settlements, the formulation of a Tibetan educational system for the children, and the restoration of roughly 200 monasteries as an effort to preserve the values of Tibetan Buddhism. The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, founded by him in 1970, is home to nearly a 100,000 manuscripts documenting the political and cultural history of Tibet, making it one of the most significant institutions on the subject.

In 1989, in light of the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, also known as the July Fourth Protests, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the official statement explaining his candidacy as being based on his efforts towards “the struggle for the liberation of Tibet and a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

The Dalai Lama has openly and on many occasions acknowledged India as the master, and Tibet as the student, in the spiritual relationship shared by the two nations. He has also boldly acknowledged the monumental role of the Nalanda University, from when the knowledge and teachings of the philosophy were brought to Tibet

The 14th Dalai Lama is the longest living holder of the title, and his long lasting reign has seen his emergence as a rather outspoken political and religious figure. Several notions put forth by him have sparked controversy on a global level on more than one occasion. In 1998, the office of the Dalai Lama acknowledged receiving financial aid from the CIA during the 1960s, and in his autobiographical work called “Freedom in Exile”, he expounds on the true nature of the U.S. involvement, going on to say that it was intended more as Cold War tactic to challenge the Chinese, which was a part of their global efforts to destabilize communist regimes. On another occasion, he sparked a global debate when he announced that the recognition of the 15th Dalai Lama may not occur, as he may serve as the last of the lineage, deciding against reincarnation. During the late 1960s, he made a few remarks hinting at the future Dalai Lama to be a woman, offering an insight into the open minded perception of the spiritual leader. During the 1970, in a series of interviews, one of which was conducted with a newspaper based in Poland, he elaborated on his stance of possibly the last spiritual head of the sect, explaining that the institution had been created to aid the facilitation of the Tibetan practice and its prosperity, and to this end, this institution may reached the end of its essence. In 2011, the Dalai Lama issued a statement regarding the matter of his reincarnation, which essentially conveyed the message, that if, on his 90th birthday, a conference involving all the High Lamas of Tibetan Buddhist traditions, as well as the Tibetan public concluded with the decision to continue with the office, he would leave written instructions in keeping with traditional methods regarding the process of recognizing the reincarnation. The statement also urged all patrons of the faith to refuse the acknowledgment of any candidate chosen for the role based on political motivations, with special mention of the People’s Republic of China.

Since his arrival in India in 1959, the Dalai Lama has encouraged and overseen many major Buddhist celebrations in the country. The Kalachakra Initiation ceremony, one of the most significant practices of the Vajrayana sect, has been carried out by the current Dalai Lama on a total of 33 occasions since 1954. Out of these, 20 ceremonies have been carries out in India, 6 times in Himachal Pradesh, 4 times in Bihar, twice in Jammu and Kashmir and Karnataka each, and once in Ladakh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.


 

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