Sunday, December 3, 2017

14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso



Above pic is of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. Pic courtesy: http://resources.tsemtulku.com/free-downloads/his-holiness-dala-lama.html.

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]

As I was trying to understand the origins of the 1962 war between China and India (limited conflict of around a month not involving navies or air forces of both countries), I started realizing that the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was an important figure in this matter. So I did some reading up on his wikipedia page.

What an extraordinary figure the 14th Dalai Lama is! A great boon for peace-loving religious people all over the world! As an Indian citizen living in India, it is a matter of great joy to me that India provided the 14th Dalai Lama and his followers a place for refuge and for following and teaching his Tibetan Buddhism religion freely. It is a matter of even greater joy to me that the 14th Dalai Lama has enriched religion, inter-religious harmony and compassion in India immeasurably in our times by choosing to stay in India right from 1959, a period of over half a century! I offer my loving gratitude to the 14th Dalai Lama for these blessings that he has showered on India and on the world.

Now for some info. on the 14th Dalai Lama from wikipedia sources.

Tenzin Gyatso (referred to as Dalai Lama from now on in this article), was the temporal head of Tibet in 1959 when the Chinese armed forces under Mao Zedong invaded Tibet and made Tibet a part of China, as against a protectorate of China which Tibet had been for a few centuries in the past before 1912. Given below is an extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalai_Lama :

From 1642 until 1705, and from 1750 to the 1950s, the Dalai Lamas or their regents headed the Tibetan government (or Ganden Phodrang) in Lhasa which governed all or most of the Tibetan plateau with varying degrees of autonomy under the Qing Dynasty of China, up to complete sovereignty. This Tibetan government also enjoyed the patronage and protection of firstly Mongol kings of the Khoshut and Dzungar Khanates (1642–1720) and then of the emperors of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty (1720–1912). Tibet's sovereignty was later rejected, however, by both the Republic of China and the current People's Republic of China.

--- end extract from Dalai Lama wiki page ---

The remaining part of this post has a selection of many extracts from the 14th Dalai Lama's wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14th_Dalai_Lama, which are given below:

The 14th Dalai Lama (religious name: Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Thondup, 6 July 1935) is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism which is formally headed by the Ganden Tripas. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama to 1959, the central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the position of Dalai Lama with temporal duties.

The 14th Dalai Lama was born in Taktser village, Amdo, Tibet and was selected as the tulku of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 and formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama at a public declaration near the town of Bumchen in 1939. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on 22 February 1940, and he eventually assumed full temporal (political) duties on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, after the People's Republic of China's incorporation of Tibet. The Gelug school's government administered an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region just as the nascent PRC wished to assert control over it.

During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he currently lives as a refugee. The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He has traveled the world and has spoken about the welfare of Tibetans, environment, economics, women's rights, non-violence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health, and sexuality, along with various topics of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist teachings.
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Panchen Lama and Dalai Lama had many conflicts in Tibetan history. Dalai Lama's formal rule was brief. He sent a delegation to Beijing, which, without his authorization, ratified the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet. He worked with the Chinese government: in September 1954, together with the 10th Panchen Lama he went to the Chinese capital to meet Mao Zedong and attend the first session of the National People's Congress as a delegate, primarily discussing China's constitution. On 27 September 1954, the Dalai Lama was selected as a Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, a post he officially held until 1964.

In 1956, on a trip to India to celebrate the Buddha's Birthday, the Dalai Lama asked the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, if he would allow him political asylum should he choose to stay. Nehru discouraged this as a provocation against peace, and reminded him of the Indian Government's non-interventionist stance agreed upon with its 1954 treaty with China.
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At the outset of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, fearing for his life, the Dalai Lama and his retinue fled Tibet with the help of the CIA's Special Activities Division, crossing into India on 30 March 1959, reaching Tezpur in Assam on 18 April. Some time later he set up the Government of Tibet in Exile in Dharamshala, India, which is often referred to as "Little Lhasa". After the founding of the government in exile he re-established the approximately 80,000 Tibetan refugees who followed him into exile in agricultural settlements. He created a Tibetan educational system in order to teach the Tibetan children the language, history, religion, and culture. The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was established in 1959 and the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies became the primary university for Tibetans in India in 1967. He supported the refounding of 200 monasteries and nunneries in an attempt to preserve Tibetan Buddhist teachings and the Tibetan way of life.

The Dalai Lama appealed to the United Nations on the rights of Tibetans. This appeal resulted in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961, and 1965, all before the People's Republic was allowed representation at the United Nations. The resolutions called on China to respect the human rights of Tibetans. In 1963, he promulgated a democratic constitution which is based upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, creating an elected parliament and an administration to champion his cause. In 1970, he opened the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamshala which houses over 80,000 manuscripts and important knowledge resources related to Tibetan history, politics and culture. It is considered one of the most important institutions for Tibetology in the world.

In 2016, there were demands from Indian politicians of different political parties and citizens to confer His Holiness The Dalai Lama the prestigious Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour of India which has only been awarded to a Non-Indian citizen twice in its history.
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Giving public talks for non-Buddhist audiences and interviews and teaching Buddhism to large public audiences all over the world, as well as to private groups at his residence in India, appears to be the Dalai Lama's main activity. Despite becoming 80 years old in 2015 he maintains a busy international lectures and teaching schedule. His public talks and teachings are usually webcast live in multiple languages, via an inviting organisation's website, or on the Dalai Lama's own website. Scores of his past teaching videos can be viewed there, as well as public talks, conferences, interviews, dialogues and panel discussions.

The Dalai Lama's best known teaching subject is the Kalachakra tantra which, as of 2014, he had conferred a total of 33 times, most often in India's upper Himalayan regions but also in western venues like Madison Square Garden in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Barcelona, Graz, Sydney and Toronto. The Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) is one of the most complex teachings of Buddhism, sometimes taking two weeks to confer, and he often confers it on very large audiences, up to 200,000 students and disciples at a time.

The Dalai Lama is the author of numerous books on Buddhism, many of them on general Buddhist subjects but also including books on particular topics like Dzogchen, a Nyingma practice.

He frequently accepts requests from students to visit various countries worldwide in order to give teachings to large Buddhist audiences, teachings that are usually based on classical Buddhist texts and commentaries, and most often those written by the 17 pandits or great masters of the Nalanda tradition, such as Nagarjuna, Kamalashila, Shantideva, Atisha, Ayradeva and so on.

The Dalai Lama refers to himself as a follower of these Nalanda masters, in fact he often asserts that 'Tibetan Buddhism' is based on the Buddhist tradition of Nalanda monastery in ancient India, since the texts written by those 17 Nalanda pandits or masters, to whom he has composed a poem of invocation, were brought to Tibet and translated into Tibetan when Buddhism was first established there and have remained central to the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism ever since.
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The Dalai Lama met Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in 1973. He met Pope John Paul II in 1980, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1990, and 2003. In 1990, he met a delegation of Jewish teachers in Dharamshala for an extensive interfaith dialogue. He has since visited Israel three times, and in 2006 met the Chief Rabbi of Israel. In 2006, he met Pope Benedict XVI privately. He has met the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie, and other leaders of the Anglican Church in London, Gordon B. Hinckley, who at the time was the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), as well as senior Eastern Orthodox Church, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and Sikh officials. The Dalai Lama is also currently a member of the Board of World Religious Leaders as part of The Elijah Interfaith Institute and participated in the Third Meeting of the Board of World Religious Leaders in Amritsar, India, on 26 November 2007 to discuss the topic of Love and Forgiveness.

On 6 January 2009, the Dalai Lama inaugurated an interfaith "World Religions-Dialogue and Symphony" conference at Gujarat's Mahuva which was convened by the Hindu preacher Morari Bapu. This conference explored "ways and means to deal with the discord among major religions", according to Morari Bapu.

On 12 May 2010 the Dalai Lama, joined by a panel of select scholars, officially launched the Common Ground Project, in Bloomington, Indiana (USA), which was planned by himself and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan during several years of personal conversations. The project is based on the book Common Ground between Islam and Buddhism.
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The Dalai Lama sees important common ground between science and Buddhism in having the same approach to challenge dogma on the basis of empirical evidence that comes from observation and analysis of phenomena.

His growing wish to develop meaningful scientific dialogue to explore the Buddhism and science interface led to invitations for him to attend relevant conferences on his visits to the west, including the Alpbach Symposia on Consciousness in 1983 where he met and had discussions with the late Chilean neuroscientist Francisco J. Varela. Also in 1983, the American social entrepreneur and innovator R. Adam Engle, who had become aware of the Dalai Lama's deep interest in science, was already considering the idea of facilitating for him a serious dialogue with a selection of appropriate scientists. In 1984 Engle formally offered to the Dalai Lama's office to organise a week-long, formal dialogue for him with a suitable team of scientists, provided that the Dalai Lama would wish to fully participate in such a dialogue. Within 48 hours the Dalai Lama confirmed to Engle that he was "truly interested in participating in something substantial about science" so Engle proceeded with launching the project. Francisco Varela, having heard about Engle's proposal, then called him to tell him of his earlier discussions with the Dalai Lama and to offer his scientific collaboration to the project. Engle accepted, and Varela assisted him to assemble his team of six specialist scientists for the first 'Mind and Life' dialogue on the cognitive sciences, which was eventually held with the Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamsala in 1987. This five-day event was so successful that at the end the Dalai Lama told Engle he would very much like to repeat it again in the future. Engle then started work on arranging a second dialogue, this time with neuroscientists in California, and the discussions from the first event were edited and published as Mind and Life's first book, "Gentle Bridges: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on the Sciences of Mind".

As Mind and Life Institute's remit expanded, Engle formalised the organisation as a non-profit foundation after the third dialogue, held in 1990, which initiated the undertaking of neurobiological research programmes in the U.S.A. under scientific conditions. Over the ensuing decades, as of 2014 at least 28 dialogues between the Dalai Lama and panels of various world-renowned scientists have followed, held in various countries and covering diverse themes, from the nature of consciousness to cosmology and from quantum mechanics to the neuroplasticity of the brain. Sponsors and partners in these dialogues have included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, the Mayo Clinic and Zurich University.
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In Dalai Lama’s essay, The Ethics of Compassion (1999), he expresses his belief that if we only reserve compassion for those that we love, we are ignoring the responsibility of sharing these characteristics of respect and empathy with those we do not have relationships with, which cannot allow us to “cultivate love,”. He elaborates upon this idea by writing that although it takes time to develop a higher level of compassion, eventually we will recognize that the quality of empathy will become apart of life and promote our quality as humans and inner strength.

In particular, the Mind and Life Education Humanities & Social Sciences initiatives have been instrumental in developing the emerging field of Contemplative Science, by researching, for example, the effects of contemplative practice on the human brain, behaviour and biology.

In his 2005 book The Universe in a Single Atom and elsewhere, and to mark his commitment to scientific truth and its ultimate ascendancy over religious belief, unusually for a major religious leader the Dalai Lama advises his Buddhist followers: "If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims." He has also cited examples of archaic Buddhist ideas he has abandoned himself on this basis.

These activities have even had an impact in the Chinese capital. In 2013 an 'academic dialogue' with a Chinese scientist, a Tibetan 'living Buddha' and a Professor of Religion took place in Beijing. Entitled "High-end dialogue: ancient Buddhism and modern science" it addressed the same considerations that interest the Dalai Lama, described as 'discussing about the similarities between Buddhism and modern science'.
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The Dalai Lama says that he is active in spreading India's message of nonviolence and religious harmony throughout the world. "I am the messenger of India's ancient thoughts the world over." He has said that democracy has deep roots in India. He says he considers India the master and Tibet its disciple, as great scholars went from India to Tibet to teach Buddhism. He has noted that millions of people lost their lives in violence and the economies of many countries were ruined due to conflicts in the 20th century. "Let the 21st century be a century of tolerance and dialogue."
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The Chinese press has criticized the Dalai Lama for his close ties with India. His 2010 remarks at the International Buddhist Conference in Gujarat saying that he was "Tibetan in appearance, but an Indian in spirituality" and referral to himself as a "son of India" in particular led the People's Daily to opine, "Since the Dalai Lama deems himself an Indian rather than Chinese, then why is he entitled to represent the voice of the Tibetan people?" Dhundup Gyalpo of the Tibet Sun shot back that Tibetan religion could be traced back to Nalanda in India, and that Tibetans have no connection to Chinese "apart... from a handful of culinary dishes". The People's Daily stressed the links between Chinese Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism and accused the Dalai Lama of "betraying southern Tibet to India". In 2008, the Dalai Lama said for the first time that the territory India claims as part of Arunachal Pradesh is part of India, citing the disputed 1914 Simla Accord.
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The Dalai Lama has received numerous awards over his spiritual and political career. In 1959, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership.

On 16 June 1988 the Dalai Lama was awarded the Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize on behalf of the Protestant faculty of the University of Tübingen by Professor Hans-Jürgen Hermisson who stated that the prize was awarded because of the Dalai Lama's important contribution to the promotion of dialogue between different religions and peoples as well as to his commitment to Tolerance and non-violence. The Dalai Lama donated the 50,000 DM prizefund to a German Charity active in Tibet.

After the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Dalai Lama the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. The Committee officially gave the prize to the Dalai Lama for "the struggle of the liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution" and "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi" although the President of the Committee also said that the prize was intended to put pressure on China, which was reportedly infuriated that the award was given to a separatist.

In 1994, he received the Freedom Medal from the Roosevelt Institute.

On 28 May 2005, the Dalai Lama received the Christmas Humphreys Award from the Buddhist Society in the United Kingdom. On 22 June 2006, he became one of only six people ever to be recognised with Honorary Citizenship by the Governor General of Canada. In February 2007, the Dalai Lama was named Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia; it was the first time that he accepted a university appointment.

The Dalai Lama was a 2007 recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by American lawmakers. In 2012, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Templeton Prize. He later donated the entire prize money to an Indian charity, Save the Children.
--- end extracts from Dalai Lama wiki page ---

[I thank wikipedia and tsemtulku.com have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts (wikipedia) and pic (tsemtulku.com) from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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