Eighty years before, today Lhamo Thondup was born in a small village of Taktser that was politically a part of Qinghai, the Chinese Province. When he was three years old, he was identified as the reincarnation of the thirteenth Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso.
In 1950, when Tibet was in a political turmoil due to the invasion of People’s Liberation Army of China, the high Lamas decided to enthrone the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso . Thus the 14th and the present day Dalai Lama became the head of the Government of Tibet when he was 16 years old.
Dalai Lamas are the heads of a particular sect of Buddhists known as Gelugpa Buddhists, also known as Yellow Hat Buddhists. It is believed traditionally that after the death of Dalai Lama, his soul will be reincarnated in another body that is born around the years after the demise of Dalai Lama.
Finding the Dalai Lama
There are basically three ways a child can be identified if it is the reincarnation of the preceding Dalai Lama.
One of the ways is that one among the highest Lamas would dream about the signs, which would later help find the child.
The second one is the direction of the smoke when the Dalai Lama’s corpse is cremated and the third way is the oracle lake called Lhamo Lhatso, which is believed to guide the Lamas in finding the child by offering some signs.
The fourteenth Dalai Lama’s home was located with a sign from this holy lake. In order to confirm the identified child, a lot of artefacts of the precedent along with some ordinary artefacts will be offered to the child, from which the child identifies the artefacts of the deceased Dalai Lama, leaving behind the ordinary ones.
When more than one child is found, the childrens’ names will be written on a chit, shuffled in an urn and a lot is taken in the public. Also the three major servants of the Dalai Lama will be asked to identify the child.
In 1724, the Chinese Qing dynasty annexed the Amdo and Kham regions of Tibet to its western province during a Mongolian invasion that bought the ire of the Tibetan people. With the death of the last Qing emperor Tibet declared itself independent from China in 1912.
The then Dalai Lama the thirteenth returned from exile, resumed power and ruled until his death in 1933. Four years after, the present day fourteenth Dalai Lama was found, brought to Lhasa and enthroned in 1950 to handle the Chinese encroachment.
China was busy fighting within itself since the death of the thirteenth Dalai Lama and once the Communists gained power under Mao Zedong, they tried to bring Tibet under their control.
In 1951 the Tibetan officials were forced to sign the Seventeen Point Agreement in Beijing, which rules that the lands in Tibet will be socialized and the crops will be transported to the mainland of China while redistributing a small portion among the Tibetans.
Amdo and Kham regions were brought under control in initially and then later to be followed by the rest of the entire Tibet. The Exile On March 10, 1959 the Dalai Lama was invited by the Chinese as a spectator for a drama, unarmed and without any bodyguards.
This raised suspicion about the safety of the Dalai Lama. Chinese attacked the Dalai Lama’s summer palace Norbulingka while the tiny Tibetan army resisted the invasion of the huge Chinese People’s Liberation Army, but in vain.
The Dalai Lama decided to move on to India masquerading himself as a soldier and formed a government in Tibet, while he was in exile at Dharamshala, India.
China has announced that it has the authority to announce the fifteenth Dalai Lama after his death, whereas the fourteenth Dalai Lama says there won’t be any further reincarnations of the holy spirit or if so, it won’t happen in a land that is not free.
He is viewed as a separatist by many and have been under harsh criticism for wanting to be the legitimate ruler of a state. He turns 80 today.
Image Source: Wallpaper Cave