Who are the Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism?

The term “Dalai Lama” refers to the religious leader of a specific Buddhist school originating in Tibet. Known as Gelug, or “Way of Virtue”, this branch of Buddhism was founded by Je Tsongkhapa, who lived from 1357 to 1419. Tibetan Buddhism is based on a complex belief system, in which the figure is known as the Dalai Lama is considered by his followers to be a bodhisattva(or being awakened). The Dalai Lama is perceived by the faithful as the embodiment of the collective compassion found in all previous Buddhas. The first Dalai Lama was Gedun Drupa (1391 to 1474), who made the initial vows at the young age of fourteen. Tibetan Buddhism can trace its origins back to northern India. In terms of spiritual beliefs, religion attaches great importance to logic and training of the mind.

Increase in power and fulfillment

The roots of modern Tibetan Buddhism were firmly rooted in the 14th century, when the first Dalai Lama founded three monasteries around the area of ​​what is now Lhasa in Tibet in China. After the powerful king of Mongolia, Altan Khan, converted to Buddhism, the influence of the Dalai lamas grew to include a large part of Central Asia. At some point in history Tibetan Buddhism was the main source of spiritual guidance for an estimated population of fifty million people. Through their academic teachings and their works of art, as well as their religious practices, the Dalai Lamas have continued to maintain a great influence on the local populations of Tibet, and have played a significant role in shaping the culture, the economy ,

Challenges and controversies

Perhaps the greatest challenge for the tradition and survival of the Dalai Lama involves the historic struggle of Tibet and the continuous and tenuous political relations with the Chinese government. In 1959, during the period of the Tibetan revolt, the 14th Dalai Lama, fearing for his life under pressure from the Chinese communist regime, was forced to flee the country and, subsequently, to live in exile. Shortly after the clandestine flight of the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government officially dissolved the national government of Tibet. Despite ongoing efforts by the citizens of Tibet, the international community and the Dalai Lama himself, the country has continued to suffer violence and political unrest.

The current Dalai Lama

The most recent Dalai Lama, His Holiness the 14th, was born as Tenzin Gyatso in 1935. His religious education began at the age of six and included a curriculum rich in subjects such as Buddhist philosophy, art, medicine, the logic and the ancient Sanskrit language and writings. After escaping from Tibet and the Chinese government, the current Dalai Lama has become a powerful and influential spokesman for the international movement to restore Tibet’s independence and political autonomy. Among his many successes, the Dalai Lama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The Buddhist leader has also become a globally famous symbol for living a life of peace and compassion. His crowds of loyal fans and followers around the world include both Buddhists and other religions alike, and non-believers alike.

Significato storico e eredità

According to traditional Tibetan Buddhist religious beliefs, Dalai lamas are beings who, despite having already attained enlightenment, have chosen to be reborn to serve their fellows. Due to the complex political climate seen in Tibet, the current Dalai Lama has chosen to abandon its traditional role as a political leader residing in the country, and instead has supported a democratic government aimed at guaranteeing independence for the Tibetan people in the years to to come. Historically, after the death of each previous Dalai Lama, the next leader of this kind has reincarnated as a child. The legacy of the present Dalai Lama will undoubtedly be intertwined with the struggle for freedom in Tibet. At the moment, however, and despite the continued resistance of indigenous Tibetans and international protest.

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