His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, turns 87. Tenzin Gyatso, a Buddhist spiritual leader, was born on July 6, 1935, and travelled to India in 1959 following the horrific Chinese repression of the Tibetan Uprising.
For his simplicity and modest demeanour, the 14th Dalai Lama inspires millions of people around the world. He has devoted his life to raising awareness of the suffering of Tibet under Chinese authority. On the principles of Buddhism, the Dalai Lama has also given talks all around the world.
Here are some lesser-known facts about the spiritual guide in honour of his 87th birthday:
- When he was two years old, Tibetan monks discovered the Dalai Lama. The monks declared him to be the new spiritual head of the community after he cleared all of their examinations.
- A Chinese warlord was holding him and his family hostage for ransom. Gyatso and his family arrived in Lhasa after the Tibetan government paid the money. When he was four years old, he ascended to the throne, and at age six, he entered the monastic life.
- When he was young, he made acquaintances with Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer and explorer. The foundation of Harrer’s book Seven Years in Tibet was his connection with the young monk.
- Buddhists regard him as the 74th manifestation of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. He is known to Tibetans as Kundun(The Presence) or Yeshe Norbu (Wish-fulfilling Gem).
- The Dalai Lama enjoys gardening, meditation, and restoring antique timepieces.
- He has asserted that if he had not been a monk, Dalai Lama would have pursued a career in engineering because he has a strong interest in science.
- He is Homer Gere’s godfather, son of Richard Gere, a well-known Hollywood actor.
- Every morning at 3 AM, the Dalai Lama rises to pray and meditate. Most days, his day ends at 7 o’clock.
- He has received numerous honours, such as the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal from the US Congress.
- He suggested that people would find his replacement in exile. In addition, he has hinted that he would choose the 15th Dalai Lama himself, which has drawn condemnation from China.