Lhamo Döndrub life and biography

Lhamo Döndrub picture, image, poster

Lhamo Döndrub biography

Date of birth : 1935-07-06
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Taktser, Qinghai, Tibet
Nationality : Tibetan
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2010-04-19
Credited as : the 14th Dalai Lama, Spiritual leader, Nobel Peace Prize

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Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Döndrub, 6 July 1935) is the 14th Dalai Lama, a spiritual leader revered among the people of Tibet. He is the head of the government-in-exile based in Dharamshala, India. Tibetans traditionally believe him to be the reincarnation of his predecessors.

The Dalai Lama was born fifth of seven children to a farming family in the village of Taktser. His first language was, in his own words, "a broken Xining language which was (a dialect of) the Chinese language" as his family did not speak the regional Amdo dialect. He was proclaimed the tulku or rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama at the age of two. In 1950 the army of the People's Republic of China invaded the region. One month later, on 17 November 1950, he was enthroned formally as Dalai Lama: at the age of fifteen, he became the region's most important spiritual leader and political ruler.

In 1951 the Chinese military pressured the Dalai Lama to ratify a seventeen-point agreement which permitted the People's Republic of China to take control of Tibet. He fled through the mountains to India soon after the failed 1959 uprising, and the effective collapse of the Tibetan resistance movement. In India he established a government-in-exile.

The most influential member of the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat sect, he has considerable influence over the other sects of Tibetan Buddhism. The Chinese government regards him as the symbol of an outmoded theocratic system. Along with the 80,000 or so exiles that followed him, the Dalai Lama strives to preserve traditional Tibetan education and culture.

Conditions in Tibet have in more recent years caused an international protest movement, including the attempted disruption of the 2008 Olympic Games. In March 2008 the Dalai Lama asked for an international inquiry into China's treatment of Tibet, which he said amounted to cultural genocide.

A noted public speaker worldwide, the Dalai Lama is often described as charismatic. He is the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West, where he seeks to spread Buddhist teachings and to promote ethics and interfaith harmony. In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was given honorary Canadian citizenship in 2006, and was awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal during October 2007. He has received more than 100 honorary conferments and major awards.

On 17 December 2008, after months of speculation, the Dalai Lama announced his semi-retirement. He said that the future course of the movement he had directed for nearly five decades would now be decided by the elected parliament-in-exile with the prime minister Samdhong Rinpoche. The then 73-year-old Nobel laureate, who had recently undergone surgery, told reporters in Dharamsala, "I have grown old.... It is better if I retire completely and get out of the way of the Tibetan movement."

Tibetan independence movement

The Dalai Lama accepted the 1951 Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet with the People's Republic of China. However, he moved to Kalimpong in India and, with the help of American government organised pro-independence literature and the smuggling of weapons into Tibet. Armed struggles broke out in Amdo and Kham during 1956 and later spread to Central Tibet. The movement was a failure and was forced to retreat to Nepal or go underground. Soon after normalisation of relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China, American support was ended during the early 1970s.

During October 1998, the Dalai Lama's administration acknowledged that it received US$1.7 million a year in the 1960s from the U.S. Government through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and had also trained an army in Colorado (USA).

The Dalai Lama has on occasion been denounced by the Chinese government as a supporter of Tibetan independence. Over time, he has developed a public position stating that he is not in favour of Tibetan independence and would not object to a status in which Tibet has internal autonomy while the PRC manages some aspects of Tibet's defence and foreign affairs. In his 'Middle Way Approach', he laid down that the Chinese government can take care of foreign affairs and defence, and that Tibet should be managed by an elected body.

The Dalai Lama on 16 March 2008 called for an international inquiry into China's treatment of Tibet, which he said amounted to cultural genocide. He has stated that he will step down as leader of Tibet's government-in-exile if violence by protesters in the region worsens, the exiled spiritual leader said 18 March 2008 after China's premier Wen Jiabao blamed his supporters for the growing unrest.On 20 March 2008, he claimed he was powerless to stop anti-Chinese violence. The Dalai Lama on 28 March 2008 rejected a series of allegations from the Chinese government, saying he did not seek the separation of Tibet and had no desire to "sabotage" the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Critics of the news and entertainment media coverage of the controversy charge that feudal Tibet was not as benevolent as popularly portrayed. The penal code before 1913 included forms of corporal punishment and capital punishment. In response, the Dalai Lama agreed many of old Tibet's practices needed reform. His predecessor had banned extreme punishments and the death penalty. And he had instituted major reforms like removal of debt inheritance before the Chinese invaded during 1951.

On 4 June 2008, Dalai Lama said that Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, a territory that is called Southern Tibet in mainland China and still claimed by the People's Republic of China, is part of India, acknowledging the validity of the McMahon Line per the 1914 Simla Agreement signed by Tibetan and British representatives.

On 25 October 2008, the Dalai Lama announced he had given up negotiating for increased autonomy for Tibet within the People's Republic of China. He stated that from now on Tibetans themselves should decide how to continue a dialogue with the Chinese government.

International support

The Dalai Lama has been successful in gaining Western sympathy for Tibetan self-determination, including vocal support from numerous Hollywood celebrities, most notably the actors Richard Gere and Steven Seagal, as well as lawmakers from several major countries.

In 2005 and 2008 Time placed the Dalai Lama on its list of the world's 100 most influential people.

On 22 June 2006, the Parliament of Canada voted unanimously to make The Dalai Lama an honorary citizen of Canada. This marks the third of four times in history that the Government of Canada has bestowed this honour, the others being Raoul Wallenberg posthumously in 1985, Nelson Mandela in 2001 and Aung San Suu Kyi in 2007.

In September 2006, the United States Congress voted to award the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award which may be bestowed by the Legislative Branch of the United States government. The actual ceremony and awarding of the medal took place on 17 October 2007. The Chinese Government has reacted angrily to the award, which it merely refers to as "the extremely wrong arrangements". Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said: "It seriously violates the norm of international relations and seriously wounded the feelings of the Chinese people and interfered with China's internal affairs".

In June 2007, during an Australian tour, the Dalai Lama made public appearances in Perth, Bendigo, Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane.

On 6 December 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France and current Chairman of the European Union met the Dalai Lama in Poland and appeased the situation after China postponed a China-EU summit.

In March 2009 a peace conference for Nobel laureates in South Africa was postponed indefinitely after Pretoria refused the Dalai Lama a visa, sparking a storm of controversy, the government being accused of bowing to Chinese pressure. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former South African President FW de Klerk pulled out of the meeting in protest.

In May 2009, the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke met the Dalai Lama after having faced several appeals form China not to do so. After the meeting, the spokesman from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qin Gang, stated that "China is very dissatisfied with — and is protesting about the meeting".

On 18 February 2010, United States President Barack Obama hosted a meeting at the White House with the Dalai Lama. Obama "commended [the Dalai Lama's] commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government". China expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with the meeting.

Songs for Tibet is an album supportive of the Dalai Lama and a peaceful solution for the Tibetan issue. Several rock bands contributed with their music for the album.

Nobel Peace Prize

On 10 December 1989 the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee recognized his efforts in "the struggle of the liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution instead of using violence." The chairman of the Nobel committee said that the award was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi." In his acceptance speech the Dalai Lama criticised China for using force against student protesters during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. He said the victims efforts were not in vain. His speech focused on the importance of the continued use of non-violence and his desire to maintain a dialogue with China to try and resolve the situation.

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