The Dalai Lamas, each a Buddhist monk, have been traditionally the spiritual and temporal leaders of Tibet. The Dalai Lama is also the head of the Dge-Lugs-Pa (Yellow Hat) order of Tibetan Buddhists.
The title "Dalai" is a transcription of the Tibetan "Ta le", which means "Ocean (of wisdom)". Each Dalai Lama beleives that he is the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama and all are incarnations of Avalkitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion. Avalokitesvara is beleived to reincarnate in order to help people who are still caught in the cycle of samsara, which according to Webster's dictionary is the eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth.
The current Dalai Lama was born on June 6, 1935 to a poor family of farmers in Taktser. He is the 14th person to hold this position. His original name was Tenzin Gyatso and his birthday is traditionally honored with things like dances, picnics and singing.
In accordance with Tibetan tradition, he was recognized at the age of two as being the reincarnation of his predecessor.
He lives in exile outside of Tibet due to the repression from Chinese rulers who have invaded Tibet and repressed local culture and religion. This, is not, however, the first time that Chinese influence and influence have forced a Dalai Lama into exile. The same happened with the seventh Dalai Lama, Jampal Gyatso, (1758-1804)
Others, although living in Tibet, were not politically inclined and so allowed Chinese-backed regents to run the state. Today, Tibetans are a miniority in their own homeland due to massive Chinese colonization and various social programs designed to keep Tibetan births as low as possible.
In recognition of his efforts to end Chinese control of his homeland through nonviolent ways, the current Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in...