The 14th Dalai Lama[note 1] (spiritual name Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, known as Tenzin Gyatso; born Lhamo Dhondup),[note 2] known as Gyalwa Rinpoche to the Tibetan people, is the current Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader of Tibet, and a retired political leader of Tibet. Born on 6 July 1935, or in the Tibetan calendar, in the Wood-Pig Year, 5th month, 5th day, he is considered a living Bodhisattva; specifically, an emanation of Avalokiteśvara. He is also the leader of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism, formally headed by the Ganden Tripa. The central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the Dalai Lama with temporal duties until his exile in 1959. On April 29, 1959, the Dalai Lama established the independent Tibetan government in exile, the Central Tibetan Administration, in the north Indian hill station of Mussoorie, which then moved in May 1960 to Dharamsala, where he resides. He retired as political head in 2011 to make way for a democratic government.
The 14th Dalai Lama was born to a farming family, in Taktser (Hongya in Chinese), in Amdo province (Qinghai in Chinese), northeastern Tibet. He was selected as the tulku of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 and formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama in a public declaration near the town of Bumchen in 1939. As with the recognition process for the 13th Dalai Lama, a Golden Urn selection process was not used. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on 22 February 1940 and he eventually assumed full temporal (political) duties on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, after the People’s Republic of China’s occupation of Tibet. The Tibetan government administered the historic Tibetan regions of Ü-Tsang, Kham and Amdo, and “In the course of Tibet’s 2000-year history, the country came under a degree of foreign influence only for short periods of time in the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries.”
During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama escaped to India, where he currently lives in exile while remaining the most important spiritual leader of Tibet. The Dalai Lama advocates for the welfare of Tibetans while continuing to call for the Middle Way Approach to negotiations with China for the autonomy of Tibet and the protection of Tibetan culture, including for the religious rights of Tibetans.
The Dalai Lama also meets with other world leaders, religious leaders, philosophers and scientists, and travels worldwide giving Tibetan Buddhist teachings. His work includes focus on the environment, economics, women’s rights, nonviolence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health and sexuality.
The Dalai Lama is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1989, and the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2006. Time magazine named the Dalai Lama one of the “Children of Mahatma Gandhi” and Gandhi’s spiritual heir to nonviolence. (Source)