Lhasa [Tibet], May 12 (ANI): These days the word ‘Dalai Lama’ and ‘peace’ have become synonyms for each other. In a popular television show, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”, a British-American comedian and television host asked his American audience to describe the Dalai Lama. The spiritual guru in that show was described as words like “peaceful”, “He (Dalai Lama) said lots of good quotes about life”, “good man and have lots of respect” and “leader of a peaceful religion”.
According to American analytical and advisory company Gallup, Dalai Lama is the sixth most respected person in America. His continued stature to this day, even after resigning from exile political duties. It speaks volumes about the popularity and attraction Buddhism and the Dalai Lama carry around the world.
Tibetans believed that Dalai Lama is an incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of compassion. He is a successor in the line of reincarnated gurus (tulku), who delayed their enlightenment to help and show the right path to people afflicted with suffering and ignorance.
The word Dalai is derived from a Mongolian word for ‘ocean’ and Lama is a Tibetan term meaning ‘guru’ or teacher. Sonam Gyatso, the third Dalai Lama, went to Mongolia in the 16th century, at the invitation of Tumut Mongol leader Altan Khan. He is the first individual to be bestowed with the title ‘Dalai Lama’. It was not until 1642, during the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama that the office of Dalai Lama (Gaden Phodrang) was able to consolidate fragmented kingdoms and became temporal and spiritual leaders of Tibet.
The Tibetan King Song Tsen Gampo is one of the kings who introduced Buddhism into Tibet from India. Before Buddhism was introduced in Tibet, there was an indigenous religion called Bon, which enjoyed state patronage and uncontested spiritual authority. During the 33rd king Drisong Duetsen, they had to invite tantric master Padmasambhava from India to tame demonic and evil spirits, who were resisting the building of a Buddhist temple.
Buddhism in Tibet also witnessed a state of degradation after the schism of the last King but still, it survived only in the peripheral region of Amdo (the present Dalai Lama comes from the same region). And from there Buddhism once again flourished under different regional kings and smaller dominions. Dalai Lama, who heads the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, played an important role in reviving Buddhism.
The current, 14th, 13th and 5th Dalai Lama were some of the most important individuals in the lineage of Dalai Lamas whose service to the nation and Buddhism can’t be forgotten. And no Dalai Lama in the history of this line lived like the current Dalai Lama.
The current Dalai Lama said in one of his speeches that the Chinese military invasion and his subsequent exile to India brought the loss of countless lives, but it also helped him to meet countless ordinary people and also helped him reaffirm his commitment to revive both Buddhism and the culture that has been lost to the Chinese invasion. Click here to read more.