10 Facts about the Dalai Lama that you didn’t know

Dalai Lama, Dali Lama, Buddihsm, buddism
14th Dalai Lama
Source: By *christopher* , via Wikimedia Commons
The Dalai Lama will be appearing at the 2015 Glastonbury Festival and is expected to give talks that will convey his message of the oneness of humanity, non-violence and compassion. The current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and, at nearly 90 years old, the longest lived incumbent of the role. So, what is a Dalai Lama and how did he become a Dalai lama? Here are ten facts about the Dalai Lama, who will be visiting the Glastonbury Festival on Sunday 28th June 2015.

1. Who is the Dalai Lama?
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the people of Tibet. The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born in 1935 in North-eastern Tibet to a peasant family. Tibetan monks recognised the current Dalai Lama as being the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama when he was just two years old and confirmed this with a series of tests, during which he recognised some the personal possessions of the previous incumbent. He took the throne of the Dalai Lame when he was four years old.

2. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989
The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989n in recognition of his peaceful struggle to gain the liberation of Tibet from China. The award was made shortly after the Tiananmen Square protests and it is believed to have angered the Chinese authorities.

3. He believes in peaceful religious coexistence
The Dalai Lama is a great believer that all the different religious faiths of the world should be able to peacefully coexist. He tries to promote tolerance between the religions and he encourages meaningful debate.

4. The Dalai Lama was exiled to India
The Dalai lam lived in the Ptoala Palace in the city of Lhasa in Tibet up until 1959, when he fled Tibet in fear of his life, following the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. He now lives in exile in India, where he has formed a Tibetan government in exile.

5. The Dalai Lama is not the leader of all Buddhists
Contrary to popular belief, the Dalai Lama is not the equivalent of the Pope of Buddhism. Buddhism consists of many different schools of thought and the Dalai Lama is revered by Tibetan Buddhists and by followers of the Gelug School of Buddhism.

6. He does have hobbies
Although he is, quite obviously, a very religious man, his holiness the Dalai Lama is also a human being and he has his own hobbies that he enjoys. He is said to be a keen gardener, he is very interested in science and meditation, and he also collects and mends watches.

7. He cares about the environment
The Dalai Lama has also become an international spokesman for all things green and he writes and speaks extensively on environmental topics. He is especially interested in the relationship between mankind and planet earth and he speaks often about the need to respect all living things.

8. He has a great interest in mechanics
It is said that as a teenager, the Dalai Lama once repaired a film projector without the aid of any tuition, or technical manuals. He has an avid interest in how things work and he once said that if he hadn’t been a monk, then he probably would have been an engineer.

9. He was awarded the US Congressional Gold Medal
Up until 2007, meetings between the Dalai Lama and any US officials had always been very private affairs, so as not the offend the Chinese government but, in 2007, President Bush, along with other congressional leaders, presented him with the highest civilian award in America, the Congressional Gold Medal, in recognition of the Dalai Lamas work in the field of human rights.

10. He is a very eloquent and charismatic speaker
While he may not reach the decibel levels of Motorhead when he speaks at the Glastonbury festival, the Dalai Lama will certainly be able hold his audience. Despite the fact that will be eighty years old in 2015, he still keeps a busy schedule of lecturing and teaching. The audience at Glastonbury this year, should be in for a fascinating and enlightening speech from Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

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