The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
With a serene smile and a quiet humor, Tibet's 14th Dalai Lama is one of the most respected spiritual and political leaders in the world, and leads his people in nonviolence from exile. Born in 1935 to a peasant family in Tibet, he was recognized by Gelug Buddhist leaders as the new incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Peace when he was only two years old. Educated by the monks, he assumed leadership of his nation from an early age. At age 15, he was called upon to negotiate with Chinese and Indian leaders for future control of the nation. Nine years later, he fled Tibet as China's army invaded, and set up the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamsala, India, where he has remained since. As his nation's primary religious and political head, he has led the campaign for Tibetan autonomy with a strict adherence to nonviolent resistance. He became the first Dalai Lama to journey to the West, traveling all around the world in his years of exile to speak on religion and peace. In addition, he has expanded the government in exile to provide for the more than 80,000 Tibetan refugees, establishing an education system and other services to care for his people. After calling for a five-point program of autonomy for Tibet, he received the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize "for his consistent resistance to the use of violence in his people's struggle to regain their freedom." The Dalai Lama continues to travel the world, teaching Tibetans in exile and other people around the world, and working for peace and justice in every corner of the globe.
"Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion."
"As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery... we have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness."
"In the present circumstances, no one can afford to assume that someone else will solve their problems. Every individual has a responsibility to help guide our global family in the right direction. Good wishes are not sufficient; we must become actively engaged."
"Basically, universal responsibility is the feeling for other people´s suffering just as we feel our own. It is the realization that even our own enemy is motivated by the quest for happiness. We must recognize that all beings want the same thing we want. This is the way to achieve a true understanding, unfettered by artificial consideration."
Publications / Speeches: