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The 14th Dalai Lama (religious name: Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Dondrub, 6 July 1935) is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism which is nominally headed by the Ganden Tripas. The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and is known for his advocacy for Tibetans worldwide and his lifelong interest in modern science.
The 14th Dalai Lama was born in Taktser village (administratively in Qinghai province, Republic of China), Amdo, Tibet, and was selected as the tulku of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 and formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama at a public declaration near the town of Bumchen in 1939. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on February 22, 1940, and he eventually assumed full temporal (political) power over Tibet on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, after China's invasion of Tibet. The Gelug school's government administered an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region just as the nascent People's Republic of China wished to assert central control over it.
During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he currently lives as a refugee. He has since traveled the world, advocating for the welfare of Tibetans, teaching Tibetan Buddhism, investigating the interface between Buddhism and science and talking about the importance of compassion as the source of a happy life. Around the world, institutions face pressure from China not to accept him.
The policy of the Dalai Lama, from his "Strasbourg Statement" made in 1988 until he retired from the Central Tibetan Administration was that he did not seek sovereignty for Tibet, but would accept Tibet as a genuine autonomous region within the People's Republic of China. He has spoken about the environment, economics, women's rights, non-violence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health, and sexuality, along with various Mahayana and Vajrayana topics.
The Dalai Lama’s lifelong interest in science and technology dates from his childhood in Lhasa, Tibet, when he was fascinated by mechanical objects like clocks, watches, telescopes, film projectors, clockwork soldiers and motor cars, and loved to repair, disassemble and reassemble them. Once, observing the moon through a telescope as a child, he realised it was a crater-pocked lump of rock and not a heavenly body emitting its own light as Tibetan cosmologists had taught him. He has also said that had he not been brought up as a monk he would probably have been an engineer. On his first trip to the west in 1973 he asked to visit Cambridge University’s astrophysics department in the UK and he sought out renowned scientists such as Sir Karl Popper, David Bohm and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, who taught him the basics of science.
The Dalai Lama's appeal is variously ascribed to his charismatic personality, international fascination with Buddhism, his universalist values, international sympathy for the Tibetans, and western sinophobia. In the 1990s, many films were released by the American film industry about Tibet, including biopics of the Dalai Lama. This is attributed to both the Dalai Lama's 1989 Nobel Peace Prize as well as to the euphoria following the Fall of Communism. The most notable films, Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet (both released in 1997). The Dalai Lama has his own pages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google Plus.
The Dalai Lama has tried to mobilize international support for Tibetan’s activities. The Dalai Lama has been successful in gaining Western support for himself and the cause of greater Tibetan autonomy or independence, including vocal support from numerous Hollywood celebrities, most notably the actors Richard Gere and Steven Seagal, as well as lawmakers from several major countries. The 14th Dalai Lama is very good friends with Brian Blessed, they share a passion for boxing and even once sparred.
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