Dalai Lama Turns 71

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Today was the Dalai Lama’s birthday. He turned 71. He is only one year older than my Father-in-Law.

How they chose the Dalai Lama’s is very interesting. They believe that the Buddha of Compassion reincarnates himself into a new person after his “host” dies and that they have to find that person to become the next Dalai Lama. Often the person is just a child. In many cultures a child reigns the country/religion/culture.

Here’s the story of how they found the present Dalai Lama:

In 1935 the Regent of Tibet went to the sacred lake of Lhamo Lhatso at Chokhorgyal, about 90 miles south east of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. For centuries the Tibetans had observed that visions of the future could be seen in this lake. The Regent had a vision of three Tibetan letters, Ah, Ka, and Ma, followed by a picture of a monastery with roofs of jade green and gold, and a house with turquoise tiles. In 1937 high lamas and dignitaries carrying the secrets of the vision were sent to all parts of Tibet in search of the place that the Regent had seen in the waters. The search party that headed east was under the leadership of Lama Kewtsang Rinpoche of Sera Monastery. When they arrived in Amdo, they found a place matching the description of the secret vision. The party went to the house with Kewtsang Rinpoche disguised as the servant, and junior official Lobsang Tsewang disguised as the leader. The Rinpoche was wearing a rosary that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama, and the little boy of the house recognised it and demanded that it be given to him. Kewtsang Rinpoche promised to give it to him if he could guess who he was, and the boy replied that he was “Sera aga”, which means in the local dialect “a lama of Sera”. Then the Rinpoche asked who the leader was and the boy gave his name correctly; he also knew the name of the real servant. This was followed by a series of tests that included the choosing of correct articles that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama.

With these tests they were further convinced that the reincarnation had been found and their conviction was enhanced by the significance of the three letters that had been seen in the lake of Lhamo Lhatso: Ah could stand for Amdo, the name of the province; Ka for Kumbum, one of the largest monasteries in the neighbourhood; and the two letters Ka and Ma for the monastery of Karma Rolpai Dorje on the mountain above the village. In 1940 the XIVth Dalai Lama was enthroned.

From Tibetan Government: Dalai Lama

Tibetans Celebrate Birthday of Dalai Lama
Interview with Dalai Lama
Belief Net: Dalai Lama

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