The Dalai Lama is an inspiration to billions of people around the world. Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai Lama and is the head teacher and mentor of the Yellow Hat School of Tibetan Buddhism.
He is one of the most recognisable faces in the world and audiences hang on every single word he says when he preaches his teachings. In 2013, the current Dalai Lama was found to be among the most popular world leaders according to a poll carried out in the United States and six leading European countries.
The current Dalai Lama was given the position of mentor at the height of the battle of Chamdo, with the Chinese People’s Republic in 1950. Up till then, the mountainous region of Tibet had enjoyed total autonomy at certain points and at other times had had a good say in its own administration. The Chinese army conquered it, and in 1951, the region officially became part of China.
In 1979, however, there was a revolt and fearing for his safety, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he leads a government in exile in Dharamshala. At first, he campaigned for full liberation of Tibet, but by the 1980s, his goal had changed to achieving partial autonomy from China. In 2001, he gave up a fair amount of power and transferred it to elected officials who serve in a government in exile.
While the Dalai Lama is still officially the head of Tibet’s exiled government, many people love him for his simplicity, rather than his political teachings. The man is humble, intelligent, witty and above all else, kind and compassionate. He has given countless talks around the world, mostly focusing on the issues of acceptance, tolerance, love and compassion.
He often givens life advice in the forms of stories with a moral, much like the parables told by Jesus Christ two thousand years ago.