The Dalai Lama before making a speech in southern England on June 29, 2015. 
The Dalai Lama before making a speech in southern England on June 29, 2015.  (Photo: AP)
  • 1. The Position of the Dalai Lama
  • 2. Reincarnation and Succession
  • 3. The Successor Controversy
Happy Birthday Dalai Lama: Decoding the Succession Storm

The current Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso assumed the position of the most important Buddhist leader in 1940.

His birthday is also celebrated as World Tibet Day in an attempt to generate greater awareness about the problems being faced by the Tibetan population, in the region and across the world, as they struggle to take back Tibet from China, who they believe is illegal occupying the land and suppressing the people.

The present Dalai Lama has, arguably, the widest fan base in comparison to any of his predecessors. He is well-liked and respected in non-Buddhist communities as well.

He has, however, created some waves by announcing that he may be the last in the line of Dalai Lamas.

  • 1. The Position of the Dalai Lama

    The Dalai Lama is considered the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism as well as the official head of the Tibetan government. The head monk is believed to be a descendent of a long line of Tulkus – those who choose to reincarnate.

    Buddhists believe that the Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Boddhisattva is the name given to those who have attained enlightenment, postponed nirvana and chosen to be reborn to serve humanity.

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