The Tibetan Buddhist community celebrates the birthday of the Dalai Lama on Tuesday. The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, turned 86 today.
He was born on July 6, 1935 in Tibet and arrived in India in 1959. He calls himself the “son of India”.
Many Indian leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan, have wished the Dalai Lama his 86th birthday. Sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik shared one of his arts on Twitter on occasion.
However, the coming of the Dalai Lama to India was not welcomed by the Chinese leaders who frowned upon India for giving him shelter.
Why is the Dalai Lama so important to China?
In 1950, the Chinese government invaded Tibet to liberate it peacefully. But the process was brutal and violent, after which there was a Tibetan uprising in 1959 and the current Dalai Lama fled to India to set up a government in exile.
The Dalai Lama is a very influential figure in Tibetan culture, and his escape to India has sparked major outrage in the region. China wants to control the appointment of Tibet’s next spiritual leader in order to strengthen its grip on the Tibetan monastic order and, in turn, control the region.
However, Tibetans believe that China is trying to manipulate the selection process to strengthen its grip on the Tibetan people.
How do Tibetans identify the next Dalai Lama?
Tibetans believe that the Dalai Lama is in control of his rebirth and that he can choose the body in which to reincarnate.
There are usually predictions about where and when a Dalai Lama will be reborn, but additional tests and signs are needed to make sure the right child is found.
In the case of the 13th Dalai Lama, after his death, his body lay facing south. However, after a few days, his head had tilted east and a mushroom, considered unusual, appeared on the northeast side of the shrine, where his body was kept.
This has been interpreted to mean that the next Dalai Lama could have been born somewhere in the northeastern part of Tibet, Asia Times reported.
The disciples also checked out Lhamo La-tso, a lake that is traditionally used to see visions of the location of the Dalai Lama’s rebirth.
Dokham district, which is in northeastern Tibet, matched all of these signs. A 2-year-old boy named Lhamo Dhondup was found at the appropriate age for a reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, based on the time of his death. After further investigation, the research team identified the boy as the 14th Dalai Lama, who after taking over as Tibetan spiritual leader changed his name to Tenzin Gyatso.