A Brief Biography

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was born on 6th July 1935, in a small village called Takster in north-eastern Tibet. At the age of two, he was recognised as the incarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, and began his monastic education when he was six. His Holiness was called upon to assume full political power at the age of 15.

In 1949 China invaded Tibet. Finally, in 1959, with the brutal suppression by Chinese troops of the Tibetan national uprising in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, HH the Dalai Lama was forced to escape into exile in India. Since then, he has been living in Dharamsala in the north of India which is now the seat of the Central Tibetan Administration.

From there, he has continued to work tirelessly for Tibet and has consistently advocated the "Middle Way" policy in resolving the Tibetan issue whereby Tibetans are seeking genuine autonomy within the framework of the People's Republic of China.

In recognition of his opposition to the use of violence in the Tibetan struggle, his work internationally for peace, human rights issues and global environmental problems, HH the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. More recently, in September 2006, he received the highest civilian honour in the United States, the Congressional Gold Medal, in recognition of his advocacy of non-violence, human rights and religious understanding.

In 2011 HH the Dalai Lama completed the process of democratisation of the Central Tibetan Administration by devolving all his political authorities to the elected leadership.

Now in his seventies, His Holiness continues to accept invitations to teach and speak around the world. He is respected as a spokesman for the peaceful and compassionate resolution of human conflict and as a true spiritual teacher whose warmth, compassion and wisdom touch the hearts of all he meets.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has visited the United Stetes regularly over the last thirty years. His last visit to Louisville was in 1994.

Three Main Commitments in Life

In his talks all around the world, HH the Dalai Lama frequently mentions three essential purposes of life to which he feels committed. "In general, I always state that I have three commitments in life.

Firstly, on the level of a human being, my first commitment is the promotion of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. All human beings are the same. We all want happiness and do not want suffering. Even people who do not believe in religion recognise the importance of these human values in making their lives happier. I remain committed to talk about the importance of these human values and share them with everyone I meet.

Secondly, on the level of a religious practitioner, my second commitment is the promotion of religious harmony and understanding amongst different religious traditions. Despite philosophical differences, all major world religions have the same potential to create better human beings. It is therefore important for all religious traditions to respect one another and recognize the value of each other's respective traditions.

Thirdly, I am a Tibetan and carry the name of the Dalai Lama. Tibetans place their trust in me. Therefore, my third commitment is to the Tibetan issue. I have a responsibility to act as the free spokesperson of the Tibetans in their struggle for justice.

As far as this third commitment, it will cease to exist once a mutually beneficial solution is reached between the Tibetans and Chinese. However, my first two commitments I will carry on till my last breath."