Published on December 4, 2014
What is the Dalai Lama? In Tibetan Buddhism, the head monk who is responsible for governing the Himala- yan country is the Dalai Lama,. Currently, the Dalai Lama is said to be the 14th incarnation, and has a line of successors from as far back as the 14th century. There are many different significances of the Dalai Lama that range from spiritual significance to political significance. This is because they are the head monk within the re- ligion but are also are the head of Tibet’s gov- ernment. The spiritual significance of the Dalai Lama is that they are said to be the reincarna- tions of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, who is the bodhisattva of compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. A bodhisattva is someone who reaches nirvana but is delayed because they are doing it in order to save others from suf- fering. Politically the Dalai Lama, is the pub- lic representation of the Tibetans to the world. He contacts other leaders of the world, and brings awareness of the situation that is occur- ring in Tibet as well as tries to make sure that the culture is not lost. The Dalai Lama, much like Siddhartha is after the goal of a middle way. He is not looking to separate Tibet and China, but would like to bring attention the problem of self - rule and power, and find the middle way so that Tibet could become one of autonomy. The search for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama occurs around the same time of his death. Senior monks, and the Tibetan govern- ment search for a young boy who was born around the time of the death and place the items of the previous Dalai Lama in front of him. These are mixed in with items from other people and other children. If the boy chooses the items that belonged to his successor, along with other qualifications he is chosen. The searches for the boy born around this time vary and can depend on many differ- ent things. The senior monks and the govern- ment may use different signs to look for the reincarnation, such as a dream, watching smoke blow in a certain direction and even visions from a holy lake in central Tibet. How is the Dalai Lama chosen?