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  • The 14th Dalai Lama, born Lhamo Thondup in 1935 to a peasant family in Taktser, Tibet, he is the spiritual leader of Tibet yet considers himself a simple Buddhist monk.
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  • The young Dalai Lama was recognized at the age of 2 as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. At the age of 6 he began his monastic education. Buddhists believe he is the manifestation of Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion and Tibet’s patron saint.
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  • The young Dalai Lama at age 16, being shown a gold reliquary containing the ashes of two disciples of Gautama Buddha. Holding the urn is Chi-Khyap Khem-Po, Lord Chamberlain of Tibet, and one of his advisers.
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  • When China invaded Tibet in June of 1950, the Dalai Lama made a trip to China’s capital in July of 1954 to meet with Mao Zedong in hopes of finding a diplomatic solution. He presented the communist leader with a khata, the traditional ceremonial white Tibetan scarf, which signifies goodwill, compassion, and sincerity.
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  • Unable to change the political climate, and with his followers fearing for his life, the Dalai Lama, dressed as a soldier and with a small escort of advisers, protectors and some family members, slipped out of Lhasa and began his escape. Riding the white pony in this photograph, he was received at the Indian border in March of 1959 and granted asylum.
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  • The Dalai Lama, with his mother, Diki Tsering, who accompanied him to India after their escape from Tibet. Born in 1901 to a large peasant family, she was forced to move to central Tibet when her son was recognized as the Dalai Lama. She gave birth to 16 children of which seven survived. She died in January of 1981 from complications of a stroke that she had suffered earlier.
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  • The Dalai Lama, shown walking with Indian officials, as he settled into his new home in Mussoorie, India.
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  • The Dalai Lama sits before his followers at a ceremony celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against the Chinese Communists, March 1969.
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  • In September of 1979, the Dalai Lama visited New York City and spoke to over 5,000 people that attended a teaching in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Archbishop of New York, Terence Cardinal Cook, and Mayor Ed Koch escorted the Dalai Lama into the cathedral.
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  • The Dalai Lama traveled to Rome, Italy, in September of 1982 to meet with several Italian leaders and religious communities. He met with Pope John Paul II during an audience with the pontiff.
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  • The Dalai Lama is known to have an interest in machines as a hobby. He once repaired an old movie projector and has said that he would have become an engineer. He includes repairing watches as one of his hobbies.
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  • His holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Dec. 10, 1989, receiving it from Egil Aarvik, chairman of the Nobel Committee, at Oslo University's Avla Hall in Norway. He said in a speech, “I feel honored, humbled and deeply moved that you should give this important prize to a simple monk from Tibet. I am no one special. But, I believe the prize is a recognition of the true values of altruism, love, compassion and nonviolence which I try to practice, in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha and the great sages of India and Tibet.”
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  • President George W. Bush met with the Dalai Lama in May of 2001. The White House emphasized that the president received the Dalai Lama as a religious leader and not a political one. The two met in the president’s residence rather than the Oval office and the Dalai Lama spoke about his ongoing efforts to establish a dialogue with China’s government.
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  • The Dalai Lama pauses as he takes part in a ceremony to celebrate his 74th birthday in New Delhi on July 6, 2009. Hundreds of exiled Tibetans and guests took part in the celebration in the Indian capital.
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  • The Tibetan spiritual leader playfully tosses snow at photographers outside of The White House where he met with President Barack Obama, February 2010. Chinese officials protested the meeting as they have done with every meeting between the U.S. president and the Dalai Lama since George H.W. Bush was in office.
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  • The Dalai Lama visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park during the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates on Nov. 14, 2010, in Hiroshima, Japan. The three-day meeting, which included two other Nobel laureates, was held outside of Europe to draw attention to the destructive power of nuclear weapons and to call for disarmament.
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  • The Dalai Lama with former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev during a panel discussion at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, April 25, 2012, in Chicago, Illinois. The main topic of this summit was to find new ways to bridge the cultural gaps between young people across the world.
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  • Gyuto Monks of Tibet poses with a wax figure of the Dalai Lama during a visit to Madame Tussaud's in Sydney, Australia on April, 23, 2012. The monks were visiting an inner-city wildlife park to give a blessing to the Australian animals.
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  • Prince Charles of Wales shares a laugh with the Dalai Lama at Clarence House on June 20, 2012, in London, England. The exiled Buddhist Tibetan leader is taking part in a week-long tour of the United Kingdom.
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  • Visiting Mundgod, Karnataka, India, the Dalai Lama insists on seeing as many of the followers that flock to him. He stops to bless or chat with them, December 2014.
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  • The Dalai Lama bends to blow out candles on his birthday cake as retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu joins him at the Tibetan Children’s Village School on April 23, 2015, in Dharmsala, India. The Tibetan leader whose birthday falls on July 6 had the advance birthday celebration as requested by Archbishop Tutu. The two have had a long friendship. They consider each other “spiritual brothers” and joined forces to co-author a book in 2015 entitled, “The Book of Joy.”
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  • The Dalai Lama bows to the audience as he takes the stage to begin a series of teachings in Strasbourg, France, Sept. 18, 2016. He travels the world, offering a variety of teachings that mostly focus on wisdom and compassion.
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  • Thousands fill the Coors Events Center on the University of Colorado campus to attend a series of teachings that the Dalai Lama gave in June of 2016. His doctor recently advised him to cut back on the demanding schedule that he keeps.
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  • Actor Richard Gere rests his head on the shoulder of the Dalai Lama after receiving a blessing from him during an event on the campus of American University, June 13, 2016, in Washington, DC. Gere met the Dalai Lama when he was in his twenties and considers him to be his root guru, or main teacher.
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  • The Tibetan spiritual leader is silhouetted as he prays before blessing the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. In September of 2011, he released a statement in which he made clear that when he turned 90, he would re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue.
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  • Tibetans sprinkle chappa, cooked wheat powder, during the 82nd birthday of Dalai Lama at a monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, July 6, 2017. Small groups of Tibetans gathered at various monasteries to celebrate their spiritual leader's birthday despite heavy security present to prevent his birthday celebrations. The Nepalese government has banned all kinds of Tibetan activities, as it is considered to be against the Chinese rule in Tibet.
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