His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is a pivotal figure on the subject of spiritualism, politics and the oppressed of the world. Unlike his predecessors, he has been prompt to take advantage of the Information Age and spread a message of peace. In addition to authoring scores of books, he has travelled the world to speak before large crowds.
Thousands collect to hear the message of non-violence given by the Dalai Lama in his speech. One can see the Dalai Lama at his home in exile in McLeod Ganj. The spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism, the 14th Dalai Lama is a hero to millions around the world.
On his birthday, here are some lesser-known facts about the spiritual head:
1. The current Dalai Lama is the longest reigning and longest living of all his predecessors. He has already mentioned on numerous occasions that he may be the last of his line to be discovered unless something changes. In 2011, he insinuated that he may “retire" at the age of 90.
2. The 14th Dalai Lama’s family did not speak the Tibetan language. They actually spoke a modified version of a Chinese dialect coming from the western provinces of China.
3. In 1989, the 14th Dalai Lama was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2007, he received the highest civilian honour given by the U.S. Congress, Congressional Gold Medal. The 14th Dalai Lama strongly opposes nuclear weapons and serves as an advisor in the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
4. The Dalai Lama has always been keenly interested in science since childhood. He said that he was not raised as a monk and probably would have decided to be an engineer. During his youth, he loved repairing watches, and even cars in his spare time.
5. In 2009, while speaking in Tennessee, the Dalai Lama said that he fights for the rights of women and considered himself a feminist. According to Buddhist belief, abortion is wrong unless the birth is a threat to the mother or the child. In the same speech, he said that the ethical considerations should be contemplated on a case-by-case basis.