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Published: 9th Jul, 2020

Recently, the Dalai Lama addressed the Dhammachakka Pravartan celebration hosted by the Culture Ministry at the Rashtrapati Bhavan via video call, to celebrate his birthday. The event saw Buddhist monks from 52 countries including a significant number from Japan and Taiwan.


Recently, the Dalai Lama addressed the Dhammachakka Pravartan celebration hosted by the Culture Ministry at the Rashtrapati Bhavan via video call, to celebrate his birthday. The event saw Buddhist monks from 52 countries including a significant number from Japan and Taiwan.

Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta 

  • It is considered to be a record of the first teaching given by the Buddhaafter he attained enlightenment. According to the Buddhist tradition, the Buddha gave this teaching in Sarnath, to the five ascetics (his former companions with whom he had spent six years practicing austerities).

The Dalai Lamas in Tibetan Buddhism

  • All of the Dalai Lamas are thought to be Manifestations of the Bodhisattvaof Compassion, Avalokitesvara.
  • For Buddhists, the ultimate goal is enlightenment, or “nirvana” – liberation from the cycle of birth and death. East Asian and Tibetan Buddhists, as part of the Mahayana sect, believe bodhisattvas have reached this highest realization.
  • Furthermore, Mahayana Buddhists believe bodhisattvas choose to be reborn, to experience the pain and suffering of the world, to help other beings attain enlightenment.
  • Tibetan Buddhism has developed this idea of the bodhisattva further into identified lineages of rebirths called “tulkus.” Any person, who is believed to be a rebirth of a previous teacher, master, or leader, is considered a tulku. Tibetan Buddhism has hundreds, if not thousands of such lineages, but the most respected and well-known is the Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama

  • It is the title given by the Tibetan people for the foremost spiritual leader of the Gelugpa or “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • The name Dalai Lama, meaning Ocean of Wisdom, was not conferred until the third reincarnation in the form of Sonam Gyatso in 1578.
  • The first and second Dalai Lamas were given the title posthumously. Buddhists believe that the first tulku in this reincarnation was Gedun Drub, who lived from 1391-1474 and the second was Gendun Gyatso.
  • The Dalai Lama is a highly influential figure. The 14thand current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

  • He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in northeastern Tibet.
  • At the age of two, the child, then named Lhamo Dhondup, was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.
  • In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet.

Tibetan Buddhism

  • Tibetan Buddhism combines the essential teachings of Mahayana Buddhismwith Tantric and Shamanic, and material from an ancient Tibetan religion called Bon.
  • Although Tibetan Buddhism is often thought to be identical with Vajrayana Buddhism, they are not identical - Vajrayana is taught in Tibetan Buddhism together with the other vehicles.
  • Groups within Tibetan Buddhism
  • Nyingmapa: Founded by Padmasambhava, this is the oldest sect, noted in the West for the teachings of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
  • Kagyupa:Founded by Tilopa (988-1069), it is headed by the Karmapa Lama. Important Kagyupa teachers include Naropa, Marpa, and Milarepa.
  • Sakyapa: Created by Gonchok Gyelpo (1034-1102) and his son Gunga Nyingpo (1092-1158).
  • Gelugpa:(The Virtuous School) Founded by Tsong Khapa Lobsang Drakpa (also called Je Rinpoche) (1357 - 1419), this tradition is headed by the Dalai Lama.
  • strong>New Kadampa Tradition One of the major Buddhist schools in the UK, founded by the Tibetan-born Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Some Buddhists and non-Buddhists regard it as outside the mainstream tradition.
  • Special features of Tibetan Buddhism
    • The status of the teacher or “Lama”
    • Pre-occupation with the relationship between life and death
    • An important role of rituals and initiations
    • Rich visual symbolism
    • Elements of earlier Tibetan faiths
    • Mantras and meditation practice

China, India and Dalai Lama

  • China views the Dalai Lama as a separatist, while Dalai Lama says that his fight is for the autonomy of Tibetans.
  • Chinese communist government under Mao Zedong carried out the invasion of Tibet in 1950.
  • Evading the People’s Liberation Army of China, the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959.
  • Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru permitted him to form The Tibetan Government in Exile in Dharamsala in India. This has been a major irritant for China.
  • China in 2017 objected to Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang district. It was seen by China as a “provocation” by India.
  • The successor to the Dalai Lama is traditionally located by senior monastic disciples, based on spiritual signs and visions. In 2011, however, the Chinese Foreign Ministry declared that only the government in Beijing can appoint the next Dalai Lamaand no recognition should be given to any other succession candidate.
  • Because of the threat from China, the 14th Dalai Lama has made many statements that would make it difficult for a Chinese appointed 15th Dalai Lama to be seen as legitimate.
    • For example, he has stated that the institution of the Dalai Lama might not be needed anymore. However, he has also said it was up to the people if they wanted to preservethis aspect of Tibetan Buddhism and continue the Dalai Lama lineage.
    • Another option the Dalai Lama has proposed would be for him to appoint his reincarnation before he dies. In this scenario, the Dalai Lama would transfer his spiritual realizationto the successor.
    • A third alternative Tenzin Gyatso has statedis that if he dies outside of Tibet, his reincarnation would be located abroad, most likely India.
    • Lastly, he has mentioned the possibility of being reborn as a woman but added that he would have to be a very beautiful woman. He believes that appearance is importantin transmitting Buddhist teachings.


  • It was founded by Gautama Buddha. He was born as Prince Siddhartha at Lumbini near Kapilavastu (in present Nepal) in 566 BC.
  • His parents were Suddhodhana and Mahamaya. Suddhodhana was the chief of the Sakya clan. Due to this, Buddha was also known as ‘Sakyamuni’.
  • He was married to Yashodhara and had a son, Rahula.
  • He left his home at the age of 29 to become an ascetic. This event is called
  • Gautama attained Bodhi (enlightenment)under a pipal tree at Bodhgaya a village in Bihar.
  • Buddha gave his first sermon in the village of Sarnath in Banaras. This event is known as Dharmachakra Pravartana/ Dhammachakkappavattana (turning of the wheel of law).
  • He died in 483 BCE at Kushinagar. The event is known as 


  • Gautama taught that a person should avoid the excess of both luxury and austerity. He prescribed the middle path (Madhyam Marg). The Buddha also laid down a code of conduct for his followers on the same lines as was done by the Jaina teachers. The main items of this social conduct are
    • Do not covet the property of others,
    • Do not commit violence,
    • Do not use intoxicants,
    • Do not speak a lie,
    • Do not indulge in corrupt practices.
  • The Four Noble Truths:
    • The world is full of sorrow
    • People suffer on account of desires.
    • If desires are conquered, nirvana will be attained, that is, man will be free from the cycle of birth and death.
    • Desire can be conquered by following the eight-fold paths (Ashtangika Marga).
  • Buddhism does not recognize the existence of God and the soul (atman).

Eight-fold paths-Ashtangika Marga

  • Right Understanding
  • Right Intent
  • Right Speech
  • Right Action
  • Right Livelihood
  • Right Effort
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Concentration

Three Jewels/Tri-Ratnas

These are the Buddha, the Dharma which is the teaching of the Buddha, and the Sangha, which is the community who follow the teaching.


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