For the last decades, two world wars within fifty years and countless terrorist attacks, genocides all over the globe creates one of the bloodiest era in human history. Due to the violence, competitive human nature, most individuals nowadays are controlled by the pace and pressure of society, hence, impotent to achieve inner peace, “a state of harmony, the absence of hostility” (Self Growth). However, a few were able to successfully manage a peaceful mentality and spirituality, and one is the fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.
Eighty years old Tenzin Gyatso, originally named Lhamo Thondup came from a small peasant family in the village of Taktser, east of Tibet. Thondup grew up as the fifth son out of his seventeenth siblings. During his second age, he was proclaimed as the reincarnation of the thirteenth Dalai Lama by religious officials and was renamed Tenzin Gyatso. Dalai Lama is an important religious figure in the world of Buddhism. In Mongolian, the terms Dalai, “ocean”, and Lama means “spiritual teacher” are combined to be known as “spiritual teacher as deep of the ocean” (Biography).
Dalai Lamas are compassionate leaders, who delayed their afterlife in order to resurrect and guide humanity. At the age of six, Gyatso steadily gained religious knowledge by studying logic, philosophy, and cultures in Tibetan schools. By 1950 at the age of fifteen, he possessed full power as the Dalai Lama. During October of the same year, the People’s Republic of China began their invasion in Tibet. For the rest of his life, Gyatso became the political and religious leader who fought for the people of Tibet.
During the following years, Gyatso attempted peace talks with the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong to prevent fighting, but due to tremendous pressure from the Chinese and suspicion of assassination, Gyatso and his followers were forced to rush to Dharamsala in northern India and started their own government in 1959. The following fifty years became an active period for the religious figure as he continues fighting to achieve political freedom for Tibet. In 1987, the Five Point Peace Plan was proposed as a political stride to reconnect Tibet with the Chinese government and reduce tension between both sides.
The next year, Gyatso spoke in Strasbourg, France, discussing the same problems relating to the Five Point Peace Plan, suggesting ideas that support Tibet to achieve it democratic government. However, up until now, the Chinese government has shown no signs of supporting Tibet in it political movement. In 2011, during the 52nd anniversary of his exile, Gyatso step down as Tibet’s leader due to his unsteady and weakened form, claiming that the nation need a new, elected leader.
Despite living in a destructive and violence society, His Holiness allows himself to maintain a peaceful state of mind. Gyatso once said: “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves” and it directly reflects his calm and placid nature. Just like any other devoted Buddhist, Gyatso had his own form of prayer, which is “a wholehearted faith response to God (in this case Buddha), who loves us without conditions and is with us in every moment of our life” (Celebrating Sacraments, 57).
Prayer had three traditional forms. In vocal prayer, the person is attempting to connect with Buddha by physically talking to Him. Contemplation, “a state of mystical awareness of God’s being” by “concentrating on spiritual things as a form of private devotion” (Merriam Webster). For His Holiness, he believed by doing meditation or focusing one’s “attention on an idea, a story, or a particular object” (Celebrating Sacraments, 62), that the individual can best achieve inner peace to communicate with Buddha.
The process of meditating and praying stretches throughout His Holiness daily routine. By praying three different times a day, from 3 am until 5 am after he woke up, from 6 am to 9 am before spending time reading Buddhists texts and studies, and after drinking tea at around 5 am, His Holiness was able to uphold a harmonious attitude. Stated in his book Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment, His Holiness punctuated the importance of meditation, he said: “[… ] in my daily life, meditation is also a method for relaxation.
In meditation, we think about and analyze life, mind and self. If your analytical meditation goes well, you feel relaxed; if it doesn’t, you just get more tired” (Prologue, XIX). During meditation, the Dalai Lama usually combined the uses of imagination and the body to sustain reconciliation. Buddhists in general and the Dalai Lama in particular usually meditate by closing their eyes, sitting in an upright posture with a relax state of mind, and breathe steadily.
In different meditations, Buddhist music will be played; a speaker will deliver stories for his/her listeners, or in other cases, the meditator will murmur, sing Buddhist texts. Day by day, His Holiness pray and meditate to obtain serenity. Not only that, he also contributes many different accomplishments to the Buddhist world. From 1962 up until now, more than a decade of books were published by the Dalai Lama himself and others about his philosophy, life. He also achieved numerous awards and honors, the most noticeable was the Nobel Peace Prize received in 1989 for his contribution to the liberation of Tibet.