BY CHARLOTTE MCMANUS
LEADER: The 14th Dalai Lama
The reason for selecting the Dalai Lama is because he has achieved many things in his life and is now considered amongst many researchers and writers, as one of the greatest leaders of all time. He has been a leader of a country, a religion, and more significantly, the leader of the spiritual world. He is a fascinating character that has experienced many difficult situations which increases the intrigue of this leader and the skills that he possess. He leads and promotes a way of life that encapsulates all humans, in all countries, of all religions, and uses very unique leadership skills, which will be very interesting to study.
The Dalai Lama is a re-incarnation of a long line (13 before him) of “tulkus (an enlightened Tibetan Buddhist lama/teacher) who descend from the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara”. The first Dalai Lama was Gendun Drup who lived in 1391 – 1474.
Tenzin Gyatso was enthroned as the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940 when he was five years old, and assumed “temporal responsibility of Tibet” (www.dalailamafoundation.org) when he was 15 years old. He experienced an invasion of Tibet by the Chinese and escaped into exile in India when he was 24, making him the first ever Dalai Lama ever to leave Tibet.
The Dalai Lama has dedicated his life to promoting a world free of violence and suffering, where all nature can live in peace and harmony together, irrespective of nationality and religious beliefs. He believes that through meditation, compassion and the respect for all life, each person will achieve happiness and contentment in their life.
The Dalai Lama has achieved many things in his life to date, including being awarded with one of the most recognised awards in the world in 1989; The Nobel Peace Prize, which is a true indication of his world-recognised contributions to promote peace.
To achieve this award the Dalai Lama has spent his entire life striving to create a more peaceful environment for the human race, with a great focus on reclaiming human rights in Tibet. This mission has seen him travel all over the world, meeting with leaders of many countries presenting new initiatives and being relentless in his message and strength to resolve these issues. These include his appeals to the United Nations during his exile, in 1959, 1961 and 1965, which resulted in three resolutions being adopted by the General Assembly.
In 1987 he presented the “Five Point Peace Plan” to the Congressional Humans Rights Caucus. This was an appeal to the US Congress for the restoration of human rights in Tibet and to announce it as a zone of peace, therefore stopping the dumping of nuclear waste in Tibet, as well as urging “earnest negotiations on the future of Tibet and relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people” (http://nobelprize.org).
In 1989 he offered the “Middle Way Proposal” at the European Parliament, which was not accepted, however, the Dalai Lama again proposed this in 1996 and 1997, when a preliminary opinion poll was held and the policy was adopted by Parliament.
In April 1991, Tenzin Gyatsu travelled to the US and met with George Bush, which ended a boycott with the nation, and also resulted in US Congress passing the “Tibetan Policy Act 2002”, formalising US support for dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama, and also providing funding to Tibet for development projects within the country. This was a very strategic decision made by the Dalai to create a valuable relationship with one of the most powerful counties in the world, and also resulted in the US awarding the Dalai Lama with the highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, in 2007.
Whilst negotiating with parliaments and congress worldwide, the Dalai Lama has rebuilt communities for those living in exile, set up educational, cultural and religious institutions...