Tibetan, Gelug (pa)
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (1935 – )

Lineage of the Dalai Lama: Tsong Khapa (1357-1419) founded Ganden monastery in 1409. A graduate of the austere Karmapa order, his doctrine emphasised monastic discipline. This attitude was echoed by his reinforcement of the primacy of sutras – the original teachings of Buddha – over the tantras – later mystical teachings. So popular was his movement that new monasteries were soon opened at Sera, Drepung and Tashilhunpo, and the sect took on the name of Gelug or “Virtuous Ones”.

During the tenure of the third Gelugpa leader, Sonam Gyatso (1543-1588), a Mongolian force invaded Tibet. When the Mongol leader, the Altan Khan, met Sonam Gyatso he was so awed as to immediately convert to Buddhism. As part of the ensuing priest patron relationship, the Khan conferred the title Dalai Lama or “Oceanic Teacher” upon Sonam Gyatso, who retroactively applied it to his two predecessors, thereby becoming the Third Dalai Lama.

In 1640, when civil unrest again arose in Tibet, the Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso (1617-1682) applied for assistance from his associates, the Mongols. It was after their subsequent pacification of the nation, that the Mongols invested him with complete political control. The Fifth Dalai Lama thereby became the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet. So capable was he, in both temporal and spiritual realms, that this Dalai Lama is often referred to as the “Great Fifth”.

The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the Fourteenth one. Like those before him, he is held to be the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara. The concept of reincarnation is fundamental to the continued lineage of the Dalai Lama. This is maintained by the discovery of a young child born soon after the death of a previous Dalai Lama. It is believed that the life-spirit of the deceased transfers to the newly found child, who takes on the pre-ordained mantle of the Dalai Lama.

Biography: A world-renowned spiritual leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, describes himself as a “simple Buddhist monk”. In his lectures and tours around the world, his compassionate nature visibly touches everyone who meets him.

He has traveled to more than 52 countries and met with presidents, prime ministers and crowned rulers of major nations. He has held dialogues with the heads of different religions and many well-known scientists. He has authored over 50 books and received over 57 honorary doctorates, awards and prizes, including in 1989, the Nobel Peace Prize.

His Holiness was born on July 6, 1935 to a farming family in the hamlet of Takster in north-eastern Tibet. At the age of two he was recognized as the incarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, and was designated as the new spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people.

His monastic education began at the age of six, and at 23 he was awarded the Lharampa degree (the highest level geshe degree, or doctorate of Buddhist philosophy). With China’s occupation of Tibet in 1959, His Holiness fled to northern India, where he established a Tibetan Government-in-Exile, shepherding the exile Tibetan community towards a modern democracy.

Today His Holiness concentrates on his spiritual mission and is recognized worldwide for his message of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion.

Contact Address

Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Thekchen Choeling
P.O. McLeod Ganj
Dharamsala H.P. 176219

Tel: [0091-(0)1892] 221343/221879
Fax: [0091-(0)1892] 221813


Books authored by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

  • Ancient Wisdom, Modern World: Ethics for a New Millennium
    This latest book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the first major publication in recent years since the best selling autobiography Freedom In Exile, His Holiness calls for a revolution – not a political, an economic, a technical or even a religious revolution, but a spiritual revolution to help us through the moral maze of modern life.
  • Advice from Buddha Shakyamuni
    A brief outline and commentary on the discipline to be observed by a fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk.
  • Aryasura’s Aspiration and a Meditation on Compassion
    Four texts on compassion: a bodhisattva’s aspirational prayer by the Indian poet Aryasura, and its commentary by the second Dalai Lama; plus The Inseparability of the Spiritual Master and Avalokiteshvara and a talk on activating compassion, both by the present Dalai Lama.
  • Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart
    A practical instruction book on developing compassion in our daily lives through simple meditations that directly relate to past and present relationships. The Dalai Lama gives a commentary on the classic 14th century Kadampa work Rays of the Sun, Training of the Mind famous for its potency in awakening compassion in the human heart.
  • Beyond Dogma
    Here His Holiness talks simply and movingly about the path to peace and the future of the planet, seeking to show that true enlightenment can only come from within each of us.
  • Bodh Gaya Interviews: His Holiness the Dalai Lama 1981-85
    A collection of interviews with His Holiness on various topics such as politics, Christianity, particle physics, Tantra, emptiness and liberation.
  • Buddhism of Tibet And the Key to the Middle Way
    Translated by Jeffrey Hopkins
    A combined volume comprising an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, a layman’s guide to enlightenment and instructions for meditation on emptiness.
  • Commentary on the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva
    Commentary by the Dalai Lama on the classic text by Thogmed Zangpo, given at Bodh Gaya in 1974.
  • Cultivating a Daily Meditation
    Two discourses in which His Holiness touches upon the essential points of the Dharma and provides a clear and simple method to cultivate a daily practice of meditation. He also explains how we should proceed in the effort to generate both the heart of compassion and the expansive view of emptiness in our daily life.
  • The Dalai Lama at Harvard: Lectures on the Buddhist Path to Peace
    A series of lectures given by His Holiness at Harvard University, providing an introduction to Buddhist theory and practice and covering a wide spectrum of important issues.
  • Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Wisdom
    This inspirational volume offers encouragement to anyone seeking a more peaceful and liberating way of life. With poignant simplicity the Dalai Lama shares his perspective on such enduring themes as love, religion, justice, human rights, poverty, cultural conflict and protection of the environment.
  • Dialogues on Universal Responsibility and Education
    Drawn from two workshops held in New Delhi between the Dalai Lama and a group of Indian scholars, philosophers, teachers and social reformers. Taking the concept of universal responsibility as their basis the participants discuss ways to bring about humanitarian change in our society, whilst also focusing on education to effect positive change.
  • Essential Teachings
    Instruction on the 37 practices for the cultivation of bodhicitta – the Mind of Enlightenment – and how these practices can be applied, particularly in Western society.
  • Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night
    His Holiness presents a detailed manual of practical philosophy based on the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. He explains and amplifies the text verse by verse, alluding throughout to the experience of daily life and showing how anyone can develop a truly good heart.
  • Four Noble Truths
    Based on talks given at the London Barbican in 1996, this is an essential guide to the fundamental teaching of Buddhism.
  • Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama of Tibet
    An updated autobiography following the award of the Nobel Peace Prize, in which the Dalai Lama talks freely of his life and the tragic story of Tibet, and also discusses contemporary issues.
  • Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra
    Dalai Lama / Berzin A
    Mahamudra is a system of meditation that directly addresses the habituated perception of duality, the source of all suffering. The Gelug/Kagyu tradition of Mahamudra laid out in the text presented here was formulated by the First Panchen Lama, using Kagyu-style techniques for recognising the conventional nature of the mind, and Gelug techniques for recognising its deepest nature.
  • Generous Wisdom: Commentaries on the Jatakamala
    A set of four teachings on the Garland of Birth Stories of the Buddha, the main theme of which is the perfection of generosity of the bodhisattvas, but which also includes the perfections of ethics and patience, dependent-arising and karma.
  • Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective
    Translated by Thupten Jinpa
    The Dalai Lama offers many techniques and methods for developing patience that are relevant not only to Buddhists but to everyone seeking to improve their lives. He bases his discussion on the section on Patience from A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, one of the best-known Buddhist books on developing the qualities of a Bodhisattva.
  • Joy of Living and Dying in Peace: Core Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism
    From the Library of Tibet series, this book gives essential Buddhist teachings, and the Dalai Lama’s own thoughts on achieving a meaningful life & death.
  • Kindness, Clarity and Insight
    Translated by Hopkins J & Napper E
    A warm and inspiring collection of talks given by the Dalai Lama in North America, speaking to people everywhere of the importance of kindness, love, and compassion.
  • Love, Kindness and Universal Responsibility
    In a compilation of three previous works, the Dalai Lama here reveals his personal philosophy, based on the concept of universal responsibility and reverence for all living beings.
  • Meaning of Life from a Buddhist Perspective
    Translated & Edited by Jeffrey Hopkins
    Teachings on Buddhist philosophy, based on the ‘Twelve Links of Dependent Arising’ depicted in the famous Buddhist image of the Wheel of Life.
  • My Land and My People: Memoirs of the Dalai Lama
    The dignified and compelling autobiography of H H the 14th Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet. A tragic yet deeply inspiring book, the whole vivid and moving story is told with the gentle forgiving spirit of a Buddhist monk. New Edition.
  • My Tibet
    Personal reflections by the Tibetan leader to match the incredibly beautiful photographs of the land he was forced to flee in 1959. With 118 colour illustrations. “My religion is simple, my religion is kindness”.
  • Opening the Mind & Generating a Good Heart
    A concise survey of Buddhist training explaining how generating kindness is the core of the Buddha’s teaching.
  • Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to Stages of Meditation
    Translated by Thupten Jinpa
    Based on an oral lectures given on Panchen Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen’s Lam Rim text, Path to Bliss Leading to Omniscience.
  • Path to Enlightenment
    Translated by Glenn H. Mullin
    In these extensive instructions based on the famous Tibetan text, Essence of Refined Gold by the Third Dalai Lama, His Holiness beautifully elucidates the meaning of the Path to Enlightenment through his own direct spiritual advice and personal reflections.
  • Policy of Kindness: An Anthology of Writings By and About the Dalai Lama
    “…the selections have substance, are beautifully written, and cultivate a rich sense of versatility on themes that range from an intimate look at the life of the Dalai Lama to his thoughts on many topics.” – The Book Review
  • Power of Buddhism
    The Dalai Lama speaks on the issues of contemporary life in this important set of dialogues held with esteemed French film writer Jean-Claude Carrière. (Published elsewhere as Violence and Compassion).
  • Power of Compassion
    Many people have asked the Dalai Lama to speak on the current difficulties facing humanity. In these talks given in London he speaks about a wide range of issues, including war in Bosnia, racial hatred, gender and environmental protection. He describes clearly and simply how to live and die well, and how to infuse one’s life with wisdom and compassion.
  • Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying
    This book is the account of an historic dialogue between leading Western scientists and the Dalai Lama, in his position of one of the foremost representatives of Buddhism today. Revolving around the three key transitional states of sleep, dreams and death, the conversations recorded here took place at the fourth Mind and Life Conference in Dharamsala, India. Whether the topic is lucid dreaming, near-death experience, or the very structure of consciousness itself, the participants continually surprise with their discoveries of convergences and divergences between their respective traditions.
  • Transcendent Wisdom: Commentary on the Ninth Chapter of Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life
  • From an oral teaching on the complex and profound view of emptiness, positing the ultimate mode of existence of all phenomena.
  • Union of Bliss and Emptiness
    A commentary on the Lama Chöpa guru yoga, explaining the actual practice on the basis of Guhyasamaja, the preliminaries such as self-generation on the basis of Yamantaka and the performing of offerings and so forth according to Heruka. Meant for initiates only.
  • Universal Responsibility and the Good Heart
    A collection of articles and interviews with the present Dalai Lama reflecting his thoughts and activities over the past twenty years.
  • Violence and Compassion
    The Dalai Lama speaks out for the first time on the issues of contemporary life in this important set of dialogues held with esteemed French film writer Jean-Claude Carrière. His Holiness exhibits his characteristic warmth and clear thinking throughout but what is most valuable about these discussions is his ability to cut through to the essence.
  • Way to Freedom
    An essential primer on Tibetan Buddhism, presented in easy-to-understand steps based on the classic Lam Rim, or ‘Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’ teachings.
  • World of Tibetan Buddhism
    Translated and edited by Thubten Jinpa
    This work consists of three parts: a general introduction and overview of basic theories and practices; a commentary on selected readings from Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara; and a discussion of tantra.