The Dalai Lama
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the current Dalai Lama. Although he would describe himself as a simple Buddhist monk, he is widely known as the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on July 6, 1935 and just two years later was chosen as the reincarnation as the 13th Dalai Lama. He was formally recognized as the Dalai Lama at the age of 15. Dalai Lamas are believed to be reincarnations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, an enlightened being who has postponed his own nirvana in order to serve humankind.
The Dalai Lama has lived a life full of education, human rights advocacy, spirituality, and fighting for what’s right. Even in his own personal struggles, he has always chosen the peaceful path. His work has gotten him worldwide recognition as a human rights activist. He has won many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, for his efforts to make the world a better place, and earned many honorary degrees for his education of others.
The Dalai Lama believes that compassion is the secret to a happy life. He certainly practices what he preaches in his philosophies; he advocates for non-violence, women’s rights, interfaith dialogue, and the environment. He urges people to consider trying a vegetarian diet and to not “think of animals as vegetables,” in order to move the population toward a diet that is animal-friendly. He has condemned the act of killing people in the name of religion, calling it “unthinkable,” and said that violence was appropriate only if someone was trying to hurt you, and that you should never kill them in response.
Truly a man of peace, the 14th Dalai Lama is a prime example of how to advocate for human rights in a non-violent, intelligent, and compassionate way. His emphasis on compassion has and will continue to influence many people to be better. His work for human rights will stand as his legacy throughout the ages.
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