His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso was born July 6, 1935 (the year of the Tree Pigs according to the Tibetan calendar) in a small village called Taktser in Dokham in northeastern Tibet.
His father Choykon Tsering and his mother Sonam Tsomo (her name was later changed to Dickey Tsering) were simple peasants. At birth, he was given name Lhamo Dhondrup. In his autobiography, “My land and my people,” His Holiness says: “If I was born into a wealthy aristocratic family, I could not feel the feelings and aspirations of the poor Tibetans. But thanks to my simple origins I can understand them, anticipate their thoughts, and that is why I so strongly feel sorry for them and always tried to do everything possible to alleviate their lot. “
In 1909, during his pilgrimage to places associated with Jae Tsongkhapa, the XIII Dalai Lama visited the village of Taktser. He noted the beauty of the place and said that he would like to go back there again. In 1937, special group of lamas came to the village of Taktser, who sought a new reincarnation of Dalai Lama. In his book, “My land and my people,” the XIV Dalai Lama recalls: “Young children, who are reincarnations, usually remember things and people from their previous lives. Some of them can read religious texts, though no one has taught them to do it. All that I said to Lama, gave him reason to believe that he finally found the reincarnation he was looking for.”
After the appropriate tests, four-years-old Dhondrup Lhamo was recognized the reincarnation of the XIII Dalai Lama. The eastern region of Tibet, where the village of Taktser is located, was under the control of China. After lengthy negotiations between the Tibetan government and the local administration in October 1939, His Holiness left his parents’ home and went to Lhasa. The ceremony of his enthronement took place February 22, 1940.
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, was trained in the traditional system in the Potala and Nor-Bu Ling, in his winter and summer residences. Dalai Lama had two official mentors: Yongzin Ling Rinpoche and Yongzin Trichang Rinpoche. His training program consisted of “Five Big Sciences” and “Five Small Sciences.” Five Big Sciences include the logic, Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine, and Buddhist philosophy. Five small sciences are the poetry, music and drama, astrology and literature.
At age 24, His Holiness handed preliminary examinations for the degree of Doctor of Divinity in three major monastic universities: Drepung Monastery (founded in 1416), Sir (1419), Gan-den (1409).
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