• The Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. "Dalai Lama" is a title, like the pope or president. The name of the current dalai lama is Tenzin Gyatso.
     
    The Dalai Lama began his training when he was only six years old! At that time, Tibetan Buddhists recognized him as the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama, who had died four years earlier. A reincarnation is a person who resembles a deceased spiritual leader or enlightened being. A reincarnation, or tulku, may share qualities with the enlightened being, or have characteristics that others may recognize.
     
    Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth dalai lama. Tibetan Buddhists believe the dalai lamas are manifestations of a spiritual deity. The deity manifested by the dalai lamas is Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. A bodhisattva is a person who has delayed his own nirvana, or highest level of enlightenment, in order to help other people. Compassion is deep sympathy for the suffering of other people.
     
    The current dalai lama has said that he may be the last dalai lama! The people of Tibet, he says, may no longer need a dalai lama. If he does reincarnate, the Dalai Lama says he will not be born in a country where people do not live in freedom.
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      • The first commitment is to promote "human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, and self-discipline."
      • The second commitment is to promote "religious harmony and understanding among the world's major religions."
      • The third commitment is "to act as the free spokesperson of the Tibetans in their struggle for justice." The Dalai Lama says this commitment will end when the conflict between China and Tibet has been resolved.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    atheist adjective, noun

    person or organization that does not believe in any gods or spiritual beings.

    bodhisattva Noun

    in the Buddhist religion, a person who has achieved the highest spiritual enlightenment, but who postpones nirvana in order to help others.

    Buddhist Noun

    person who follows the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha).

    compassionate Adjective

    having to do with sympathy and a desire to help others.

    controversy Noun

    disagreement or debate.

    Dalai Lama Noun

    leader of Tibet.

    deity Noun

    very holy or spiritual being.

    democratic Adjective

    having to do with a government led by its citizens, who vote for policies and/or representatives.

    exile Noun

    forced ejection from a country, or a person who feels forced to leave.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    invade Verb

    to enter and attack.

    nirvana Noun

    in the Buddhist religion, an end to personal reincarnations, achieved by the highest enlightenment and freedom from personal passion, hatred, and delusion.

    refugee Noun

    person who flees their home, usually due to natural disaster or political upheaval.

    reincarnate Verb

    to be born again in a new body.

    religion Noun

    a system of spiritual or supernatural belief.

    secular Adjective

    not having to do with religion or spirituality.

    theology Noun

    study of religion, faith, and spirituality.

    United Nations Noun

    international organization that works for peace, security and cooperation.

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