Unless you’ve been living in a hole for the past month (or in your thesis carrel), you’ve probably heard that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama will be visiting Middlebury this weekend, October 12-13. You also probably know that it’s a big deal. Or do you? MiddBlog interviewed a few students to see just how much they knew about the Tibetan Buddhist leader.
Didn’t even know as much as the people we interviewed? (And don’t feel bad; neither did I until I wrote this post…) Never fear! We’ve complied a list of the top ten things you should know about the Dalai Lama, but probably don’t.
- The Dalai Lamas are believed to be the latest manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteśvara. They have postponed their own nirvana (or liberation) in order to serve others.
- The 5th Dalai Lama was the first to assume political power in Tibet.
- Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama is the 14th in the line of Dalai Lamas. He was selected as the rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama at the age of 2, and was then recognized at the 14th Dalai Lama at the age of 15.
- The 14th Dalai Lama has been in exile since 1959, when he fled to India with his retinue (at the age of 24).
- His Holiness recently abdicated his political role as Tibet’s temporal leader. He remains active fostering Tibet’s monastic and cultural traditions in exile while calling for a “global ethics” that supersedes religion or culture to engage and develop what is common to all humans—kindness, responsibility, and compassion.
- His Holiness’s hobbies include meditating, gardening, and repairing watches.
- The Dalai Lama loves Midd. He visited the college for two symposiums — in 1984 for “Christ and the Bodhisattva” and in 1990 for “Spirit and Nature: Religion, Ehtics and Environment Crisis.”
- The Dalai Lama is extremely interested in science and has for many years been involved with research looking into how meditation affects the brain.
- He is one of sixteen children. His parents were farmers.
- He tweets at @DalaiLama. Most recently saying: