Dalai Lama a Popular Icon


A man in a red and yellow robe stands before you. He looks no different than any other man, yet he overtakes you with his presence. He speaks of peace and the togetherness of all mankind regardless of race or color. We all know this iconic figure of the 20th and 21st century, known respectively as His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama Early Life

The Dalai Lama, born Tenzin Gyatso, was a young boy who lived in a small village in Tibet. He was far from city life, yet had a curiosity and intellect far beyond the reach of his simple village. After His Holiness, the 13th Dalai Lama had taken ill, and upon his death, the monks of Tibet began a search for the 14th reincarnation of Buddha. They began a country-wide search and looked far and wide until they came to the village of Tenzin Gyatso. They knew the young boy was special from the beginning when he was able to speak the dialect of the monks, a language unknown in his remote village. The monks then laid several items near the boy and he immediately went to a walking stick and began playing with it. Of all the items set before the boy, this was the one favorite walking stick of His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama (Lama).

The monks were certain at this point that Tenzin Gyatso was the chosen one. The boy left his village and his family that were dear to him and he was brought to a monastery in Lhasa and began his journey as the 14th Dalai Lama. During his lifetime, the Chinese invaded Tibet and send the Dalai Lama into exile. Ever since that day, he and his monks have lived without a home moving from country to country.

Despite this blasphemy from the Chinese, the Dalai Lama has used this time to spread his message on peace and harmony to the rest of the world. He has increased the awareness of Buddhism in the world and has made the world aware of the suffering the Chinese have brought to the Tibetan people. However, in the face of worldwide pressure to free Tibet, the Chinese will not release Tibet (Lama).

The principals and messages of Buddhism

The principals and messages of Buddhism are quite simple and although the Dalai Lama teaches these principles, he only does this to make people aware of his perspective. He promotes all religions, and although he practices only Buddhism, he respects the fundamentals of all ways of life. He promotes peace and awareness among the different religions and cultures of the world. The Dalai Lama has become a global icon respected world-wide. Many who cross paths with the Dalai Lama have life-changing experiences.

The Dalai Lama is easily loved and respected by people because of his down-to-earth personality. The Dalai Lama, while studying such an old way of life, attends sporting events, knows the latest music and other popular culture and brings this knowledge into his daily teachings. He has been the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and his lessons will remain forever and long after he has moved on in this life (Henry).

I was lucky enough to see this man last year during the two-part seminar at the Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts. During the first part of the speech, the Dalai Lama went over the Four Noble Truths in Buddhism, and he also gave a lesson on Buddha. While the Dalai Lama was giving the lesson, I felt a great sense of serenity and silence amongst the crowd. The surreal part of that moment was the fact this man was able to convey his presence onto others.

Dalai Lama and Barack ObamaDuring the second part of the speech, the Dalai Lama spoke about the path to peace and happiness. It wasn’t like a speech that served as a guideline to happiness; he was speaking more of the importance of learning about ourselves and each other because happiness cannot occur without the understanding of all there is here on this earth.

I have visited the Gillette Stadium before in my life; however, I have never been among 16,000 people who were calm, quiet and sympathetic. There was no running, there was no impatience in the food lines and it was simply mind-boggling to me. How can such a simple man exude such an awareness that transforms others?

The crowd was a melting pot; I have never laid eyes on a more diverse crowd in my life. I felt very human that special day; I felt accepted; I felt no different from the person sitting next to me. That idea alone is the essential element that demonstrates a popular icon. I am utterly amazed by this man because, in our daily lives, we speak of peace and compassion, and we speak of coming together as nations; however, this man attains all these qualities. If one man changes such a different crowd in one day, can you imagine the extent of change that can occur if we all were that simple-minded?

In conclusion, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is known all over the world, yet he is the simplest man alive. People look up to him, not because of his religious practices but his capacity to love all there is in front of him. We are all filled with preconditioned minds that make quick to judge others, however, the Dalai Lama shows us that we can live a life without judgment; we can live a life with a sense of appreciation for all that is contained in this earth and we can also live peacefully among all the different people here. The Dalai Lama is an inspiring being to all of the people on this earth.

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