Phases of his life

At the age of two, Tenzin Gyatso (1937) was recognised as the reincarnation of the XIII Dalai Lama and transferred from his home to the Potala Palace, the traditional seat of the Dalai Lamas. He undertook his monk´s education there and received extensive training in Buddhist philosophy and meditation from the best Tibetan teachers.

At fifteen he was appointed to Tibet's spiritual and secular Head of State. Shortly thereafter, the Chinese troops invaded Tibet. In 1959 the Dalai Lama fled to India wherein roundabout hundred thousand Tibetans followed him.

From exile, the Dalai Lama attempted to improve the people's fate through various ways in his homeland Tibet His aim as political leader of Tibet was to achieve genuine autonomy and self-regulation by negotiating with the Chinese government. Despite substantial concessions which he agreed to by engaging in middle way politics, Peking was nonetheless disinterested in a dialogue.

Democratisation of the Tibetan society

From exile, the Dalai Lama pressed ahead with the democratisation of the Tibetan society. In Dharamsala, he called an exile government forth with an exile parliament, a cabinet and other democratic institutions.

H.H. the Dalai Lama diminished his own authority in July 2001: Through his efforts the Tibetans in exile voted for their first prime minister Professor Samdhong Rinpoche; in 2011 his successor was Lobsang Sangay who still holds this position today.

The Dalai Lama withdrew from all political offices and handed over the political skills to democratic institutions in spring 2011. Hence, he consciously ended the 350 year tradition of the Dalai Lama as a political institution. As a spiritual leader, he continues to accept invitations worldwide facilitating sessions on how we can live with compassion in this global world.

Shugden Conflict

There were demonstrations against the Dalai Lama by the „Shugden devotees“ earlier this year in the USA and Europe, .i.e. Dalai Lama’s visit to Frankfurt in May. Most likely, the protestors will demonstrate at the Hamburg event as well.

Short background info

Tibetan version of the background paper 

An Interview with Tibetologist Thierry Dodin: The Dorje Shugden Conflict


In 1989 the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in non-violently resolving the challenges in Tibet.