Session 7 – HH.THE DALAI LAMA & THE KARMAPA

THE DALAI LAMA

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Dalai is a Mongol word meaning ocean, it refers to the depth of the Dalai Lama’s wisdom.
The first Dalai Lama to be given this title was the 3rd Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso. (The two previous incarnations were named “Dalai Lama” after their deaths.)  His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. He is the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the age of two, the child, then named Lhamo Dhondup, was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.  The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are realized beings inspired by a wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, who have vowed to be reborn in the world to help humanity
His Holiness began his monastic education at the age of six. The curriculum, derived from the Nalanda tradition, consisted of five major and five minor subjects. The major subjects included logic, fine arts, Sanskrit grammar, and medicine, but the greatest emphasis was given to Buddhist philosophy which was further divided into a further five categories: Prajnaparamita, the perfection of wisdom; Madhyamika, the philosophy of the middle Way; Vinaya, the canon of monastic discipline; Abidharma, metaphysics; and Pramana, logic and epistemology. The five minor subjects included poetry, drama, astrology, composition and synonyms.
The current Dalai Lama is called Tenzin Gyatso. He was born in Amdo Tibet in 1935 and is the fourteenth Dalai Lama.

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THE KARMAPA

Karmapa means the embodiment of all the activities of the buddhas, or the one who carries out buddha-activity. In the Tibetan tradition, great enlightened teachers are said to be able to consciously control their rebirth in order to continue their activity for the benefit of all sentient beings. On this page we will give you an overview of the Karmapa lineage, and a brief introduction to the life and many activities of the present Karmapa. The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, was born in 1110. He was the first of the great Tibetan masters to establish an incarnating lineage. Since his death in 1193, successive Karmapas have incarnated in this form of manifestation body (Skt. nirmanakaya), for sixteen lifetimes so far, and all have played a most important role in preserving and promulgating the Buddhist teachings of Tibet. The present Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the 17th in the line of Karmapa incarnations.

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