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Back in the Day: child becomes Dalai Lama


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Back in the Day: child becomes Dalai Lama

*February 22, 1940* Five-year-old Lhamo Dondrub is enthroned as the 14th Dalai Lama, adopting his religious name, Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso. His predecessor as Dalai Lama had died in 1933. A regent was named whose task it was to establish who was the reincarnation of the next political and religious leader of the Tibetan Buddhists.
 
It took six years to identify the two-year-old boy, the son of a farmer from the tiny village of Takster as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. He moved with his family to the Tibetan capital Lhasa, where he was enthroned, escorted by a mile-long convoy as he entered the Potala Palace.  


 
It was a cold February day but according to witnesses there was a joyful atmosphere in Tibet after years without a Dalai Lama.
 
At six-years-old the boy started his monastic education. When he reached 11 he met the Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, who became his tutor about the outside world. Their friendship, that lasted until Harrer’s death in 2006, inspired the movie Seven years in Tibet” (1997)  starring Brad Pitt and directed by French filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud.

Also on February 22: Robert II, new King of Scotland, begins the Stuart dynasty (1371); Galileo publishes his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems on the Earth orbiting the Sun (1632); £53 million/78 million euro robbery, Britain’s biggest, takes place in Tonbridge, Kent (2006).

Born on February 22: George Washington (1732), Robert Baden Powell (1857), Edward Kennedy (1932), Vijay Singh (1963), Brian Laudrup (1969), Drew Barrymore (1975).

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