CBC Digital Archives

Meeting the Dalai Lama

It is a very important time for The Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America. Today, the Dalai Lama is coming to give a Buddhist teaching, the main public teaching he will do on the east coast.

The Monastery is situated about 145 kilometres from New York City, and people are expected, from all around the world. Whilst at the Monastery, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, who is currently living in exile in Dharamsala in India, meets with Man Alive's Roy Bonisteel. They talk about life as a Buddhist monk, living in exile, and the possibility of a return visit to Tibet.

• Tibet is often known as "the roof of the world" because the geography of the country consists of the high mountains, lakes and rivers of central and south Asia. • Tenzin Gyatso (the Dalai Lama) was born to a farming family as Lhamo Thondup in Taktser, a small settlement in Tibet. His parents, Choekyong and Diki Tsering, were farmers living among about 20 other families.

• When a Dalai Lama dies, a successor is found through signs, omens and the consultation of the state oracle. When the 13th Dalai Lama died, whilst lying embalmed, with his face pointing to the south, he is said to have mysteriously turned his head to the northeast. This indicated the direction in which to pursue the search for the next Dalai Lama.

• In another account, the Regent of Tibet had a vision of Tenzin Gyatso's house. When the search party arrived there they presented the two-year-old boy with toys, some of which had belonged to the previous Dalai Lama. He instantly recognized those items and said they belonged to him. He was declared to be the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama.

• In March 1959 General Chiang Chin-wu of Communist China invited the Tibetan leader to attend a theatrical show by a Chinese dance troupe, under the condition that no Tibetan soldiers were to accompany him. This made the people of Lhasa nervous, and after a consultation with the Nechung oracle the Dalai Lama was instructed to leave the country. He disguised himself as a soldier, and along with a small entourage reached the Indian border. The Indian government had agreed to provide assylum to the Dalai Lama and his followers in India. Two days later China invaded Tibet and thousands were killed. The Dalai Lama still lives in exile in India today, and continues the quest for Tibetan independence from China.

Medium: Television
Program: Man Alive
Broadcast Date: Jan. 4, 1981
Guest(s): Dalai Lama
Interviewer: Roy Bonisteel
Duration: 11:02
This clip was edited for copyright reasons.

Last updated: July 3, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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