The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva (Buddha) of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve the humanity. This Dalai Lama is the 14th Dalai Lama. He is the 74th manifestation of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, the enlightened Buddha of compassion. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshe Norbu, the Wishfulfilling Gem, or simply Kundun - The Presence.

The present Dalai lama was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama at age two. In order to confirm his identity, Tibetan monks tested Gyatso by asking him to identify certain articles of clothing that belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama. He passed the series of tests, then changed his name, took the throne at age four and became a monk at age six.

Here is 10 lesser known interesting facts about him -

  1. The Dalai lama's name is Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso.
  2. The name Dalai lama is a combination of the Mongolic word dalai meaning "ocean" and the Tibetan word (bla-ma) meaning "guru, teacher, mentor".
  3. The dalai lama is non-vegetarian.He was a vegetarian for a short time, but he developed jaundice. He had to go back to eating meat. Because of the lack of farming land in Tibet, meat has been a staple of their diet for many centuries.
  4. The Dalai Lama enjoys collecting and repairing watches.
  5. The Dalai Lama is fascinated by science and has said that if he had not become a monk, he would have become an engineer.
  6. The Dalai Lama Tenzin was one of sixteen children and only one of the five of them to survive past six.
  7. The great monk has plenty of celebrity admirers, including Richard Gere (below), Steven Seagal and Carmen Electra.
  8. In 1989, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for his work advocating nonviolent means to free Tibet from China.
  9. The residence of the Dalai Lama , Potala Palace and Norbulingka, are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  10. When the Dalai Lama was asked on his website what is the purpose of life, he answered "to be happy".