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Word Count: 2,126
Dalai Lama literally means ocean priest His vast followers awestruck by his presence cast their eyes downward fall to the ground and weep They cannot look directly in his eyes out of respect The Dalai Lama realizes the magnitude of his position but dismisses the idolatry His people call him His Holiness He calls himself a Tibetan who chooses to be a Buddhist monk He also was leader of a country that Tibetans say is occupied and that Beijing says has always been part of China He is considered the reincarnation of the previous 13 Dalai Lamas of Tibet the first born more than 640 years ago This Dalai Lama is different from his predecessors though For instance the 13th Dalai Lama was strict and formal and most Tibetans couldnt get close to him except during public blessing ceremonies The 14th Dalai Lama meets often with Tibetans and foreigners and never keeps people at a distance He is among 600 Tibetan Buddhist monks living in Dharamsala in northern India About 7000 of the 24000 who live in this city are Tibetans with the greatest concentration in the village of McLeod Ganjthe seat of Tibets government-in- exile The Chinese occupied Tibet in 1950 For nine years the Dalai Lama tried to negotiate peaceful coexistence with his people and the Chinese When that failed he fled in 1959 to India where he set up Tibets government-in-exile Lhamo Thondup was born July 6 1935 to peasant farmers in Taktser a poor settlement on a hill overlooking a broad valley in northeastern Tibet Buddhist priests from Lhasa Tibets capital came for the boy when he was 2 Omens led them to him from the way the head of the 13th Dalai Lama had turned in his coffin toward the childs village to the vision of the house seen in a lake by a high priest The boy was renamed Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso and raised by monks
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