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His Holiness the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and former head of state. He was born Lhamo Dhondrub on July 6, 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with the Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus the incarnation of Avalokiteshavara (Chenrezig), the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The Dalai Lamas are considered the manifestation of the Chenrezig, who chose to reincarnate to serve the people. Despite his many degrees and international recognition (including the Nobel Peace Prize), His Holiness often says, "I am just a simple Buddhist monk - no more, no less."