He was born this day in 1935, the fifth of 16 children, nine of whom survived to adulthood. He has spent five of his seven decades as Tibetan Buddhism’s spiritual leader outside his homeland.
China invaded Tibet in 1950. The Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet in 1959 during the March 10 uprising, in which followers gathered outside his palace to prevent the People’s Liberation Army from kidnapping him. The Dalai Lama fled the country to avoid potential violence.
Currently, the Dalai Lama’s envoys are in China seeking a diplomatic resolution to the Tibetan conflict.