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Lions Roar : July 2017
THE BOY WHO WOULD BECOME the Fourteenth Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935, in a remote village in the Amdo province of northeastern Tibet. His mother, Diki Tsering, bore sixteen children in her lifetime, nine of whom died in infancy. The little boy, named Lhamo Thondup, was the fifth of the seven surviving children. His eighteen-year-old sister helped deliver him. A Child is Recognized 1935–1940 The boy’s family farmed buckwheat and barley and raised livestock on a weather-beaten hill overlooking a wide valley. The closest town was a three-hour mule ride away. Their six-room house was made of stone and earth, with gutters of hollowed-out juniper, and as a tod- dler Lhamo Thondup slept in the kitchen, near the stove. He would go with his mother to milk the animals and she would squirt warm milk directly into his bowl. He liked to pretend he was embarking on a long journey to Central Tibet. “Never for an instant would we have considered ourselves as poor,” the Dalai Lama’s elder brother Thubten Jigme Norbu (Taktser Rinpoche) recalled in Tibet: Its History, Religion, and People. “We were just aware of being happy, both as family members and as villagers.” The infant Dalai Lama with his mother, Diki Tsering; father, Choekyong Tsering; and elder brother, Gyalo Thondup. Chinese warlord Ma Bufang (third from right) held the child Dalai Lama for ransom before allowing his departure for Lhasa. The death of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1933 triggered the search for his successor. His official enthronement as the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet on February 22, 1940, in Lhasa. PHOTOSCOURTESYOFTHELIVINGHISTORYPROJECT(TOPRIGHT)ANDTHEOFFICEOFH.H.THEDALAILAMA LION’S ROAR | JULY 2017 58