His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama


President's Medal for Excellence (1996)
Dalai Lama Visit
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Myles Brand


The 14th Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935, in the Tibetan village of Taktser. In accordance with tradition, he was recognized at age two as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama. The dalai lamas are manifestations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, called Chenrezig, who chose to reincarnate to serve humankind. The name "dalai lama" is a combination of Tibetan and Mongolian terms meaning "Ocean of Wisdom."

The winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, the Dalai Lama has been recognized worldwide for his message of compassion and tolerance, his promotion of human values and inter-religious understanding, and his focus on peace through non-violent conflict resolution. On Oct. 17, 2007, he received the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his contributions to peace, nonviolence, human rights and religious understanding.

The Dalai Lama is the younger brother of Professor Thubten Jigme Norbu, the founding professor of Bloomington's Tibetan Cultural Center. His Holiness has made regular visits to the Tibetan communities in Bloomington since 1987. He was honored as a recipient of the President's Medal for excellence in 1996. In 2007, the Dalai Lama expanded the center's mission; it is now the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center. The Temple has been designated Kumbum West, acknowledging its connection with an important monastery in Xining.