His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, who is the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet and a Buddhist leader, has greatly influenced the world despite dropping leverage as a political leader.
The Dalai Lama's political power was expected to drop after he left his position as prime minister of Tibet and was replaced with Lobsang Sangay, a Harvard legal scholar. However, the Dalai Lama continues to hold influence in the Tibetan movement and around the world. Here in Minnesota, he's made several visits to speak to students about well-being and spirituality.
The Dalai Lama had anything but a regular childhood. He was chosen as the Dalai Lama at the age of 2 and spent the rest of his life educated by monks. At 15, the Dalai Lama assumed power of the state while the People's Liberation Army of China invaded Tibet in 1950, and he later fled to India.
The Dalai Lama is known to live by peace simplicity. When he visited the University of Minnesota, he told students "The ultimate source of suffering is within ourself. Our mental attitude really makes a difference."
Conflict with China has been ongoing with the Dalai Lama. Most recently, a state-run Chinese website has accused him of "Nazi" racial policies and of inciting Tibetans to set themselves on fire," according to the Associated Press article on Newsday.com. These reactions referenced the wide-spread Tibetan protests in Southwest China, which included instances of self-immolation that the Dalai Lama attributes to the "cultural genocide" of Tibetans under strict control by Bejing.
The Dalai Lama continues to travel and spread his knowledge, political advocacy of the Tibetan cause, Buddhist spirituality, and advice to many.