Home / General Information / List of Monarch Reigns / Tibet / ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ (Thupten Gyatso, 13th Dalai Lama)

Information about reign: ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ (Thupten Gyatso, 13th Dalai Lama)

CountryTibet
From13 July 1879
To17 December 1933
Personal InformationThupten Gyatso, 13th Dalai Lama (1876 - 1933)
Description

Thupten Gyatso, or Thubten Gyatso (Tibetan: ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་, Wylie: Thub Bstan Rgya Mtsho) was the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Thupten Gyatso, was born in the Fire Mouse year of 1876 at Langdun in Dagpo, central Thakpo Tibet to Kunga Rinchen and Lobsang Dolma, a peasant couple.

In 1877, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 12th Dalai Lama following predictions from the State Oracle Nechung and other auspicious signs at his birthplace. He was then escorted to Lhasa. In 1878 the Eighth Panchen Lama, Tenpai Wangchuk, performed the hair-cutting ceremony and gave him the name Ngawang Lobsang Thupten Gyatso Jigdral Chokley Namgyal. In 1879, he was enthroned in the Grand Reception Hall at the Potala Palace. Later that year, he received the Upasaka (Tib.: ge-nyen) vows from the Regent Tatsak Rinpoche, Ngawang Palden Yeshi. In 1882, at age six, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was formally ordained as a novice monk (Tib.: ge-tsul) by the same Regent.

And in 1895 he took the full monk ordination (Tib.: ge-long) from his tutor, Phurchok Ngawang Jampa Rinpoche, in the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, who served as both the Preceptor and Procedural Master of the ceremony. Phurbuchok was assisted by many eminent Buddhist masters of Tibet at that time, including Ling Rinpoche Lobsang Lungtok Tenzn Thinley and the Gaden Throne Holder, who served as the Secret Inquiry Master and so forth required by the ordination ceremony. On 27 September 1895 he finally assumed the political and spiritual authority of Tibet and was thrown into the thick of the Great Game played out by Czarist Russia and British India on the fringes of their sprawling empires. He went through the British invasion of Tibet in 1904 and the Chinese invasion of his country in 1909/10 but survived the ordeals of both experiences, with his authority enormously enhanced.

When the news spread in 1910 that Lu Chan, a Chinese General of the Manchu force, arrived in Lhasa, the Dalai Lama and some of the most important officials fled Lhasa and headed to India. The group crossed Dromo and held a negotiation with the Chinese invaders at the Jelep-la Pass, which separates Tibet and Sikkim.

In 1911, the Manchu Dynasty was overthrown and the Tibetans took this opportunity to expel the remnant Manchu forces from Tibet. The Dalai Lama returned to Tibet and went on to exercise an unprecedented political authority not seen since the reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Besides attempting to modernize Tibet, the Dalai Lama also tried to eliminate some of the more oppressive features of the Tibetan monastic system. During his exile in India, the Dalai Lama was fascinated by the modern world and he introduced the first Tibetan currency notes and coins. On 13 February 1913, he made public the five-point statement reasserting Tibet's Independence. Also, in 1913 he established the first post office in Tibet and sent four young Tibetans to study engineering in England.

In 1914, he strengthened Tibet's military force by organizing special training for the Tibetan army. In 1917 he established the Men-Tsee-Khang (Tibetan Medical and Astrology Institute) in Lhasa to preserve the unique traditional Tibetan medical and astrological systems. For that reason, he selected about a hundred young and intelligent students to train in Men-Tse-Khang. In 1923, he established a Police Headquarter in Lhasa for the security and welfare of the Tibetan people. In the same year he established the first English school of Tibet in Gyaltse. Sadly, he died in 1933 at the age of fifty-eight before accomplishing his goal for Tibet's modernization.

ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ (Thupten Gyatso, 13th Dalai Lama): Some useful external links
Short Biographies of the Previous Dalai Lamas Wikipedia: 13th Dalai Lama