Tibetan Buddhists believe that the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of his predecessors and that he is a human emanation of the Avalokiteshvara bodhisattva, known for its power of compassion. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th in line to hold that position and is considered the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, who died two years before his birth. The current Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935, into a farming family on the very edge of Tibet. After the death of the previous Dalai Lama, the monks organized a search for the child in which he was to reincarnate. The guideline for their search was that the deceased allegedly miraculously turned his head to the northeast after embalming.
The chief monk had a vision in which he saw what the house of the new Dalai Lama looked like: one-story with specific grooves and paving. According to that description, after a detailed search, the monks found a house in the village of Taktser, and a boy named Lhamo Dondrub in it. He was endowed with relics and toys, and at the age of 15 he was officially recognized as the Dalai Lama. One of the first Westerners the young Dalai Lama met was the Austrian climber Heinrich Harrer, known for writing the book Seven Years in Tibet (played by Brad Pitt in the film of the same name). Harrer taught the Dalai Lama about the world outside of Tibet. In 1959, after the Chinese occupation, the Dalai Lama had to leave Tibet and settle in India. He still lives there today, in the village of McLeodGanj in northern India, where the seat of the Tibetan government in exile is.
He is also the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West where he sought to introduce the world to Buddhism and promote the concept of universal responsibility, ethics, and interreligious communication. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his nonviolent resistance to the Chinese occupation of Tibet.