Dalai Lama (26 June 1876-17 December 1933), spiritual and temporal ruler of 1 ibet. The thirteenth Dalai was known for his economic and political reforms and for trying to establish independence in Tibet.
Born into a peasant family in an isolated district of Tak-po province in southeastern Tibet, the thirteenth Dalai Lama had several brothers, three of them older than he. After being brought to Lhasa at the age of two, he was confirmed there in 1879 without the participation of the Chinese imperial resident [amban] at Lhasa, who traditionally selected the name of the Dalai Lama from an urn, although with the consent of the emperor. The unusual confirmation proved to be a portent of the later relations between Lhasa and the Ch'ing court at Peking, which had established a protectorate over Tibet in the eighteenth century and thereafter had followed a seclusion policy. The Dalai's mother died when he was three years old. His father, Künga Rincheu, lived at Lhasa and, as was customary for the close relatives of a Dalai Lama, received special honor and political positions in the Tibetan government. Throughout the Dalai's minority a regent ruled at Lhasa.
When the time came for the Dalai's enthronement at the age of 18, the regent and his brother, the prime minister, allegedly plotted to remain in power. An oracle revealed a plan to cause the Dalai's death through the use of a magic diagram inserted into the sole of one of a pair of boots that had been given the Dalai. The diagram was designed to invoke the aid of evil spirits to destroy the wearer of the boots. The regent and the prime minister were arrested and imprisoned.
In 1895, at the age of 20, the Dalai Lama assumed power in Tibet as the incarnation of the Bodhisattva Chen-re-zi, the patron deity of Tibet. He was the first Dalai Lama to come to power in the nineteenth century, for his predecessors since 1804 had died before reaching maturity, leaving the regents in power. The Dalai Lama immediately began to establish his authority, facing the problem of competition from such rivals as the Ten-gye-ling lamasery, of which his regent had been head, and the Drepung lamasery.
The bypassing of the prerogatives of the imperial resident at the time of the Dalai Lama's confirmation in 1879 had marked Lhasa's initial challenge to the Ch'ing throne. In 1890 Peking had recognized the British protectorate over the neighboring hill state of Sikkim in a convention providing for the demarcation of the Sikkim-Tibet border. In 1893 a new Sino- British agreement on India-Tibet trade through the Chumbi valley had provided for the opening of a new trading market at Yatung in Tibet. The defeat of China by Japan in 1895, the year of the thirteenth Dalai's ascension to power, led to increasing Tibetan defiance of Peking's suzerainty. The Tibetan government did not acknowledge the validity of the Sino-British arrangements, to which it had not been a party, and repulsed moves by the British to open up the projected trade route and to regularize relations with Tibet.
The Dalai Lama was supported in his defiant position by a Buriat Mongol named Dorje, who also was known as Dorjiev. Dorje was a Russian subject who had gone to Tibet in 1880 and who, after winning theological honors at the Drepung lamasery, had become one of the Dalai's tutors and a trusted adviser. In 1898 Dorje returned to Russia to collect funds for the Lama Buddhist religion. The authorities at St. Petersburg, on learning of his mission, engaged him to act as their agent in Tibet, and Dorje returned to Lhasa well supplied with money and gifts for the powerful lamaseries. He then urged the Dalai Lama to seek the support of Russia. The Dalai sent a mission to St. Petersburg in 1901 to establish contact with the court of Tsar Nicholas II. At that time, as a result of the disastrous Boxer Uprising, the Chinese court had been  forced to flee from Peking, and Manchuria had been occupied by Russian troops. The situation appeared to favor reaUzation of the Dalai Lama's hopes for independence from China. The Ch'ing imperial resident at Lhasa strongly opposed the signing of any treaty between Tibet and Russia, as did the Tibetan Grand Council. Dorje then set about to provoke a crisis in Tibetan-British relations in order to create closer contacts with Russia. British fears of Russian expansion increased, and Lord Curzon, the British Viceroy in India, believed that Russian influence, if established in Tibet, would penetrate the Himalayan hill states and threaten India itself The net result of the Dalai's intransigence, Dorje's scheming, and British suspicion was the dispatching of a British expedition led by Colonel Francis Younghusband and backed by 8,000 troops. That expedition was intended to force the Dalai Lama to comply with the terms of the 1893 Sino-British trade agreement and to forestall anticipated Russian moves.
By March 1904, when the first British-Tibetan engagement was fought on the road to the trade center Gyantse, Russia had become involved in the Russo-Japanese war and, accordingly, paid little attention to the Tibetan situation. At the end of July, as the British forces neared Lhasa, the Dalai Lama, accompanied by Dorje, fled northward to seek refuge in Outer Mongolia. In September 1904 the Tibetan Grand Council was forced by the Younghusband expedition to sign an agreement that, in effect, established a British protectorate. Although the Younghusband convention later was modified, its signature in Lhasa weakened the Dalai Lama's authority. After his flight from Lhasa, the Chinese authorities at Peking invited the ninth Panchen Lama (q.v.) to become regent in Tibet. The Panchen refused, but gave general support to the Ch'ing authorities during the Dalai's absence.
Although his departure from Lhasa had been precipitate, the Dalai Lama nevertheless had traveled in a manner befitting his station. He arrived at Urga (Ulan Bator) in November 1904 with a party of some 700 persons. His host there was the primate of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia, the Living Buddha at Urga, or Jebtsun-damba-hutukhtu. While at Urga, the Dalai communicated through Dorje with the Russian Tsar in an attempt to enlist Russian support for theTibetan independence movement. In 1906 the Dalai Lama left Urga and traveled to Kokonor in northeastern Tibet. There he stayed in Lama Buddhist lamaseries. During his absence from Tibet proper, the Dalai's hopes of obtaining major assistance from Russia against the Chinese and the British gradually diminished. In 1906 the suzerainty of the Chinese court over Tibet. was reasserted and acknowledged in an Anglo-Chinese agreement. In August 1907 Britain and Russia signed a general agreement whereby Russia promised not to interfere in Tibetan political affairs and recognized the British "special interest in the maintenance of the status quo in the external relations of Tibet." Despite these unfavorable developments, the Dalai Lama continued to work for increased independence from China. By an imperial decree of July 1907 he had been invited—actually summoned—to Peking. However, he went instead to the sacred Wu-t'ai mountain in Shansi province, arriving there in the spring of 1908. A Chinese decree of March 1908 announced a program of political reform for Tibet. Nevertheless, the Dalai remained for several months at Wu-t'ai mountain, where he was visited occasionally by diplomats from Peking. He finally arrived at the capital on 20 September 1908 and had an audience with the emperor and the empress dowager in mid- October, just a month before the two Ch'ing rulers died. The attitude of the Chinese court was indicated by the new title bestowed upon the Dalai Lama, "The Sincerely Obedient, Reincarnation-Helping, Most Excellent, Self- Existing Buddha of the West." The Dalai himself, however, had no intention of confirming his subservience by accepting the title. At Peking, he was visited by various foreign diplomats, notably the Russian, British, American, and Japanese envoys. In his meeting with Sir John Jordan, the British minister, the Dalai Lama expressed a desire for peace and friendship between Tibet and India. Since Sir John's response appeared to off"er substantial satisfaction, the Dalai turned toward Britain in the hope of obtaining support against China. The visit of the Dalai Lama to Peking in 1908 was described in detail by W. W. Rockhill, the American minister, in an article, "The Dalai Lamas of Lhasa," which appeared in the sinological journal T'oung Pao in 1910. The Dalai Lama left Peking for Lhasa on 21 December 1908. In the meantime, Peking had sent military forces to Tibet. The Chinese general Chao Erh-feng (T. Chi-ho; d. 1911), the brother of Chao Erh-sun (q.v.), had established a base for an advance into Eastern Tibet by conquering Batang in 1906. In 1909, as the Dalai Lama's party traveled westward across China, the Chinese army drove deeper into Tibet. The Dalai Lama reached Lhasa in December 1909. Chao Erh-feng and the Chinese army arrived about a month later. As the Chinese troops neared the holy city, the Dalai negotiated an understanding with the Ch'ing authorities through Wen Tsung-yao, the imperial resident's assistant. Because he was apprehensive about Chinese intentions, however, he decided to flee from his capital a second time. He left Lhasa on 12 February 1910, accompanied by Dorje. After the Dalai's flight, the Chinese imperial government at Peking issued an edict on 25 February 1910 deposing him as ruler of Tibet. Once again Peking invited the Panchen Lama to assume the Dalai's powers, but the Panchen refused.
The Dalai Lama's party moved toward India, making its way first to Darjeeling in Sikkim. Charles A. Bell, the British official in charge of the relations of the government of India with Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet, met with him. The Dalai explained that he had come to seek the assistance of the British government against the Chinese. In March 1910 he went to Calcutta, where he talked with Lord Minto, the Viceroy of India, about the potential Chinese threat, through Tibet, to the Himalayan border states on India's northern frontier. But the Anglo- Chinese treaty of 1906 had acknowledged that Tibet was part of China, and the 1907 Anglo- Russian convention called for mutual abstention from interference in Tibetan affairs. The British policy of that period was, in effect, to admit virtually complete Chinese control over Tibet but to insist that the British would not permit Chinese interference in Nepal, Sikkim, or Bhutan. Throughout the period of over two years that the Dalai Lama and his government in exile remained on the Indian-Tibetan frontier, Charles Bell maintained friendly relations with him, and they frequently had private conversations.
Because he failed to obtain positive assistance from the British, the Dalai Lama turned to Nepal for aid. He also appealed to Russia again, only to have the reply transmitted, much to his discomfiture, through the British government in India. The Russian reply was as noncommittal as the British and Nepalese responses had been. The Chinese revolution that began in October 1911 caused the newly asserted Chinese control over Tibet to collapse. The Chinese military garrison at Lhasa revolted, killed its officers, and turned to looting the city. After the overthrow of the Ch'ing dynasty, the Dalai left Kalimpong in June 1912 to return to Tibet. He was unable to enter Lhasa, however, because Chinese troops still occupied the city. In July 1912 Yuan Shih-k'ai's government at Peking ordered a new expedition from Szechwan for the relief of the Lhasa garrison troops. It was only through British intervention at Peking that the Chinese occupation of Tibet was terminated and that Chinese forces were repatriated through India. The Dalai Lama finally returned to Lhasa in January 1913. In the preceding nine years he had spent only two months in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama was determined to eliminate Chinese authority from Tibet. In July 1912 he had sent Dorje back to Urga to negotiate a treaty with Outer Mongolia. In January 1913 he concluded a treaty with the Living Buddha at Urga which recognized the independence of their respective states. At Lhasa, the Dalai declared the independence of his country, justifying his action in part by saying that China was unable to protect Tibet from foreign aggression. When Yuan Shih-k'ai informed him that the Chinese government had restored his title, the Dalai replied that he desired no rank from the Chinese government, for he planned to exercise both ecclesiastical and temporal authority in Tibet. The new Chinese high commissioner to Tibet, appointed in 1913, was unable to reach Lhasa and remained in India. The Dalai Lama issued all titles in Tibet on his own authority; formerly, they had been granted only with the sanction of the Chinese emperor. He also began to sound out the opinion of his people on the advisability of Tibet's making a new place for itself in the international community. Peking then endeavored to assert its authority by occupying part of Eastern Tibet. To stabilize the situation and to obtain confirmation of its own interest in the status of Tibet, the British government in 1913 convened the Simla Conference, attended by British, Chinese, and Tibetan representatives. At that conference, the Dalai's representative pressed, for the de facto independence of Tibet and the restoration of its original boundaries. By the Simla Convention, as agreed upon and initialed by all three delegates in April 1914, Tibet was divided into two entities. Inner (or Eastern) Tibet and Outer Tibet, with the latter to enjoy full autonomy. Balking at the way the boundaries were drawn and rejecting the grant of autonomy, Peking repudiated its plenipotentiary representative and refused to acknowledge the validity of the convention. Great Britain and Tibet, however, recognized it as binding.
The Dalai Lama also attempted to centralize control over domestic affairs. He began to bypass the consultative assembly at Lhasa on the grounds that that body was obstructive. He improved the efficiency of governmental administration, abolished (for a time) the death penalty as being contrary to the precepts of Buddhism, and undertook measures to improve the government's financial condition. The Dalai gradually reduced the authority of the three great lamaseries of Tibet in the affairs of government. He now claimed sole right to bestow titles, which entailed grants of land, and changed the nature of those titles. They had been hereditary, but he now granted them for the life of the holder only. As supreme ruler of Tibet, he appointed all officials and heads of lamaseries. Recalcitrant ecclesiastics were subjected to heavy fines and to religious sanctions. In fiscal matters, the privileges of the lamaseries, as well as those of the Tibetan nobility, were reduced. Some of the increased tax revenues were used for military development. Near the end of 1917, the Chinese attacked in Eastern Tibet. The Tibetans on that occasion overwhelmingly defeated the Chinese and drove them out of territory they had held previously. The Dalai then proposed that additional troops be recruited yearly and that the Tibetan army be increased by 11,000 men to a total strength of 17,000. His plan was adopted.
The Chinese soon renewed their attempts to restore the relationship between China and Tibet that had existed during the Ch'ing dynasty. To that end they sent missions to Lhasa in 1919 and 1920. Those missions failed, largely, it would appear, because of the support extended by the British to the Dalai's government at that time. In the autumn of 1920 the British government, in response to requests from the Dalai Lama and his government, sent a diplomatic mission to Lhasa, the first from any Western nation. The mission was headed by Charles Bell, and it remained in Lhasa for 1 1 months. Bell renewed his friendship with the Dalai Lama and expressed the aim of British poUcy: that Tibet should enjoy internal autonomy and that her freedom would constitute the best defensive buffer to the security of India.
In the early 1920's a schism developed between the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. Because of their exalted natures, they had rarely met. The Dalai had not forgotten that on two occasions, in 1904 and 1910, the Chinese government had invited the Panchen to assume his authority. Although the Panchen had refused both invitations, the overtures had focused attention on him as a possible competitor for authority in Tibet. After the Dalai had returned to Lhasa in January 1913, he had criticized the Panchen for having collaborated with the Chinese during his absence and for having been less than energetic in attempting to oust them from Lhasa after the revolution of 1911. The Dalai Lama was categorically anti- Chinese; he was willing to be either pro- British or pro-Russian for the benefit of Tibet. The Panchen, though opposed to the internal policies of the government at Lhasa, was not actively pro-Chinese. The competition between the Dalai and the Panchen was complicated by the problem of the Dalai's right to collect taxes in the areas controlled by the Tashi- Ihunpo lamasery at Shigatse, which was under the jurisdiction of the Panchen. Thus, the Dalai's search for new tax sources to support his programs brought him into conflict with the Panchen Lama, and his efforts to create a regular Tibetan army were opposed by some of his co-religionists. The Dalai's demand that the Panchen pay a large amount of money and grain allegedly owed as taxes caused the Panchen to flee from Tibet in disguise in November 1923. When he arrived at Peking early in 1925, the Chinese authorities welcomed him and promptly undertook to groom him as their candidate for ruler of Tibet. Although the Dalai at various times entertained the idea of permitting the Panchen to return to Tibet, domestic pohtical considerations in Tibet overruled that plan. By 1925 the weaknesses of the Dalai Lama's eclectic foreign policy had become evident. He had followed a policy of playing one power against another to buttress Tibet's independent status, and he had never been able to establish a cohesive network of international relations. The Dalai began to reorient Tibetan policy away from Britain and toward China. He appointed an anti-British officer as commander of the army, and British influence at Lhasa declined sharply. There were also reports of Mongol visitors to Lhasa in 1927 and 1928 who were identified by the British as Soviet agents. In 1928 the Panchen Lama sent a delegation to Nanking to pay his respects and to request that the new Chinese authorities take full charge of Tibetan affairs. In 1930 there was a noncommittal exchange of amenities between Nanking and Lhasa through Liu Man-ch'ing, a 23year-old girl, half Chinese and half Tibetan, who served as an interpreter in the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs. On his return to Tibet in 1930, Kung-chueh-chung-ni, a Tibetan lama who had been sent from Lhasa in 1922 to serve at the Yung-ho-kung, or Lama Temple, at Peking, carried with him eight questions from the National Government at Nanking which were designed to elicit the Dalai's terms for reconciliation. The Dalai set forth his proposals, which envisaged a return to the traditional suzerain-vassal relationship, with Tibetan autonomy recognized and Tibet's traditional frontiers restored.
After that exchange, the Dalai Lama sent a representative to Nanking. The National Government, in turn, sent a mission to Lhasa in 1931 with specific proposals for the restoration of "close relations" between Tibet and China. Only one day's march from Lhasa, the Nationalist envoy, Hsieh Kuo-liang, suddenly died. Meanwhile, a new problem had complicated the delicate matter of establishing relations between Lhasa and Nanking. This was the so-called Ta-chin-ssu afTair of 1930, a clash between Tibetan lamas and Chinese soldiers at Kantze in Eastern Tibet. It developed into a protracted struggle between the Tibetans and the forces of the Chinese commander in the area, Liu Wen-hui (q.v.), with Lhasa sending reinforcements to help sustain the Tibetan position. In 1932 and 1933 ceasefire agreements finally were concluded between Lhasa and those two areas of Eastern Tibet which the Chinese National Government had made into the provinces of Sikang and Tsinghai. The Dalai Lama's health had been weakened by an arduous work schedule, the hardships he had suffered during two extended exiles, and the lack of medical facilities in Tibet. In 1931 the Ne-chung oracle had predicted his early death. He died on 17 December 1933 at Lhasa. His death occurred on the last day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar, an evil omen by Tibetan reckoning. In January 1934 the Ra-dreng Hutukhtu, the head of the Ra-dreng lamasery, became regent of Tibet. Immediately after his election, he sent a message to Nanking which not only reported the change of authority but also requested the National Government's confirmation of his appointment. This was the first time since the Chinese revolution of 191 1 that an appointment in Tibet had been referred to the Chinese government. Without delay, Nanking granted its confirmation.
The thirteenth incarnation was one of the few Dalai Lamas to exercise real personal authority in Tibet. In this respect, he has been compared to the great fifth Dalai Lama, Lo-zang gya-tso (1617-82j, who ruled before the consolidation of Chinese power over the country in the eighteenth century. Despite notable domestic and international difficulties, the thirteenth Dalai succeeded, with the indirect aid of the Chinese revolution in 1911, in eliminating Chinese influence from Tibet for a period and in bringing de facto independence to his land.
The fourteenth incarnation of the Dalai Lama succeeded the thirteenth, but he fled into exile in 1959. The thirteenth Dalai Lama may prove to have been the last incarnation of the patron diety of Tibet to reign over that land. He has been sympathetically described by Charles A. Bell, who retired from government service after heading the British mission at Lhasa in 1920-21. Bell (by then Sir Charles Bell) dedicated his book Tibet Past and Present (1924) to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Sir Charles completed his later Portrait of the Dalai Lama a few days before his own death, and that work was published in 1946. Demchukdonggrub Chinese. Te Wang ^ ^