The 12th Dalai Lama

By Christian Schmidt

1856_____Ngawang Lobsang Trinle Gyatso, the 12th Dalai Lama, is born in the Southern Tibetan village of Öl-ga. He is from a background as modest as that of his predecessor, Kedrub Gyatso, who is said during an audience to have pointed out the 12th Dalai Lama’s mother and declared that she would bear his successor. Not much is known about Trinle Gyatso’s life. At the age of four he is enthroned as the “Ocean of Mediation”, while Potala Palace once again provides the soil for a new crop of cabals. The reigning regent is forced to flee following a compulsory tax increase and poisons himself en route so as not to fall into the hands of Tibetan soldiers.

1875_____The 12th Dalai Lama, having taken over secular power in Tibet at the age of 15, dies a mere two years later. The office of the Dalai Lama has at this point lost nearly all of its political power, with four of its occupants in a row barely reaching the age of maturity (the eldest grows to be no more than 21).