The 11th Dalai Lama

By Christian Schmidt

1838_____Lobsang Kedrub Gyatso, the 11th Dalai Lama, is born. The Tibetan regent, Samadhi Bakshi, is in no hurry to find the reincarnation. Without a successor, after all, his position is secure, and he can have himself borne about the streets in a litter with baldachin, a signal honour reserved ordinarily for the Dalai Lama or Panchen Lama, the country’s two highest dignitaries. His regency is characterised by corruption and ill-won privilege.
When the 11th Dalai Lama is found, he is already a child of three. He comes from a poor family on the border between Kham and Szechuan, where his father earns the family’s bread by gathering manure. Such a provenance is unusual for the Dalai Lama, whose reincarnation typically derives from some branch of the nobility

1842_____At the age of four, Kedrub Gyatso, “Ocean of Wisdom and Spiritual Perfection”, ascends the throne. He officially takes over government business at the tender age of seven, but his life (once again to be cut short) is marred by struggles both domestic and international. The people finally rise up against the Tibetan regent and the Chinese governor, both equally (and flagrantly) corrupt, and the Tibetan abbots are forced to sue for aid from the Emperor in Beijing. The Emperor sends a new governor, and the regent is arrested.