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The Buddha Tree

13th Dalai Lama
Thupten Gyatso (1876-1933)
    He is the he second of the "Great" Dalai Lamas (after the Fifth), so designated because he held Tibet intact through tumultuous times. In 1904, British troops from India invaded Tibet, intent on preventing any further strategic advances from Czarist Russia. When Thupten Gyatso fled to Mongolia, the Chinese government unsuccessfully tried to depose him. He returned to Tibet, only to flee to India in the face of advancing Chinese troops, intent on deposing him. The Dalai Lama appealed to the British to help prevent China from turning Tibet into a Chinese state, but Britain remained neutral. In 1911, Imperial China fell to a rebellion, and Chinese military influence in Tibet virtually disappeared.

    Thupten Gyatso instituted modernizations in Tibet, such as a postal system, paper currency, roads, and he built the country's first power station. He is credited with revitalizing the institution of the Dalai Lama through his forceful character and political insight, and with trying to end Tibet's centuries of isolation. Still, many of his reforms and initiatives met with crippling resistance from the conservative monastic establishment. In a famous final testament he foresaw the loss of Tibetan sovereignty to China.


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