Dalai Lama, My son
A Mother’s Story, by Diki Tsering
Edited and introduced by Khedroob Thondup
Diki is the given name of the Dalai Lamas mother.
She had an extremely hard life, bearing sixteen children and losing almost half. She learned to control her feelings.
She was also highly superstitious and gave credence to dreams for direction in everyday life. She believed in ghosts and visions of mythical animals.
She said that she was “a daughter of peasants”, but that did not mean she was poor. Her clan owned various properties and had 600 horses by the time she went to Lhasa. They also hired servants and seasonal workers. She could not read or write, and never learned English, so this story is filtered through her children’s accounts.
Men ruled clan life, and women were highly restricted in their manner of dress, mourning rituals, and travel.
She admits that she was warned about eating only food that had been prepared in her own kitchen, and believed that her husband was poisoned for political purposes when visiting one of his farms.
All the origin stories of the process of choosing the next Dalai Lama have not exactly matched up. Several of her children wrote books too, and they have different details according to whomever they interviewed.
Diki related that she was told that her 3 year old son was the choice even though he was among 16 and then 3 boys to be “tested.”
The Dalai Lama himself states that he does not remember anything from that time. I have mentioned in other essays how this choice was managed, and it was based on the fact that an older brother had already gone into a monastery and was ready to be a companion to the younger brother while he was raised and taught by the ruling monks. This story was a public relation hodgepodge, and needs much more transparency. It does not inspire me to give credit to any “supernatural” forces in finding the 14th Dalai Lama.