But the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso (1876-1933), was a true temporal and spiritual leader who guided his people through a firestorm of challenges to the survival of Tibet. In Central Asian Buddhist countries, it has been widely believed for the last millennium that Avalokiteśvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, has a special relationship with the people of Tibet and intervenes in their fate by incarnating as benevolent rulers and teachers such as the Dalai Lamas. Having successfully completed the traditional course of religious studies, he began the academic Buddhist degree of Geshey Lharampa (the highest level of 'Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy'). Agvan Dorzhiev (1854–1938), a Khori-Buryat Mongol, and a Russian subject, was born in the village of Khara-Shibir, not far from Ulan Ude, to the east of Lake Baikal. The events of the Great Thirteenth's reign are critical to understanding today's controversy over Tibet's occupation by China. He left home in 1873 at age 19 to study at the Gelugpa monastery, Drepung, near Lhasa, the largest monastery in Tibet. This is according to The Book of Kadam, the main text of the Kadampa school, to which the 1st Dalai Lama, Gendun Drup, first belonged. He continued his studies to become … In fact, this text is said to have laid the foundation for the Tibetans' later identification of the …