Spiritual Teachers Month is observed annually throughout February. It recognizes the role of spiritual teachers in people’s lives and their impact on society — a role which has recently been occupied by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. The holiday spreads awareness that spiritual teachers are individuals who inspire and help bring out the best in people. It also shows that these teachers occupy various societal roles, including championing social causes, acting as pacifiers and peace brokers, and providing motivation and inspiration.
History of Spiritual Teachers Month
The 14th Dalai Lama was born as Lhamo Thondup on July 6, 1935, to a farming family in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the age of two, he and two of his siblings were identified as the reincarnation of the Rinpoches. He was believed to be the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama and consequently renamed Tenzin Gyatso. His eldest brother, Thupten Jigme Norbu, and his fifth brother, Tendzin Choegyal, were recognized as the reincarnation of the high Lama and 16th Ngari Rinpoche.
In 1941, Tenzin Gyatso began his monastic education at the age of six. His schooling consisted of logic, fine arts, Sanskrit grammar, medicine, and Buddhist philosophy. Throughout his education, he had various tutors, including Rating Rinpoche, Tathag Rinpoche, Ling Rinpoche, and Trijang Rinpoche. When he was 11, the 14th Dalai Lama met the Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, who educated him about the world. They remained friends until Harrer died in 2006.
In 1950, following China’s invasion of Tibet, Tenzin assumed full political power as the ruler of Tibet. In 1954, the Dalai Lama went to Beijing to meet Mao Zedong and as a delegate for the first session of the National People’s Congress. At the conference, he was elected as a vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. However, in 1959, due to the Tibetan uprising and fear for his life, the Dalai Lama and his followers fled to Dharamshala in northern India. He later founded the Tibetan government in exile and undertook trips around the world, campaigning for Tibetan rights and freedom.
Spiritual Teachers Month timeline
Tenzin Gyatso is born as Lhamo Thondup to a farming family on July 6.
The 13th Dalai Lama identifies Lhamo Thondup at the age of two as his reincarnation.
Gyatso assumes full political power, becoming the 14th Dalai Lama.
Fearing for his life, the 14th Dalai Lama and his followers flee to Dharamshala in northern India.
Spiritual Teachers Month FAQs
Who are the most popular spiritual teachers in the world?
Some of the most popular spiritual teachers around the globe include Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Paulo Coelho, the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, and James Redfield.
How do you honor spiritual teachers?
Honoring a beloved spiritual teacher can be done in several ways: you can support them financially or materially, follow their advice and teachings, show them love, or pray for them.
Who is the greatest spiritual teacher?
Many people consider Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, the greatest spiritual teacher.
How to Observe Spiritual Teachers Month
Listen to audio teachings
Many spiritual teachers regularly record their teachings in audio format. If you have a favorite spiritual teacher, you can get their existing audio teaching collection and use Spiritual Teachers Month to listen to them. You can find these teachings on their official websites, YouTube, or e-commerce stores like Amazon.
Buy spiritual books
Aside from providing wisdom to followers, spiritual books are a way for spiritual teachers to support themselves and their works. You can celebrate your beloved spiritual teacher during Spiritual Teachers Month by buying their latest books or gifting one of their books to a loved one, a friend, or an acquaintance.
Attend a spiritual seminar
Another way to celebrate Spiritual Teachers Month is to attend a spiritual seminar given by one of the spiritual teachers you're following. Check their official websites and social media accounts, or search online to find when they’re holding the events.
5 Unique Facts About The Dalai Lama
A Nobel Peace Prize winner
The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for advocating non-violent means to free Tibet from China.
Spent decades in exile
The Dalai Lama has been in exile for over 60 years.
The first of his kind
The 14th Dalai Lama is the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West, including the United States.
A spiritual manifestation
The followers of the Dalai Lama believe he's the manifestation of ‘Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara,’ the ‘Buddha of compassion.’
An ocean of wisdom
The English translation of ‘Dalai Lama’ is the ‘Ocean of Wisdom.’
Why Spiritual Teachers Month is Important
Spiritual teachers act as life guides
Spiritual teachers help people manage the challenges of life. They offer motivation and increase people’s capacity to leverage their inner strength to overcome life's major issues.
Spiritual teachers help people discover their purpose
A spiritual teacher is one of the few individuals people seek to understand their life's purpose. Spiritual teachers don't offer straight answers but guide people through a series of activities or steps to obtain their answers themselves.
Spiritual teachers help people achieve spiritual oneness
Spiritual teachers are individuals who have walked the path of enlightenment and attained it. Their achievement provides them with the experience to help seekers or explorers walk the same path, become one with their inner selves, or achieve oneness with the Supreme Being.
Spiritual Teachers Month dates