Becoming the Dalai LamaTenzin began his religious education at age 6. His schooling consisted of logic, Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine and Buddhist philosophy, which is divided into five other categories dealing with the perfection of wisdom, monastic discipline, metaphysics, logic and epistemology—the study of knowledge. At age 11, Tenzin met Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer, who became one of his tutors, teaching him about the outside world. The two remained friends until Harrer's death in 2006.
In 1950, at the age of 15, Tenzin assumed full political power as the Dalai Lama. However, his governorship was short. In October of that year, the People's Republic of China invaded Tibet against little resistance. In 1954, the Dalai Lama went to Beijing for peace talks with Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders. However, in 1959, continued suppression of the Tibetan people by Chinese troops led to their uprising. The Dalai Lama and his closest advisers believed the Chinese government was planning to assassinate him. Consequently, he and several thousand followers fled to Dharamshala in northern India and established an alternative government there.
At the time, the People's Republic of China considered the Dalai Lama to be a symbol of an obsolete religious movement, not in line with communist philosophy. More recently, the Chinese government alleges that he is a separatist and a traitor for advocating Tibetan self-rule, and a terrorist for inciting Tibetan rebellion.