Beijing: Two former residences of the sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso, the 16th century Tibetan monk, have been found in Tibet in an area bordering India and Bhutan, a discovery that will shed new light on his life and death which continues to be a mystery.
The buildings are in Shannan Prefecture, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today. According to Pasang Norbu, former vice president of the Tibet regional academy of social sciences, Gyatso was born in 1683 and lived in the city of Tsona Dzong before moving to the Potala Palace in 1697.
The present Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso is 14th in the long succession chain of Dalai Lamas, the highest monk of Tibetan Buddhism.
Before Gyatso was declared "soul boy", the reincarnation of the fifth Dalai Lama, he lived with his family in a two-storey wood and stone building in downtown Tsona Dzong.
The building has been privately owned since China took control of Tibet in 1959. In the following decades however, it has fallen into disrepair.
The government has added it to the regional heritage list. The second building is in a village where, at the age of three, Gyatso moved after he was designated "soul boy" in 1686.
The building is larger and in better condition than the first. "In that building Gyatso began learning literature and the basic theory of Buddhism," Norbu said, adding the discovery "will help us learn about his life".
A famous poet, Tsangyang Gyatso is among the best-known Tibetans in China. His love poems show his ambivalence between religious and secular lives.
Gyatso was regarded a victim of political struggle. He was deposed by the Qing emperor with his end remaining a mystery.
Some historians believe that he died, or was murdered, on the way to Beijing after being arrested, but there are anecdotes that he escaped and lived in freedom thereafter, Xinhua said.