Dalai Lama with Barack Obama

The Dalai Lama speaks with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Pete Souza/The White House)

The 14th and current Dalai Lama, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, celebrates his 79th birthday on July 6 — well, that's his 79th year as far as this lifetime is concerned!

The Dalai Lama line, which dates back to 1391, is said to consist of the same spiritual being reincarnated over many generations. Taking into account past lives, that would make the highest spiritual and political leader in the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism about 623 years old!

Since the 17th century, the revered religious figure has overseen the Tibetan government from the city of Lhasa. After Tibet was taken over by China in 1959, the current Dalai Lama was forced to flee to Dharamsala, India, where the Tibetan government-in-exile is now run.

While India remains his home base, the Dalai Lama has traveled extensively around the world. Here are just a few of the intriguing people he has met along the way.

Dalai Lama with Lupita Nyong'o, Eva Longoria and Jeremy Renner

Photo: Chris Weeks/Getty Images for The Lourdes Foundation

The Dalai Lama with Lupita Nyong'o, Jeremy Renner and Eva Longoria at an event at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California.

Dalai Lama with Steve Irwin's family

Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama poses for a photo with the family of the late Steve Irwin — Terri, Bindi and Bob.

Dalai Lama with Desmond Tutu

Photo: Mark Renders/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama whispers into the ear of Archbishop Desmond Tutu while visiting Brussels, Belgium.

Dalai Lama and Prince Charles

Photo: Gareth Cattermole - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Charles poses for a photo with the Dalai Lama at the Clarence House in London.

Dalai Lama with Pope John Paul

Photo: Vatican Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama sits with the late Pope John Paul II as the pair look through His Holiness' book "Opening The Eye Of New Awareness."

Dalai Lama with Sharon Stone

Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama and actress Sharon Stone greet each other at a speaking engagement in Los Angeles, California.

Dalai Lama with Aung San Suu Kyi

Photo: Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama walks with Burmese opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi prior to a meeting in Prague.

Dalai Lama with Richard Gere

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama greets U.S. actor Richard Gere at a speaking engagement in Long Beach, California.

Dalai Lama with Hillary Clinton

Photo: U.S. Department of State

The Dalai Lama meets with U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C.

Dalai Lama with Russell Brand

Photo: Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama takes the stage with Russell Brand at a youth speaking event in Manchester, England.

Dalai Lama with Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama speaks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Speaker of the House John Boehner during a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Dalai Lama with Carla Bruni

Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama and Carla Bruni, wife of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, attend the inauguration of a Buddhist temple in Roqueredonde, France.

Dalai Lama with George W. Bush

Photo: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama arrives with former U.S. President George W. Bush at an awards ceremony where the spiritual leader was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.