The Dalai Lama belongs to the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The current and 14th Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso. Every other Buddhist sect in Tibet recognises the Dalai Lama as the religious and political leader of all Tibet. The Panchen Lama is second in religious status to the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is often thought to be the head of the Gelug, but this position is held by the Ganden Tripa (Holder of the Throne of Ganden, the first monastery established by Lama Je Tsong Khapa, founder of the Gelug). The Dalai Lama has been ruler of Tibet and Head of State from when the Gelugpas began to control the country (the mid-17th century until 1959, when the Dalai Lama had to flee to India).
Dalai means "Ocean" in Mongolian, and "Lama" is Tibetan for high reincarnation. The title refers to the extent of the lama's wisdom; it was first bestowed by the Mongolian ruler Altan Khan upon the 3rd Dalai Lama and is now applied to every incarnation in the lineage. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, whose name is Chenrezig in Tibetan.
The Tibetans name the Dalai Lama Gyawa Rinpoche meaning great protector, or Yizhin Norbu meaning the joy fulfilling jewel.
Upon the death of the Dalai Lama, his monks institute a search for the Lama's reincarnation, or tulku, who is usually a small child. Familiarity with the possessions of the previous Dalai Lama is considered the main sign of the reincarnation. The search for the reincarnation typically requires a few years which results in a gap in the list of the Dalai Lamas. The reincarnation is then brought to a monastery to be trained by the other Lamas. The process is not always peaceful; at times rival groups of lamas each "discover" a child and claim it is the true reincarnation. This has historically turned into political struggle to decide who is the real Dalai Lama, in a manner analogous to the Pope and Antipope conflicts in the Christian world.
The government of the People's Republic of China has asserted the power to approve the naming of high lamas in Tibet and has exercised this power in the naming of the Panchen Lama, who is empowered to recognize the new Dalai Lama. Many observers believe that with the death of the current Dalai Lama, the PRC will direct the selection of a successor, thereby creating a schism and leadership vacuum in the Tibetan independence movement.
As the most powerful figure in the Gelugpa or Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama has received the highest teachings and empowerments of all the main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He also presents core teachings from all of these main schools. Until the 14th Dalai Lama's exile in 1959, the Dalai Lamas resided in Lhasa in the Potala Palace during winter and in the Norbulingka residence during summer,.
See also: History of Tibet
List of Dalai Lamas
- Gedun Drub, 1391-1474
- Gednun Gyatso, 1475-1541
- Sonam Gyatso, 1543-1588
- Yonten Gyatso, 1589-1616
- Lozang Gyatso, 1617-1682
- Tsangyang Gyatso, 1683-1706
- Kelzang Gyatso, 1708-1757
- Jamphel Gyatso, 1758-1804
- Lungtok Gyatso, 1806-1815
- Tsultrim Gyatso, 1816-1837
- Khendrup Gyatso, 1838-1856
- Trinley Gyatso, 1856-1875
- Thubten Gyatso, 1876-1933
- Tenzin Gyatso, 1935 - present
Source | Copyright
Webmasters: Add your website here:
Readers: Edit |
His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Official site from the Government Of Tibet In Exile. Provides a biography, bibliography, list of awards won, prayers, lectures and statements.
The Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize 1989 for the Dalai Lama
CNN.com: The Dalai Lama
Feature entitled "A Spiritual Leader in Exile" offering articles, photos and related links.
About.com: The Dalai Lama
Directory of resources pertaining to the exiled spiritual leader, with descriptions.
Jacqui Walker Photography
Photographs of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama taken in various locations around New Zealand in 2002 by Jacqui Walker.
Dalai Lama - Boston 2003
Information about His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 13th and 14th of 2003.
TibetNet: Dalai Lama
Provides a brief biography, articles, translations, details of his peace plan, and a list of his major honorary roles.
Kalachakra 2004 Toronto
Information about the Kalachakra Initiation for World Peace to be given in Toronto, Canada from April 25th to May 5th 2004.
Dalai Lama - Glasgow talk and teachings 2004
Information about a public talk and Buddhist teachings in Glasgow, UK from May 29th to June 1st 2004. Details of the program, tickets, travel, and accommodations.
Dalai Lama in Australia
The May 2002 visit of the Dalai Lama to Australia and New Zealand.
Dalai Lama World Peace
Dedicated to His Holiness. Visitors can send prayers for world peace.
CBC News Indepth: The Dalai Lama
Profile of the spiritual leader includes an interview, facts, photographs, and related links.
Nobel Prize Internet Archive: Dalai Lama
Provides a small collection of links dedicated to the religious and political leader.
Dedicated to creating awareness of the life and work of His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso. Provides a detailed biography, photos and an excerpt from his 1989 Nobel Prize speech.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet
A extensive press kit about the present Dalai Lama with a biography and the Dalai Lama's views on Tibet's political situation, Buddhist teaching, and the environment.
The Jew in the Lotus
Documentary about eight rabbis who travelled to Dharamsala, India for a meeting with the leader. Provides a project overview, photos and broadcast schedule.