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This article is about the Dalai Lama lineage. For the current Dalai Lama, see 14th Dalai Lama.
Gendun Drup, 1st Dalai Lama
Wylie transliteration taa la'i bla ma
Pronunciation [taːlɛː lama]
THDL Dalai Lama
Pinyin Chinese Dálài Lǎmā
Royal House Dalai Lama / Takla
Traditional Chinese 達賴喇嘛
Simplified Chinese 达赖喇嘛
- Hanyu Pinyin Dálài Lǎmā
- Wylie taa la'i bla ma
The Dalai Lama is the leader of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word dalai meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word བླ་མ ་bla-ma (with a silent "b") meaning "teacher". According to the current Dalai Lama, the Tibetan word "lama" corresponds precisely to the better known Indian word "guru". The Tibetan word "lama" is also a cognate of the Hebrew word "rabbi". "Lama" is a general term referring to Tibetan Buddhist teachers.
In religious terms, the Dalai Lama is believed by his devotees to be the rebirth of a long line of tulkus who are considered to be manifestations of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteśvara. Traditionally, the Dalai Lama is thought of as the latest reincarnation of a series of spiritual leaders who have chosen to be reborn in order to enlighten others. The Dalai Lama is often thought to be the director of the Gelug School, but this position belongs officially to the Ganden Tripa, which is a temporary position appointed by the Dalai Lama who, in practice, exerts much influence.
For certain periods of time between the 17th century and 1959, the Dalai Lamas sometimes directed the Tibetan government, which administered portions of Tibet from Lhasa. The 14th Dalai Lama remained the head of state for the Central Tibetan Administration ("Tibetan government in exile") until his retirement on March 14, 2011. He has indicated that the institution of the Dalai Lama may be abolished in the future, and also that the next Dalai Lama may be found outside Tibet and may be female.
· 8 years ago