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Dalai Lama

(dalai bla-ma), Mong. and Tib., lit., “teacher whose wisdom is as great as the ocean”; an honorary title bestowed by the Mon­golian prince Altan Khan on the third head of the Geluk school in 1578. This close con­nection with Mongolia brought the school of Tsongkhapa into a position of political preemi­nence, which with the fifth Dalai Lama (1617–82) was consolidated into rulership over all of Tibet. Since this time, the Dalai Lama has been regarded as an incarnation of Avalokitesh­vara, and the Panchen Lama has been vener­ated as his spiritual representative. Each Dalai Lama is considered a reincarnation (tulku) of the preceding Dalai Lamas.~

The Dalai Lamas not only fulfilled their role as heads of state. Among them are also great scholars and poets filled with joie de vivre, like the sixth Dalai Lama. The fourteenth Dalai Lama, in exile since 1959, combines in his per­son a spiritual and political authority that is still binding for the Tibetan people.

The individual Dalai Lamas are as follows:

  1. Dalai Lama Gendün Drub (1391–­­­1475)
  2. Dalai Lama Gendün Gyatso (1475–1542)
  3. Dalai Lama Sönam Gyatso (1543–1588)
  4. Dalai Lama Yönten Gyatso (1589–1617)
  5. Dalai Lama Losang Gyatso (1617–1682)
  6. Dalai Lama Jamyang Gyatso (1683–1706)
  7. Dalai Lama Kelsang Gyatso (1708–1757)
  8. Dalai Lama Jampel Gyatso (1758–1804)
  9. Dalai Lama Lungtog Gyatso (1806–1815)
  10. Dalai Lama Tsültrim Gyatso (1816–1837)
  11. Dalai Lama Kedrub Gyatso (1838–1856)
  12. Dalai Lama Trinle Gyatso (1856–1875)
  13. Dalai Lama Tubten Gyatso (1876–1933)
  14. Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso (born 1935)