Talk:3rd Dalai Lama

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qinghai or hohhot[edit]

as far as i know, the 3rd dalai lama and altan khan met near qinghai lake. the name of the lake (and surrounding region) is höh nuur, so i think the editor who added the bit about both meeting in hohhot (or his source) may have been just confusing the two. Yaan (talk) 10:59, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Reply:Hi Yaan! Thank you for your note on my Talk Page. According to Thomas Laird, this meeting did take place at Altan Khan's new capital, Köke qota, 'Blue Town' or modern Hohhot. Here is what he says: "When Altan Khan and the Third Dalai Lama met, the monk gave a long Buddhist teaching to a large crowd of Mongols. They gathered at Koko Khotan, Altan's capital, which is now Hohhot, capital of the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia. The site of these teachings became blessed ground, and Altan financed the construction of Mongolia's first monastery, Thegchen Chonkhor, there." Laird, Thomas (2006). The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama, p. 144. Grove Press, N.Y. ISBN 978-0-8021-827-1.
The other sources I have available here are not so detailed or specific - but do back up Laird's account. For example, Giuseppe Tucci, in his book, The Religions of Tibet (1980), p. 252, says about the 3rd Dalai Lama that, ". . . in 1578 he visits Mongolia, where Altan Khan confers on him the title of Dalai Lama; he dies in Mongolia during a second visit." See also: Tibet by Thubten Jigme Norbu and Colin M. Turnbull (1968), pp. 218-220 and Tibetan Civilization by R.A. Stein (1972), pp. 81-82. Best wishes, John Hill (talk) 07:32, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Additional note: I have just discovered another reference on this subject and thought I should add it here to hopefully end further speculation on this subject: "Sonam Gyatso was a brilliant scholar and a zealous missionary. He visited Mongolia, and in 1578 converted the leading prince, Altan Khan of the Tumed, together with large numbers of his followers. The Khan gave Sonam Gyatso the title of Talé (Dalai), meaning 'Ocean', and that title was later applied retrospectively to his two predecessors." Tibet & Its History, 2nd Edition (1984) by Hugh E. Richardson, pp. 40-41. John Hill (talk) 08:40, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Apart from some German sources, I have the Cambridge History of China, vol.8 (1998), p.238 (this particular chapter, "The Ming and Inner Asia", is written by Morris Rossabi): "The meeting, which took place in Ch'ing-hai in 1578, resulted in the conversion of the Altan Khan to Buddhism and in the mutual granting of titles". I actually do think the designation "Mongolia" in your quotes can be stretched enough to include lake Qinghai, esp. from the perspective of Lhasa. Regards, Yaan (talk) 16:41, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Reply to Yaan[edit]

Thanks, Yaan. Well, now I don't know what to believe. Either Laird is totally wrong and the other sources I give have included Qinghai as part of Mongolia, or your sources are wrong. I have never seen Qinghai mentioned as part of Mongolia elsewhere in accounts of Tibet - after all, it was the homeland of the Qiang tribes who are usually connected with the Tibetans rather than the Mongolians - but, perhaps it was considered so at this time because the Mongolians under Altun Khan had conquered it.
The only extra information I can find is that, after Sonam Gyatso's first trip to Mongolia (when Altun Khan is said to have bestowed the tile on him), he travelled on to the Chinese capital before returning to Tibet. He made a second trip to Mongolia later and died there. Tibet by Thubten Jigme Norbu and Colin M. Turnbull (1968), pp. 219-220.
While the following account does not specify the place of the events - it certainly seems unlikely to have occurred near Kokonor:
"In this way, he came to the attention of Mongolians throughout Inner Asia, a development that ultimately resulted in a profoundly consequential relationship with Altan Khan (1507–1582), Genghis Khan's heir. Throughout much of the 1570s, emissaries went back and forth between bSod nams rgya mtsho and Altan Khan. Finally towards the end of 1577, the incarnation departed ’Bras spungs Monastery, meeting his patron 6 months later. Their first encounter is described as a pivotal event: 9
Altan Khan alone wore white garments as a sign that the teachings of the [incarnation] would transform a place of darkness on the outskirts into a place of purity. The queen arrived together with ten thousand attendants and was welcomed by the faithful. The preceptor and the patron met for the first time. Altan Khan presented [bSod nams rgya mtsho] with numerous gifts, and the preceptor and the patron proceeded as a pair, like the sun and the moon, into the middle of an assembled crowd of perhaps one hundred thousand people.
The lama transmitted religious teachings to the Khan, his family and ministers, and to vast crowds of people. According to our sources, he was particularly fond of giving initiations in the recitation of the mantra of Avalokiteśvara, the bodhisattva of whom, it will be remembered, he was thought to be an embodiment. Very consciously tracing the preceptor-patron paradigm established by ’Pags pa Lama and Kublai Khan three centuries earlier, Altan Khan acknowledged his lama's spiritual teachings by presenting him with gold, pearl-ornamented clothing, and the title by which the lineage would become known, Dalai Lama. Thereafter, his two predecessors were retroactively called the First and Second Dalai Lamas. In return, bSod nams rgya mtsho’ called Altan Khan a religious king (chos kyi rgyal po, dharmarāja), evoking once again the old Indian model of a just religiously inclined sovereign deserving of allegiance.
For most of the remaining 11 years of his life, the Third Dalai Lama remained in Mongolia or in neighboring Tibetan regions. He returned to Mongolian lands to perform the funerary rites for Altan Khan and reinforced his connection to the Mongolian people. He received invitations from the Ming emperor, from a Kashmiri king, and from many Mongolian princes. However, he always gave precedence to the Mongolians, spending his last years among them and dying in their country in 1588."

From: The Dalai Lamas and State Power by Derek F. Maher - Downloadable from:

Whatever the case - we now have a real problem on our hands - with disagreeing authorities - I don't know how to resolve it quickly and ask other readers to please check further sources. I have just ordered today a copy of Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation by Glenn H. Mullin, ISBN 1574160397, which looks like an authoritative and detailed source and I will report here what it says (if someone else doesn't first) when I return in mid-July from a trip I am about to make. John Hill (talk) 00:24, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

A Plea for Help[edit]

Further note: I have just discovered the following account which contradicts Laird (see above) and places the event near Koko Nur as User:Yaan has maintained:

"They finally arrived at the Altan Khan's camp south of Qinghai Lake (Khökh Nuur in Mongolian) on the 15th day of the 5th month of the Earth Male Tiger Year, the 12th year of the 10th Rabjung, according to the Kalachakra calendar (May of 1578), some seven months after leaving Lhasa. Thousands of Tibetan and Mongolian monks and lay-persons lined the route of his arrival. According to the Rosary of White Lotuses,
When they reached the site of their midday meal, [Altan Khan] himself-the Turner of the Wheel of the Golden Age, he whose long life Heaven had protected-arrived, dressed in white clothes, which meant he had whitened the boundless realms of darkness. He was accompanied by the retinue of about 10,000 men, his wife and many attendants.
In those days the Mongols still expected religious figures to perform mirific feats and Sonam Gyatso did not disappoint, as least according to traditional Tibetan sources. Asked by the Altan Khan to demonstrate his power, "he reached his arm into an enormous boulder lying near the Khan and from it extracted a huge conch shell, the matrix of which circled in reverse. He placed the conch to his lips and blew a sharp note, whereupon the earth shook."
Sonam Gyatso then delivered a discourse to the assembled throng. He implored them to give up the practice of human and animal sacrifices which so often accompanied the death of a important Mongol (Chingis Khan's own son Ögedai had forty "moon-faced virgins" and numerous horses and other livestock scarified in honor of his father's memory) and told them to destroy their ongghot, the shamanic idols which many Mongolians kept in their homes and worshipped. Instead of blood sacrifices he suggested that the Mongols offer part of the deceased possessions to temples and monasteries and offer prayers to the deceased. He also implored the Mongols not to conduct bloody raids on their neighbors, including the Chinese, the Tibetans, and other Mongol tribes, and instead try to live in peaceful coexistence with their neighbors. He also suggested they make prayers and conduct other religious practices on the days of the new, half, and full moons. Finally he taught them a meditation on Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, and the accompanying six-syllable mantra om mani padme hum.
In honor of this auspicious convocation Altan bestowed upon Sonam Gyatso the title of "Dalai Lama". Dalai is a Mongolian word meaning "vast" or "oceanic"; it is also a direct Mongolian translation of the Tibetan word gyatso and thus a particularly fitting title for Sonam Gyatso. In turn, Sonam Gyatso gave Altan Khan the title "King of the Turning Wheel and Wisdom" and officially recognized him as a reincarnation of Khubilai Khan, the grandson of Chingis Khan and founder of the Yüan Dynasty in China."

It is clear there is a serious contradiction in the sources available to me. Can anyone else please try to resolve this issue? I think it would be important to check Glenn H. Mullin's book, Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation, but I won't be able to do this for another couple of months. Many thanks, John Hill (talk) 03:20, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

I can do this. I'll be more likely to remember if someone leaves a note on my talk page in 36 hours, but I'll try. Gimme danger (talk) 03:23, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I apologize for not doing this on time; I've been ill this weekend and haven't made it to the library. I'll swing by tomorrow if all goes well. Gimme danger (talk) 21:47, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks so much - your help is greatly appreciated.John Hill (talk) 02:17, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

My library doesn't have the Mullin book, but I've taken out four other sources. From preliminary looks it seems like the meeting was at the lakes. I don't currently have the time to sort this out; about two weeks until freedom. Gimme danger (talk) 23:28, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Rene Grousset's Empire of the Steppes, New Brunswick 1970, also places the meeting at Koko Nor, but makes the Dalai Lama travel to Hohhot in 1585, after Altan Khan's death (p. 513f). But his account of the origins of the Jebtsundamba Khutughtus on p. 514 seems a bit different from what one reads elsewhere, so he is probably not the ultimate source. Yaan (talk) 19:37, 15 May 2008 (UTC)


The article says: "Sonam Gyatso (Tibetan: བསོད་ནམས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་; Wylie: Bsod-nams Rgya-mtsho; ZWPY: Soinam Gyaco) (1543–1588) was the first officially recognized Dalai Lama, although the title was retrospectively given to his two predecessors." Predecessors in what type of function? Is it known?

Austerlitz -- (talk) 20:46, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Some information[edit]

  • [1] "The 3rd Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso took birth in Central Tibet to a upper-class family. He was recognized and subsequently enthroned at Drepung Monastery by Panchen Sonam Drakpa." "The young Dalai Lama was tutored by Panchen Sonam Drakpa. Panchen Sonam Drakpa was the 15th Ganden Tripa and his texts still serve as the core curriculum for most Gelugpa monasteries."

to be inserted, I think.

Austerlitz -- (talk) 21:09, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Panchen Gedun Drup's third reincarnation, Sonam Gyatso, was invited to the Mongol Court of Altan Khan who first conferred the title of "Talai (Dalai) Lama" on him. The title was applied retrospectively to his two previous incarnations, making him the Third Dalai Lama. Thus began the line of the Dalai Lamas."

"Tashilhunpo Monastery was established in 1447 by Panchen Gedun Drup, retrospectively known as the First Dalai Lama. Successive abbots of Tashilhunpo monastery were given the title "Panchen" because of their scholarship."

"From 1350, Tibet was ruled by the princes of Phagmodru and then, from about 1481, by the Rinpung dynasty. In 1406, the ruling Phagmodru prince, Dakpa Gyaltsen, turned down the Imperial invitation to him to visit China. This clearly shows the sovereign authority of Tibetan rulers at that time." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:16, 13 October 2008 (UTC)


  • [2] here it is said: "1576 lud Altan Khan (1507-1583) von den Tumed-Mongolen den zukünftigen Dritten Dalai Lama, Sönam-Gyatso, dazu ein, den Buddhismus in die Mongolei zu bringen. Zu dieser Zeit wurde Sönam-Gyatso „Gyalwa Rinpoche“ (tib. rGyal-ba Rin-po-che) oder „Drepung Tulku“ (tib. ‘Bras-spungs sPrul-sku) genannt. Er war der dritte in der ersten Reinkarnationslinie der Gelug-Tradition."

In 1576 -when going to bring buddhism to Mongolia- the Dalai Lama to be, Sönam Gyatso, used to be called by the name Gyalwa Rinpoche, tib. rGyal-ba Rin-po-che or "Drepung Tulku", tib.`Bras-spungs sPrul-sku. He was the third in the first reincarnationline of Gelug tradition.

Sounds as if the Gelugpa had different reincarnation lines.

Austerlitz -- (talk) 14:19, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
  • [3] Here, on page five, it is said, that the title of Dalai Lama had been given for the first time to the third abbot of Drepung.
Austerlitz -- (talk) 14:36, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

in 1578, as is said in addition. -- (talk) 14:37, 4 November 2008 (UTC)


  • [4] "The Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso was born in 1543 at Tolung, near Lhasa, to Namgyal Drakpa and Pelzom Bhuti, a rich family." Why not mention the names of his parents?
Austerlitz -- (talk) 20:46, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

His father according to TBRC [5], rnam rgyal grags pa ( b. 16th cent. ), his mother, [6], dpal 'dzoms bu khrid ( b. 16th cent. ) .

-- (talk) 20:54, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

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--JeffGBot (talk) 07:27, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

File:3rdDalaiLama.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

Icon Now Commons orange.svg An image used in this article, File:3rdDalaiLama.jpg, has been nominated for deletion at Wikimedia Commons in the following category: Deletion requests July 2011
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Upshot? The image was deleted and delinked. I followed the links to the file page on Commons, then on to deletion discussion and logs. The folks over there who'd deleted the file on Commons very helpfully provided further external links to the original image on the website from which the copy on Commons had apparently been taken. To say that I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw from simply following those links would be a gross understatement, indeed.  :^) :^)
Here is a partially redacted copy of an email which I sent earlier today to the State Hermitage Museum's Rights and Reproductions Office in St. Petersburg, Russia. I grant you: doing this sort of thing may be a long shot. But even just that much would not be possible if it were not for the thorough documentation of folks like Jameslwoodward and Martin_H.
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2013 16:19:26 -0700
Subject: Wikipedia License Request

An extraordinarily rare (and almost certainly contemporary) portrait of the Third Dalai Lama was, not too very long ago, removed from Wikipedia after it had been uploaded there in violation of Wikipedia policy regarding unlicensed redistribution of copyrighted material. Both as a Wikipedia editor myself and as a student of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, I am profoundly sorry to report to you that the relevant deletion log indicates the image originated from your own website.

Despite this, I am nonetheless quite thrilled to find (howsoever circuitously) the image which you've already so generously provided on the web, and therefore wish to personally thank you for making it available to those of us who are unable (for the time being, at least) to visit your collection in person. I'm also very glad to say the image has been speedily removed from Wikipedia (where it had, however briefly, reappeared). Moreover, based on comments in the relevant deletion log, I frankly can not help but wonder whether anyone from your museum was even apprised that any of this had ever occurred.

It would indeed therefore appear, at best, not only that a likely failure on some prior user's part to do due diligence before uploading your apparently unlicensed image onto Wikimedia Commons thereby resulted in a Wikipedia policy violation, but also that other Wikipedia editors' (thankfully) having taken up the slack (as it were) to enforce standing policies regarding image distribution licensing subsequently resulted in the unlicensed image's removal (in a timely manner, and with no dispute, and even possibly without your having been aware this had occurred) on 16 July, 2011.

Now, nearly a year and a half later, I come in and start to edit Wikipedia's encyclopedia entry for the Third Dalai Lama, and find there very simply is no even remotely comparable alternative image available to that which you have already provided. I have therefore already edited the encyclopedia entry to add a plain URL which links externally to your website, yet very much would like to use the image itself as an inline illustration for the article.

Is there by any chance some possible way the Hermitage Museum might be persuaded to license this utterly unique single image for distribution on Wikipedia?

I am providing five relevant links below, including one with standard "boilerplate" licensing language you might choose to use, in the hope that this might help you draw your own conclusions at your leisure, and perhaps come to a final decision on the matter.

Again, you have my thanks.

Very sincerely yours,

(Return Address)

1. Wikimedia Image Deletion Log:
2. Hermitage Museum Website:
3. Hermitage Image Use Policy:
4. Wikipedia Declaration of Consent:
5. Wikipedia Entry for Third Dalai Lama:

I figure it can't hurt to ask! ༺།།ༀ་ཨཱཿ་ཧཱུྃ།།འཚེར།།xeltifon།།སར་ཝ་མང་ག་ལམ།།༻  {say it}  {contribs} 00:41, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Alas, it winds up a no-go.
In a nutshell, to quote from the last email I received from the Hermitage Museum:
As to the Wikipedia license, the following clauses of are unacceptable for the Hermitage:
I grant anyone the right to use the work in a commercial product or otherwise, and to modify it according to their needs, provided that they abide by the terms of the license and any other applicable laws.
I am aware that this agreement is not limited to Wikipedia or related sites.
Therefore, unfortunately I have to inform you that we are declining the license. If you cannot remove the above clauses from the text of the license, we cannot give you permission to publish the image in the project.
Let me just say, though, that despite the image's not being licensed for reuse here on Wikipedia at this time, the little flurry of emails which ensued between them and myself was wholly positive and very productive. Indeed, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Perhaps at some point in the not-too-distant future their policies will change to allow reuse here of images (such as the higher-resolution image of the same statue which was emailed to me privately, on which I could decipher the Tibetan text written on the statue's base). In the mean time, museums remain understandably "hard targets" for license requests -- heck, they wouldn't be museums in the first place if they weren't fairly protective of the items in their collections, would they? -- and the external link to the lower-resolution image on their website which I've provided on the main page here will very simply have to do.
Just leaving this little note here as something for future editors to consider as attitudes toward things like copyright protections and free licensing are bound to change over time. Indeed, they are changing already, due in no small part to things like Wikipedia. The responses which I received from my request were otherwise overwhelmingly positive, and if nothing else has resulted from our rather complex bilingual exchange, the legal department of one of the world's great museums has had reason to examine in some depth the idea of free licensing. That can not be a cause for anything but positive results in the long run, even if (for the time being) they remain uncomfortable with the potential for their image being commercially reused. Don't let a temporary setback like this one ever dissuade you from simply asking a copyright holder for permission to license their image here on Wikipedia.
All the best, ༺།།ༀ་ཨཱཿ་ཧཱུྃ།།འཚེར།།xeltifon།།སར་ཝ་མང་ག་ལམ།།༻  {say it}  {contribs} 07:34, 19 January 2013 (UTC)