Dalai Lama

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Dalai Lama
1st Dalai Lama.jpg
Reign 1391–1474
Tibetan ཏཱ་ལའི་བླ་མ་
Wylie transliteration tā la'i bla ma
Pronunciation [taːlɛː lama]
Conventional Romanisation Dalai Lama
House Dalai Lama
Tenzin Gyatso
The 14th Dalai Lama
Dalailama1 20121014 4639.jpg
Reign 17 November 1950 – present
Predecessor 13th Dalai Lama
Prime Ministers
Tibetan བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
Wylie bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho
Pronunciation [tɛ̃ ́tsĩ càtsʰo]
Transcription
(PRC)
Dainzin Gyaco
THDL Tenzin Gyatso
Chinese
Pinyin Dānzēng Jiācuò
Father Choekyong Tsering the 9th
Mother Diki Tsering
Born (1935-07-06) 6 July 1935 (age 79)
Taktser, Qinghai
Signature Dalai Lama's signature

The Dalai Lama /ˈdɑːl ˈlɑːmə/[1][2] is a monk of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism,[3] the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism[4] founded by Je Tsongkhapa. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.

The Dalai Lama is considered to be the successor in a line of tulkus who are believed[1] to be incarnations of Avalokiteśvara,[2] the Bodhisattva of Compassion.[5] The name is a combination of the Mongolic word dalai meaning "ocean" and the Tibetan word བླ་མ་ (bla-ma) meaning "guru, teacher, mentor". The Tibetan word "lama" corresponds to the better known Sanskrit word "guru".[6]

From 1642 until the 1950s the Dalai Lama or his regent headed the Tibetan government or Ganden Phodrang which, except for minor periods, ruled over all or most of the Tibetan plateau from Lhasa with varying degrees of autonomy, being generally subject to first Mongol (1642-1720) and then Manchu (1720-1912) patronage and protection.[7]

History[edit]

Main article: History of Tibet

In 1252, Qubilai, future Khagan of the Mongols and ruler of Yuan China, granted an audience to Drogön Chögyal Phagpa and Karma Pakshi, 2nd Karmapa Lama (1203-1283). Karma Pakshi, however, sought the patronage of Möngke Khan, the current ruler and Qubilai's political rival, and taught the court the Cakrasaṃvara Tantra. (Buswell & Lopez 2014:422)

Before his death in 1283, Karma Pakshi wrote a will to protect the established interests of his lineage, the Karma Kagyu, by advising his disciples to locate a boy to inherit the black hat. His instruction was based on the premise that the Dharma is eternal and that the Buddha would send emanations to complete the missions he had initiated. Karma Pakshi's disciples acted in accordance with the will and located the reincarnated boy of their master.[citation needed]

The formalisation of the succession of its incarnate teacher-tulku system by the Karma Kagyu in the early 13th century led to other schools of Tibetan Buddhism adopting the same practice by formalising their own tulku systems.[8]

Emergence of Dalai Lamas[edit]

Thus in 1546, some 336 years after the 2nd Karmapa was formally recognised, Sonam Gyatso was similarly recognised by the Gelug as the incarnation of their late teacher Gendun Gyatso, who had been, in turn, informally recognised in 1487 as the incarnation of his predecessor Gendun Drup, who had been the main disciple of Gelugpa founder Je Tsongkhapa.[9] After Sonam Gyatso, each Dalai Lama has been formally recognised and ceremonially enthroned as per the middle columns of the List of Dalai Lamas below. An individual detailed biography of each Dalai Lama is linked to the names given in this list. The Tulku recognition system, once formalised and made into an official institution also involves the legal inheritance by each successor of the predecessor’s monastic home, other former possessions, staff and so forth.[10]

In 1578, after this Sonam Gyatso had been invited to Mongolia and had converted Altan Khan, King of the Tümed Mongols to Buddhism along with his tribe (the first Mongol tribe to be so converted), the King conferred the title ‘Dalai’ on him, ‘Dalai’ being the Mongolian translation of his Tibetan name ‘Gyatso’, which means ‘sea’ or ‘ocean’.[11] Within 50 years nearly all Mongolians had become Buddhist, including tens of thousands of monks, almost all followers of the Gelug school and loyal to the Dalai Lama.[12]

This title was accorded retroactively to Gendun Drup and Gendun Gyatso, as they were considered to be Sonam Gyatso's previous incarnations, so they became known respectively as the First and Second Dalai Lamas, although neither of them had ever been formally recognised or enthroned.[13] Thus, when Sonam Gyatso was named as the Third Dalai Lama in 1578 the Dalai Lama Tulku system became officially established in validation of an already existing but informal mode of succession.[13]

Identification with Avalokiteshvara[edit]

The belief in Tibet and other Central Asian Buddhist countries that the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, has a special relationship with the people of Tibet and intervenes in their fate by incarnating as benevolent rulers and teachers such as the Dalai Lamas had already taken root in Tibet in the 11th and 12th centuries, according to textual evidence such as The Book of Kadam,[14] the main text of the Kadampa sect to which Gendun Drub first belonged. In fact, this text is said to have ‘laid the foundation’ for the Tibetans later identification of the Dalai Lamas as incarnations of Avalokiteshvara;[15] it traces the legend of the bodhisattva’s incarnations as early Tibetan kings and emperors such as Songsten Gampo and later as Dromtönpa (1004-1064).[16] This lineage has been extrapolated by Tibetans up to the Dalai Lamas.[17]

Origins in myth and legend[edit]

Thus, according to such sources, an informal line of succession of the present Dalai Lamas as incarnations of Avalokiteshvara stretches back much further than Gendun Drub. The Book of Kadam,[18] the compilation of Kadampa teachings largely composed around discussions between the Indian sage Atisa (980-1054) and his Tibetan host Dromtönpa[19][20] and ‘Tales of the Previous Incarnations of Arya Avalokiteshvara’,[21] nominate as many as sixty persons prior to Gendun Drub who are enumerated as earlier incarnations of Avalokiteshvara and predecessors in the same lineage leading up to him. In brief, these include a mythology of thirty six Indian personalities plus ten early Tibetan kings and emperors, all said to be previous incarnations of Dromtönpa, and fourteen further Nepalese and Tibetan yogis and sages in between him and the first Dalai Lama.[22]

4th Dalai Lama[edit]

The Fourth Dalai Lama, Yonten Gyatso (1589-1617) was a Mongolian, the great-grandson of Altan Khan who was a descendant of Kublai Khan and King of the Tümed Mongols who had already been converted to Buddhism by the Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso (1543-1588).[23] This strong connection caused the Mongols to zealously support the Gelugpa sect in Tibet, strengthening their status and position but also arousing intensified opposition from the Gelugpa's rivals, particularly the Tsang Karma Kagyu in Shigatse and their Mongolian patrons and the Bönpo in Kham and their allies.[23] Being the newest school, unlike the older schools the Gelugpa lacked an established network of Tibetan clan patronage and were thus more reliant on foreign patrons.[24] At the age of 10 with a large Mongol escort he travelled to Lhasa where he was enthroned. He studied at Drepung and became its abbot but being a non-Tibetan he met with opposition from some Tibetans, especially the Karma Kagyu who felt their position was threatened by these emerging events; there were several attempts to remove him from power.[25] Yonten Gyatso died at the age of 27 under suspicious circumstances and his chief attendant Sonam Rapten went on to discover the 5th Dalai Lama and then to be his regent, the Desi.[26]

5th Dalai Lama[edit]

Map showing the extent of the Khoshut Khanate, 1642-1717, after Unification of Tibet under Güshi Khan
'Greater Tibet' as claimed by exiled groups

The death of the Fourth Dalai Lama in 1617 led to open conflict breaking out. In 1618, the Tsang Karma Kagyu of Shigatse, who were conspiring with the Bönpo chief of Beri in western Kham and whose Mongol patron was Choghtu Khong Tayiji of the Khalkha, attacked the Gelugpa in Lhasa. This caused the Gelugpa to seek more active Mongol patronage and military assistance during the minority of the Fifth Dalai Lama.[24]

By the 1630s Tibet was deeply entangled in rivalry, power struggles and conflicts, not only between the Tibetan religious sects but also between the rising Manchus and the various rival Mongol and Oirat factions, who were also vying for supremacy amongst themselves and on behalf of the religious sects they patronised.[24] For example, Ligdan Khan of the Chahars, a Mongol subgroup who supported the Tsang Karmapas, after retreating from advancing Manchu armies headed for Kokonor intending destroy the Gelug. He died on the way, in 1634[27] but his vassal Choghtu Khong Tayiji, continued to advance against the Gelugpas, even having his own son Arslan killed after Arslan changed sides. In the meantime, by the mid-1630s the Fifth Dalai Lama, Lobsang Gyatso (1617-1682) and his Gelugpas had found a powerful new patron in Güshi Khan of the Khoshut Mongols, a subgroup of the Dzungars, who had recently migrated to the Kokonor area from Dzungaria.[24] He attacked Choghtu Khong Tayiji at Kokonor in 1637 and defeated and killed him, thus eliminating the Tsang Karma Kagyu's main Mongol patron and protector.[24]

Meanwhile, Donyo Dorje, the Bönpo king of Beri in Kham to the east of Lhasa, had been caught conspiring with the ruler of Tsang, Karma Tenkyong, the main Tibetan patron of the Karma Kagyu in Shigatse to the west of Lhasa, when the former's letter to the latter, proposing a co-ordinated attack on the Gelugpa in Lhasa from two sides, east and west, was intercepted and forwarded to Güshi Khan. He used this as a pretext to invade central Tibet in 1639 to attack these enemies of the Gelugpa and by 1642 he had eliminated both of them: in 1641 he defeated Donyo Dorje and his allies in Kham and then he marched on Shigatse where after laying siege to their strongholds he defeated Karma Tenkyong and broke the power of the Tsang Karma Kagyu in 1642.[28]

Re-unification of Tibet[edit]

Having thus defeated all the Gelugpa's rivals and resolved all regional and sectarian conflicts Güshi Khan became the undisputed overlord of a unified Tibet and acted as a "Protector of the Gelug",[29] establishing the Khoshut Khanate which covered almost the entire Tibetan plateau, an area corresponding roughly to 'Greater Tibet' including Kham and Amdo, as claimed by exiled groups (see maps). At an enthronement ceremony in Shigatse he conferred temporal authority on the Fifth Dalai Lama over Central Tibet and Kham, unified for the first time since the collapse of the Tibetan Empire exactly eight centuries earlier.[24][30] Güshi Khan then retired to Kokonor with his armies[24] and ruled Amdo himself directly. This created the precedent for the later separation of Amdo from Central Tibet.[30]

In this way, Güshi Khan established the Fifth Dalai Lama as the highest spiritual and political authority in Tibet. 'The Great Fifth' became the temporal ruler of Tibet in 1642 and from then on the rule of the Dalai Lama lineage over some, all or most of Tibet lasted with few breaks for the next 317 years, until 1959, when the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India.(Buswell & Lopez 2014, p. 210)

Güshi Khan died in 1655 and was succeeded by his descendants Dayan, Tenzin Dalai Khan and Tenzin Wangchuk Khan. However, Güshi Khan's other eight sons had settled in Amdo but fought amongst themselves over territory so the Fifth Dalai Lama sent governors to rule them in 1656 and 1659, thereby bringing Amdo and thus the whole of Greater Tibet under his personal rule and Gelugpa control. The Mongols in Amdo became absorbed and Tibetanised.[31]

Visit to Beijing[edit]

In 1636 the Manchu proclaimed their dynasty as the Qing Dynasty and by 1644 they had completed their conquest of China under quasi Emperor Dorgon. The following year their forces approached Amdo on northern Tibet, causing the Oirat and Khoshut Mongols there to submit in 1647 and send tribute. In 1648 after quelling a rebellion of Tibetans of Kansu-Xining the Qing invited the Fifth Dalai Lama to visit their court at Beijing since they wished to engender Tibetan influence in their dealings with the Mongols. The Qing were aware the Dalai Lama had extraordinary influence with the Mongols and saw relations with the Dalai Lama as a means to facilitate submission of the Khalka Mongols, traditional patrons of the Karma Kagyu sect. Similarly, since the Tibetan Gelugpa were keen to revive a priest-patron relationship with the dominant power in China and Inner Asia, the Qing invitation was accepted. After five years of complex diplomatic negotiations about whether the emperor or his representatives should meet the Dalai Lama inside or outside the Great Wall, when the meeting would be astrologically favourable, how it would be conducted and so on, it eventually took place in Beijing in 1653. The Shunzi Emperor was then 16 years old, having in the meantime ascended the throne in 1650 after the death of Dorgon. For the Qing, although the Dalai Lama was not required to kow-tow to the emperor, who rose from his throne and advanced 30 feet to meet him, the significance of the visit was that of nominal political submission by the Dalai Lama since Inner Asian heads of state did not travel to meet each other but sent envoys. For Tibetan Buddhist historians however it was interpreted as the start of an era of independent rule of the Dalai Lamas, and of Qing patronage alongside that of the Mongols.[32]

Relations with the Qing[edit]

The 17th century struggles for domination between the Manchu Qing dynasty and the various Mongol groups spilled over to involve Tibet because of the Fifth Dalai Lama's strong influence over the Mongols as a result of their general adoption of Tibetan Buddhism and their consequent deep loyalty to the Dalai Lama as their guru. Until 1674 the Fifth Dalai Lama had mediated in Dzungar Mongol affairs whenever they required him to do so, and the Manchu Emperor, Kangxi, who had succeeded Sunzhi in 1661, would accept and confirm his decisions automatically. For the Kangxi Emperor however, the alliance between the Dzungar Mongols and the Tibetans was unsettling because he feared it had the potential to unite all the other Mongol tribes together against the Qing empire, including those tribes who had already submitted. Therefore, in 1674 Kangxi, annoyed by the Fifth's less than full cooperation in quelling a rebellion against the Qing in Yunnan, ceased deferring to him as regards Mongol affairs and started dealing with them directly.[33]

In the same year, 1674, the Dalai Lama, then at the height of his powers and conducting a foreign policy independent of the Qing, caused Mongol troops to occupy the border post of Dartsedo between Kham and Sichuan, further annoying the Kangxi Emperor who already considered Tibet as part of the Qing empire. It also increased Qing suspicion about Tibetan relations with the Mongol groups and led him to seek strategic opportunities to oppose and undermine Mongol influence in Tibet and eventually, within 50 years, to defeat the Mongols militarily and to establish the Qing as sole 'patrons and protectors' of Tibet in their place.[33]

The Fifth Dalai Lama's death in 1682 was kept secret for fifteen years by his regent Desi Sangye Gyatso. He pretended the Dalai Lama was in retreat and ruled on his behalf, secretly selecting the 6th Dalai Lama and presenting him as someone else. This was apparently done so that construction of the Potala Palace could be finished, and to prevent Tibet's neighbours, the Mongols and the Qing, from taking advantage of an interregnum in the succession of the Dalai Lamas. Only in 1697 did he announce the Fifth's death, annoying both the Mongols and the Qing by this deception.(Laird 2006, pp. 181–182)

The time of the Fifth Dalai Lama, who reigned from 1642 to 1682 and founded the government known as the Ganden Phodrang, was a period of rich cultural development.[citation needed]

6th Dalai Lama[edit]

The Sixth Dalai Lama (1683-1706) was born near Tawang, now in India, and discovered in 1685 but not enthroned until 1697 when the death of the Fifth was announced. After 16 years of study as a novice monk, in 1702 in his 20th year he rejected full ordination and gave up his monk's robes and monastic life, preferring to enjoy a lifestyle that included drinking, the company of women, and writing poetry and love songs.[34][35]

In 1703 Güshi Khan's ruling grandson Tenzin Wangchuk Khan was murdered by his brother Lhazang Khan who usurped the Khoshut's Tibetan throne, but unlike his four predecessors he started interfering directly in Tibetan affairs in Lhasa; he opposed the Fifth Dalai Lama's regent, Desi Sangye Gyatso for his deceptions and in the same year, with the support of the Kangxi Emperor, he forced him out of office. Then in 1705, he used the Sixth's escapades as an excuse to seize full control of Tibet. Most Tibetans, though, still supported their Dalai Lama despite his behaviour and deeply resented Lhazang Khan's intereference. When Lhazang was requested by the Tibetans to leave Lhasa politics to them and to retire to Kokonor like his predecessors, he quit the city, but only to gather his armies in order to return, capture Lhasa militarily and assume full political control of Tibet.[36] The regent was then murdered by Lhazang or his wife, and, in 1706 with the compliance of the Kangxi Emperor the Sixth Dalai Lama was deposed and arrested by Lhazang who considered him to be an imposter set up by the regent. Lhazang then sent him to Beijing under escort to appear before the emperor but he died mysteriously on the way near Lake Qinghai, ostensibly from illness.[37][38]

7th Dalai Lama[edit]

Lhazang Khan appointed Yeshe Gyatso as the new Dalai Lama. However, he was not accepted by the Gelug school. Kelzang Gyatso was discovered near Lake Qinghai and became a rival candidate.

The Dzungars invaded Tibet in 1717 and deposed Lhazang Khan's candidate. They also began to loot the holy places of Lhasa, which brought a swift response from the Kangxi Emperor in 1718, but his military expedition was annihilated in the Battle of the Salween River not far from Lhasa.[39][40]

A larger expedition sent by the Kangxi Emperor expelled the Dzungars from Tibet in 1720 and the troops were hailed as liberators. They brought Kelzang Gyatso with them from Kumbum to Lhasa and he was installed as the 7th Dalai Lama in 1721.[41]

After him [Jamphel Gyatso the eighth Dalai Lama (1758–1804)], the 9th and 10th Dalai Lamas died before attaining their majority: one of them is credibly stated to have been murdered and strong suspicion attaches to the other. The 11th and 12th were each enthroned but died soon after being invested with power. For 113 years, therefore, supreme authority in Tibet was in the hands of a Lama Regent, except for about two years when a lay noble held office and for short periods of nominal rule by the 11th and 12th Dalai Lamas.
It has sometimes been suggested that this state of affairs was brought about by the Ambans—the Imperial Residents in Tibet—because it would be easier to control the Tibet through a Regent than when a Dalai Lama, with his absolute power, was at the head of the government. That is not true. The regular ebb and flow of events followed its set course. The Imperial Residents in Tibet, after the first flush of zeal in 1750, grew less and less interested and efficient. Tibet was, to them, exile from the urbanity and culture of Peking; and so far from dominating the Regents, the Ambans allowed themselves to be dominated. It was the ambition and greed for power of Tibetans that led to five successive Dalai Lamas being subjected to continuous tutelage. (Richardson 1984, pp. 59–60)

Thubten Jigme Norbu, the elder brother of the 14th Dalai Lama, described these unfortunate events as follows:

It is perhaps more than a coincidence that between the seventh and the thirteenth holders of that office, only one reached his majority. The eighth, Gyampal Gyatso, died when he was in his thirties, Lungtog Gyatso when he was eleven, Tsultrim Gyatso at eighteen, Khadrup Gyatso when he was eighteen also, and Krinla Gyatso at about the same age. The circumstances are such that it is very likely that some, if not all, were poisoned, either by loyal Tibetans for being Chinese-appointed impostors, or by the Chinese for not being properly manageable.(Norbu & Turnbull 1968, p. 311)

13th and 14th Dalai Lamas[edit]

Throne awaiting Dalai Lama's return. Summer residence of 14th Dalai Lama, Nechung, Tibet.

The 13th Dalai Lama assumed ruling power from the monasteries, which previously had great influence on the Regent, in 1895. Due to his two periods of exile in 1904–1909 to escape the British invasion of 1904, and from 1910–1912 to escape a Chinese invasion, he became well aware of the complexities of international politics and was the first Dalai Lama to become aware of the importance of foreign relations. After his return from exile in India and Sikkim during January 1913, he assumed control of foreign relations and dealt directly with the Maharaja, with the British Political officer in Sikkim and with the king of Nepal - rather than letting the Kashag or parliament do it. (Sheel 1989, pp. 24, 29)

The Thirteenth issued a Declaration of Independence for his kingdom in Ü-Tsang from China during the summer of 1912 and standardised a Tibetan flag, though no other sovereign state recognized Tibetan independence. (Sheel 1989, p. 20) He expelled the ambans and all Chinese civilians in the country and instituted many measures to modernise Tibet. These included provisions to curb excessive demands on peasants for provisions by the monasteries and tax evasion by the nobles, setting up an independent police force, the abolition of the death penalty, extension of secular education, and the provision of electricity throughout the city of Lhasa in the 1920s. (Norbu & Turnbull 1968, pp. 317–318) He died in 1933.

The 14th Dalai Lama was not formally enthroned until 17 November 1950, during the Battle of Chamdo with the People's Republic of China. In 1951, the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government were forced to accept the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet by which it became formally incorporated into the People's Republic of China. Fearing for his life in the wake of a revolt in Tibet in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India, from where he led a government in exile.[42][43]

With the aim of launching guerrilla operations against the Chinese, the Central Intelligence Agency funded the Dalai Lama with US$1.7 million a year in the 1960s.[44] In 2001 the 14th Dalai Lama ceded his absolute power over the government to an elected parliament of selected Tibetan exiles. His original goal was full independence for Tibet, but by the late 1980s he was seeking high-level autonomy instead.[45] He continued to seek greater autonomy from China, but Dolma Gyari, deputy speaker of the parliament-in-exile, stated: "If the middle path fails in the short term, we will be forced to opt for complete independence or self-determination as per the UN charter".[46]

Residences[edit]

Starting with the 5th Dalai Lama and until the 14th Dalai Lama's flight into exile during 1959, the Dalai Lamas spent winters at the Potala Palace and summers at the Norbulingka palace and park. Both are in Lhasa and approximately 3 km apart.

Following the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising, the 14th Dalai Lama sought refuge in India. The then Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, allowed in the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government officials. The Dalai Lama has since lived in exile in Dharamshala, in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India, where the Central Tibetan Administration is also established. Tibetan refugees have constructed and opened many schools and Buddhist temples in Dharamshala.[47]

Searching for the reincarnation[edit]

The search for the 14th Dalai Lama took the High Lamas to Taktser in Amdo
Palden Lhamo, the female guardian spirit of the sacred lake, Lhamo La-tso, who promised Gendun Drup the 1st Dalai Lama in one of his visions that "she would protect the reincarnation lineage of the Dalai Lamas"

By the Himalayan tradition, phowa is the discipline that transfers the mindstream to the intended body. Upon the death of the Dalai Lama and consultation with the Nechung Oracle, a search for the Lama's yangsi, or reincarnation, is conducted. Traditionally, it has been the responsibility of the High Lamas of the Gelugpa tradition and the Tibetan government to find his reincarnation. The process can take around two or three years to identify the Dalai Lama, and for the 14th, Tenzin Gyatso, it was four years before he was found. Historically, the search for the Dalai Lama has usually been limited to Tibet, though the third tulku was born in Mongolia. Tenzin Gyatso, however, has stated that he will not be reborn in the People's Republic of China, though he has also suggested he may not be reborn at all, suggesting the function of the Dalai Lama may be outdated.[48] The government of the People's Republic of China has stated its intention to be the ultimate authority on the selection of the next Dalai Lama.[49]

The High Lamas used several ways in which they can increase the chances of finding the reincarnation. High Lamas often visit Lhamo La-tso, a lake in central Tibet, and watch for a sign from the lake itself. This may be either a vision or some indication of the direction in which to search, and this was how Tenzin Gyatso was found. It is said that Palden Lhamo, the female guardian spirit of the sacred lake Lhamo La-tso promised Gendun Drup, the 1st Dalai Lama, in one of his visions "that she would protect the reincarnation lineage of the Dalai Lamas."[citation needed] Ever since the time of Gendun Gyatso, the 2nd Dalai Lama, who formalised the system, the Regents and other monks have gone to the lake to seek guidance on choosing the next reincarnation through visions while meditating there.[50]

The particular form of Palden Lhamo at Lhamo La-tso is Gyelmo Maksorma, "The Victorious One who Turns Back Enemies". The lake is sometimes referred to as "Pelden Lhamo Kalideva", which indicates that Palden Lhamo is an emanation of the goddess Kali, the shakti of the Hindu God Shiva.[51]

Lhamo Latso ... [is] a brilliant azure jewel set in a ring of grey mountains. The elevation and the surrounding peaks combine to give it a highly changeable climate, and the continuous passage of cloud and wind creates a constantly moving pattern on the surface of the waters. On that surface visions appear to those who seek them in the right frame of mind.[52]

It was here that in 1935, the Regent Reting Rinpoche received a clear vision of three Tibetan letters and of a monastery with a jade-green and gold roof, and a house with turquoise roof tiles, which led to the discovery of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.[53][54][55]

High Lamas may also have a vision by a dream or if the Dalai Lama was cremated, they will often monitor the direction of the smoke as an indication of the direction of the rebirth.[48]

Once the High Lamas have found the home and the boy they believe to be the reincarnation, the boy undergoes a battery of tests to affirm the rebirth. They present a number of artifacts, only some of which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, and if the boy chooses the items which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, this is seen as a sign, in conjunction with all of the other indications, that the boy is the reincarnation.[56]

If there is only one boy found, the High Lamas will invite Living Buddhas of the three great monasteries, together with secular clergy and monk officials, to confirm their findings and then report to the Central Government through the Minister of Tibet. Later, a group consisting of the three major servants of Dalai Lama, eminent officials,[who?] and troops[which?] will collect the boy and his family and travel to Lhasa, where the boy would be taken, usually to Drepung Monastery, to study the Buddhist sutra in preparation for assuming the role of spiritual leader of Tibet.[48]

If there are several possible reincarnations, however, regents, eminent officials, monks at the Jokhang in Lhasa, and the Minister to Tibet have historically decided on the individual by putting the boys' names inside an urn and drawing one lot in public if it was too difficult to judge the reincarnation initially.[57]

List of Dalai Lamas[edit]

There have been 14 recognised incarnations of the Dalai Lama:

Name Picture Lifespan Recognised Enthronement Tibetan/Wylie Tibetan pinyin/Chinese Alternative spellings
1 Gendun Drup 1stDalaiLama.jpg 1391–1474 N/A[58] དགེ་འདུན་འགྲུབ་
dge 'dun 'grub
Gêdün Chub
根敦朱巴
Gedun Drub
Gedün Drup
2 Gendun Gyatso 2Dalai.jpg 1475–1542 N/A[58] དགེ་འདུན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
dge 'dun rgya mtsho
Gêdün Gyaco
根敦嘉措
Gedün Gyatso
Gendün Gyatso
3 Sonam Gyatso 3rdDalaiLama2.jpg 1543–1588  ? 1578 བསོད་ནམས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
bsod nams rgya mtsho
Soinam Gyaco
索南嘉措
Sönam Gyatso
4 Yonten Gyatso 4DalaiLama.jpg 1589–1617 1601 1603 ཡོན་ཏན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
yon tan rgya mtsho
Yoindain Gyaco
雲丹嘉措
Yontan Gyatso, Yönden Gyatso
5 Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso NgawangLozangGyatso.jpg 1617–1682 1618 1622 བློ་བཟང་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
blo bzang rgya mtsho
Lobsang Gyaco
羅桑嘉措
Lobzang Gyatso
Lopsang Gyatso
6 Tsangyang Gyatso 6DalaiLama.jpg 1683–1706 1688 1697 ཚངས་དབྱངས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
tshang dbyangs rgya mtsho
Cangyang Gyaco
倉央嘉措
Tsañyang Gyatso
7 Kelzang Gyatso 7DalaiLama.jpg 1707–1757 1712 1720 བསྐལ་བཟང་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
bskal bzang rgya mtsho
Gaisang Gyaco
格桑嘉措
Kelsang Gyatso
Kalsang Gyatso
8 Jamphel Gyatso 8thDalaiLama.jpg 1758–1804 1760 1762 བྱམས་སྤེལ་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
byams spel rgya mtsho
Qambê Gyaco
強白嘉措
Jampel Gyatso
Jampal Gyatso
9 Lungtok Gyatso 9thDalaiLama.jpg 1805–1815 1807 1808 ལུང་རྟོགས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
lung rtogs rgya mtsho
Lungdog Gyaco
隆朵嘉措
Lungtog Gyatso
10 Tsultrim Gyatso 10thDalaiLama.jpg 1816–1837 1822 1822 ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
tshul khrim rgya mtsho
Cüchim Gyaco
楚臣嘉措
Tshültrim Gyatso
11 Khendrup Gyatso 11thDalaiLama1.jpg 1838–1856 1841 1842 མཁས་གྲུབ་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
mkhas grub rgya mtsho
Kaichub Gyaco
凱珠嘉措
Kedrub Gyatso
12 Trinley Gyatso 12thDalai Lama.jpg 1857–1875 1858 1860 འཕྲིན་ལས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
'phrin las rgya mtsho
Chinlai Gyaco
成烈嘉措
Trinle Gyatso
13 Thubten Gyatso 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso.jpg 1876–1933 1878 1879 ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
thub bstan rgya mtsho
Tubdain Gyaco
土登嘉措
Thubtan Gyatso
Thupten Gyatso
14 Tenzin Gyatso Dalai Lama at WhiteHouse (cropped).jpg born 1935 1939[59] 1940[59]
(currently in exile)
བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho
Dainzin Gyaco
丹增嘉措
Tenzin Gyatso

There has also been one non-recognised Dalai Lama, Ngawang Yeshe Gyatso, declared 28 June 1707, when he was 25 years old, by Lha-bzang Khan as the "true" 6th Dalai Lama – however, he was never accepted as such by the majority of the population.[40][60][61]

Future of the position[edit]

Main article: 15th Dalai Lama
The main teaching room of the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala, India
14th Dalai Lama

In the mid-1970s, Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, told a Polish newspaper that he thought he would be the last Dalai Lama. In a later interview published in the English language press he stated, "The Dalai Lama office was an institution created to benefit others. It is possible that it will soon have outlived its usefulness."[62] These statements caused a furor amongst Tibetans in India. Many could not believe that such an option could even be considered. It was further felt that it was not the Dalai Lama's decision to reincarnate. Rather, they felt that since the Dalai Lama is a national institution it was up to the people of Tibet to decide whether the Dalai Lama should reincarnate.[63]

The government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) has claimed the power to approve the naming of "high" reincarnations in Tibet, based on a precedent set by the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty.[citation needed] The Qianlong Emperor instituted a system of selecting the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama by a lottery that used a golden urn with names wrapped in clumps of barley. This method was used a few times for both positions during the 19th century, but eventually fell into disuse.[citation needed] In 1995, the Dalai Lama chose to proceed with the selection of the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama without the use of the Golden Urn, while the Chinese government insisted that it must be used.[citation needed] This has led to two rival Panchen Lamas: Gyaincain Norbu as chosen by the Chinese government's process, and Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as chosen by the Dalai Lama.

During September 2007 the Chinese government said all high monks must be approved by the government, which would include the selection of the 15th Dalai Lama after the death of Tenzin Gyatso.[citation needed] Since by tradition, the Panchen Lama must approve the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, that is another possible method of control.[citation needed]

In response to this scenario, Tashi Wangdi, the representative of the 14th Dalai Lama, replied that the Chinese government's selection would be meaningless. "You can't impose an Imam, an Archbishop, saints, any religion...you can't politically impose these things on people," said Wangdi. "It has to be a decision of the followers of that tradition. The Chinese can use their political power: force. Again, it's meaningless. Like their Panchen Lama. And they can't keep their Panchen Lama in Tibet. They tried to bring him to his monastery many times but people would not see him. How can you have a religious leader like that?"[64]

The 14th Dalai Lama said as early as 1969 that it was for the Tibetans to decide whether the institution of the Dalai Lama "should continue or not".[65] He has given reference to a possible vote occurring in the future for all Tibetan Buddhists to decide whether they wish to recognize his rebirth.[66] In response to the possibility that the PRC might attempt to choose his successor, the Dalai Lama said he would not be reborn in a country controlled by the People's Republic of China or any other country which is not free.[48][67] According to Robert D. Kaplan, this could mean that "the next Dalai Lama might come from the Tibetan cultural belt that stretches across northern India, Nepal, and Bhutan, presumably making him even more pro-Indian and anti-Chinese".[68]

The 14th Dalai Lama supported the possibility that his next incarnation could be a woman.[69] As an "engaged Buddhist" the Dalai Lama has an appeal straddling cultures and political systems making him one of the most recognized and respected moral voices today.[70] "Despite the complex historical, religious and political factors surrounding the selection of incarnate masters in the exiled Tibetan tradition, the Dalai Lama is open to change," author Michaela Haas writes.[71] "Why not? What's the big deal?"[72]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Define Dalai lama". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12. (formerly) the ruler and chief monk of Tibet, believed to be a reincarnation of Avalokitesvara and sought for among newborn children after the death of the preceding Dalai Lama 
  2. ^ a b "Definition of Dalai Lama in English". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 2 May 2015. The spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism and, until the establishment of Chinese communist rule, the spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet. Each Dalai Lama is believed to be the reincarnation of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, reappearing in a child when the incumbent Dalai Lama dies 
  3. ^ Dr Alexander Berzin (November 2014). "Special Features of the Gelug Tradition - para. on Administration". The Buddhist Archives of Dr Alexander Berzin. Berzin Archives. Retrieved 8 May 2015. The Dalai Lamas are not the heads of the Gelug tradition 
  4. ^ Schaik, Sam van. Tibet: A History. Yale University Press 2011, page 129, "Gelug: the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism".
  5. ^ Peter Popham (January 29, 2015). "Relentless: The Dalai Lama's Heart of Steel". Newsweek magazine. His mystical legitimacy – of huge importance to the faithful – stems from the belief that the Dalai Lamas are manifestations of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion 
  6. ^ "lama" from Encyclopædia Britannica
  7. ^ Smith, Warren W. Jr. (1997). Tibetan Nation: A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations. New Delhi: HarperCollins. pp. 107–149. ISBN 0813331552. 
  8. ^ Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Donald S. Jr. Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (2014 ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 421. ISBN 9780691157863. Retrieved 28 May 2015. In the history of Tibetan Buddhism, the lineage of the Karmapas is considered to be the first to institutionalize its succession of incarnate lamas, a practice later adopted by the other sects 
  9. ^ Laird, Thomas (2006). The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama, p. 239. Grove Press, N.Y. ISBN 978-0-8021-1827-1
  10. ^ Alexander Berzin (2000). Wise Teacher, Wise Student. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications. p. 20. ISBN 9781559393478. 
  11. ^ McKay 2003, p. 18
  12. ^ Laird, Thomas (2006). The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama, p. 144. Grove Press, N.Y. ISBN 978-0-8021-1827-1
  13. ^ a b McKay 2003, p. 19
  14. ^ Thubten Jinpa. "Introduction". The Book of Kadam. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 9780861714414. Available textual evidence points strongly toward the eleventh and twelfth centuries as the period during which the full myth of Avalokiteśvara special destiny with Tibet was established. During this era, the belief that this compassionate spirit intervenes in the fate of the Tibetan people by manifesting as benevolent rulers and teachers took firm root 
  15. ^ Thubten Jinpa. "Introduction". The Book of Kadam. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 9780861714414. Perhaps the most important legacy of the book, at least for the Tibetan people as a whole, is that it laid the foundation for the later identification of Avalokiteśvara with the lineage of the Dalai Lama 
  16. ^ Thubten Jinpa. "Introduction". The Book of Kadam. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 9780861714414. For the Tibetans, the mythic narrative that began with Avalokiteśvara’s embodiment in the form of Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century—or even earlier with the mythohistorical figures of the first king of Tibet, Nyatri Tsenpo (traditionally calculated to have lived around the fifth century B.C.E.), and Lha Thothori Nyentsen (ca. third century c.e.), during whose reign some sacred Buddhist scriptures are believed to have arrived in Tibet... continued with Dromtönpa in the eleventh century 
  17. ^ Thubten Jinpa. "Introduction". The Book of Kadam. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 9780861714414. For the Tibetans, the mythic narrative... continues today in the person of His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama 
  18. ^ Thubten Jinpa. The Book of Kadam. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 9780861714414. 
  19. ^ Thubten Jinpa. "Introduction". The Book of Kadam. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 9780861714414. ‘The Book’ gives ample evidence of the existence of an ancient, mythological Tibetan narrative placing the Dalai Lamas as incarnations of Dromtönpa, of his predecessors and of Avalokiteshvara 
  20. ^ Tuttle, Gray; Schaeffer, Curtis R. (2013). The Tibetan History Reader. Columbia University Press. p. 335. ISBN 9780231513548. In Atiśa’s telling, Dromtön was not only Avalokiteśvara but also a reincarnation of former Buddhist monks, laypeople, commoners, and kings. Furthermore, these reincarnations were all incarnations of that very same being, Avalokiteśvara. Van der Kuijp takes us on a tour of literary history, showing that the narrative attributed to Atiśa became a major source for both incarnation and reincarnation ideology for centuries to come." From: "The Dalai Lamas and the Origins of Reincarnate Lamas. Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp" 
  21. ^ Mullin 2001, p.39
  22. ^ Stein (1972), p. 138-139|quote=the Dalai Lama is ... a link in the chain that starts in history and leads back through legend to a deity in mythical times. The First Dalai Lama, Gedün-trup (1391-1474), was already the 51st incarnation; the teacher Dromtön, Atiśa's disciple (eleventh century), the 45th; whilst with the 26th, one Gesar king of India, and the 27th, a hare, we are in pure legend
  23. ^ a b Smith, Warren W. Jr. (1997). Tibetan Nation: A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations. New Delhi: HarperCollins. p. 106. ISBN 0813331552. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f g Smith, Warren W. Jr. (1997). Tibetan Nation: A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations. New Delhi: HarperCollins. p. 107. ISBN 0813331552. 
  25. ^ Mullin (2001), p. 172-181.
  26. ^ Mullin (2001), p. 182.
  27. ^ Michael Weiers, Geschichte der Mongolen, Stuttgart 2004, p. 182f
  28. ^ Shakabpa, Tsepon W.D. (1967). Tibet: A Political History. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, p. 105-111.
  29. ^ Rene Grousset, The Empire of the Steppes, New Brunswick 1970, p. 522
  30. ^ a b Smith, Warren W. Jr. (1997). Tibetan Nation: A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations. New Delhi: HarperCollins. p. 108. ISBN 0813331552. 
  31. ^ Karmay, Samten C. (2005). "The Great Fifth" (PDF). The Newsletter. Research (Leiden, the Netherlands: International Institute for Asian Studies). Winter 2005 (39): 2. Retrieved 14 June 2015. Over time the region’s Mongols were completely Tibetanized but continued to enjoy prestige among the Tibetans as Gushri Khan’s descendants and played a significant role in the Gelug Order’s expansion in Amdo. 
  32. ^ Smith, Warren W. Jr. (1997). Tibetan Nation: A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations. New Delhi: HarperCollins. pp. 108–113. ISBN 0813331552. 
  33. ^ a b Smith, Warren W. Jr. (1997). Tibetan Nation: A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations. New Delhi: HarperCollins. pp. 116–117. ISBN 0813331552. 
  34. ^ Mullin 2001, pp.245-256
  35. ^ Karenina Kollmar-Paulenz, Kleine Geschichte Tibets, München 2006, pp. 109–122.
  36. ^ Smith, Warren W. Jr. (1997). Tibetan Nation: A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations. New Delhi: HarperCollins. p. 121. ISBN 0813331552. 
  37. ^ Mullin 2001, p.260-271
  38. ^ Smith, Warren W. Jr. (1997). Tibetan Nation: A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations. New Delhi: HarperCollins. p. 122. ISBN 0813331552. 
  39. ^ Richardson (1984), pp. 48–9.
  40. ^ a b Stein (1972), p. 85.
  41. ^ Schirokauer, 242
  42. ^ Tibet in Exile, CTA Official website, retrieved 2010-12-15.
  43. ^ Dalai Lama Intends To Retire As Head of Tibetan State In Exile by Mihai-Silviu Chirila (2010-11-23), Metrolic, retrieved 2010-12-15.
  44. ^ "Dalai Lama Group Says It Got Money From C.I.A.". The New York Times. 1998-10-02. 
  45. ^ Burke, Denis (2008-11-27). "Tibetans stick to the 'middle way'". Asia Times. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  46. ^ Saxena, Shobhan (2009-10-31). "The burden of being Dalai Lama". The Times of India. Retrieved 2010-08-06. If the middle path fails in the short term, we will be forced to opt for complete independence or self-determination as per the UN charter [dead link]
  47. ^ "Dispatches from the Tibetan Front: Dharamshala, India," Litia Perta, The Brooklyn Rail, April 4, 2008
  48. ^ a b c d "The Dalai Lama". BBC. 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  49. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/world/asia/chinas-tensions-with-dalai-lama-spill-into-the-afterlife.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news
  50. ^ Laird (2006), pp. 139, 264–265.
  51. ^ Dowman (1988), p. 260.
  52. ^ Hilton, Isabel. (1999). The Search for the Panchen Lama. Viking Books. Reprint: Penguin Books. (2000), pp. 39–40. ISBN 0-14-024670-3.
  53. ^ Laird (2006), p. 139.
  54. ^ Norbu & Turnbull (1968), pp. 228–230. Reprint: p. 311.
  55. ^ Hilton, Isabel. (1999). The Search for the Panchen Lama. Viking Books. Reprint: Penguin Books. (2000), p. 42. ISBN 0-14-024670-3.
  56. ^ "The Dalai Lama's Succession Rethink". Time World. 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  57. ^ "Dalai Lama's confirmation of reincarnation". Tibet Travel info. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  58. ^ a b The title "Dalai Lama" was conferred posthumously to the 1st and 2nd Dalai Lamas.
  59. ^ a b "Chronology of Events". His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  60. ^ Chapman, F. Spencer. (1940). Lhasa: The Holy City, p. 127. Readers Union Ltd. London.
  61. ^ Mullin 2001, p. 276
  62. ^ Glenn H. Mullin, "Faces of the Dalai Lama: Reflections on the Man and the Tradition," Quest, vol. 6, no. 3, Autumn 1993, p. 80.
  63. ^ Verhaegen (2002), p. 5.
  64. ^ Interview with Tashi Wangdi, David Shankbone, Wikinews, November 14, 2007.
  65. ^ "Dalai's reincarnation will not be found under Chinese control". Government of Tibet in Exile. [dead link]
  66. ^ Dalai Lama may forgo death before reincarnation, Jeremy Page, The Australian, November 29, 2007.
  67. ^ "Dalai's reincarnation will not be found under Chinese control". Government of Tibet in Exile ex Indian Express July 6, 1999. [dead link]
  68. ^ Kaplan Robert, Foreign Affairs, "The Geography of Chinese Power"
  69. ^ Haas, Michaela (2013-04-15). "A Female Dalai Lama? Why It Matters". The Huffington Post. 
  70. ^ Puri, Bharati (2006) "Engaged Buddhism - The Dalai Lama's Worldview" New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006
  71. ^ Haas, Michaela (2013). "Dakini Power: Twelve Extraordinary Women Shaping the Transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West." Shambhala Publications. ISBN 1559394072
  72. ^ Bindley, Katherine (2013-04-24). "Dalai Lama Says He Would Support A Woman Successor". The Huffington Post. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Donald S. Jr., eds. (2014). Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691157863. 
  • Dowman, Keith (1988). The power-places of Central Tibet : the pilgrim's guide. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 0-7102-1370-0. 
  • Laird, Thomas (2006). The story of Tibet : conversations with the Dalai Lama (1st ed. ed.). New York: Grove Press. ISBN 978-0-8021-1827-1. 
  • Richardson, Hugh E. (1984). Tibet and its history (2nd ed., rev. and updated. ed.). Boston: Shambhala. ISBN 978-0877733768. 
  • McKay, A. (2003). History of Tibet. RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 978-0-7007-1508-4. 
  • Silver, Murray (2005). When Elvis Meets the Dalai Lama (1st ed. ed.). Savannah, GA: Bonaventture. ISBN 978-0972422444. 
  • Norbu, Thubten Jigme; Turnbull, Colin M. (1968). Tibet. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-20559-5. 
  • Schulemann, Günther (1958). Die Geschichte der Dalai Lamas. Leipzig: Veb Otto Harrassowitz. ISBN 978-3530500011. 
  • Sheel, R N Rahul (1989). "The Institution of the Dalai Lama". The Tibet Journal 15 (3). 
  • Smith, Warren W. (1997). Tibetan Nation; A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations. New Delhi: HarperCollins. ISBN 0813331552. 
  • Stein, R. A. (1972). Tibetan civilization ([English ed.]. ed.). Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-8047-0901-7. 
  • Diki Tsering (2001). Dalai Lama, my son : a mother's story. London: Virgin. ISBN 0-7535-0571-1. 
  • Veraegen, Ardy (2002). The Dalai Lamas : the Institution and its history. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld. ISBN 978-8124602027. 
  • Ya, Hanzhang (1991). The biographies of the Dalai Lamas (1st ed. ed.). Beijing: Foreign Language Press. ISBN 978-7119012674. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Dalai Lama. (1991) Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama. San Francisco, CA.
  • Goodman, Michael H. (1986). The Last Dalai Lama. Shambhala Publications. Boston, MA.
  • Mullin, Glenn H. (2001). The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation. Clear Light Publishers. Santa Fe, NM. ISBN 1-57416-092-3.
  • Harrer, Heinrich (1951) Seven Years in Tibet: My Life Before, During and After

External links[edit]