Talk:14th Dalai Lama

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Former good article nominee 14th Dalai Lama was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for 14th Dalai Lama:
  • Add information about religious role and policies.
  • Add note on correct pronunciation of "Dalai"

"Dalai Lamas are amongst the head monks of the Gelug school"[edit]

I'm a bit confused by this. Isn't the Dalai Lama the head monk? --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 19:42, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

No, the Dalai Lama is by far the most prestigious and influential monk the Geluk school, but he is officially the head monk. – Greg Pandatshang (talk) 19:19, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Ask any Tibetan or any Gelugpa and they will say the Gelug head monk is the Ganden Tripa (Holder of the Golden Throne of Ganden), which the Dalai Lama is not nor ever has been. It is a common misconception in the west, and oft repeated, that the Dalai Lama is 'the' head monk of the Gelug school, but who would say that these western observers know better than the Tibetans and the Gelugpas themselves? It is their system! Notwithstanding his non-head-monk status within the Gelug tradition, he is widely recognised by most Tibetans as the overall spiritual leader of the Tibetan ,which is another role altogether. In addition, he is not even the 'head monk' (or abbot) of his own personal monastery, Namgyal. MacPraughan (talk) 13:32, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
If you ask the Ganden Tripa, he will say Dalai Lama is the head.VictoriaGraysonTalk 16:43, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, you are right VictoriaGrayson, I agree that if anyone asked the Ganden Tripa "who is the overall head of Tibetan Buddhism?" he would certainly respond "it's the Dalai Lama", being the generally acknowledged spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, and over the Ganden Tripa in that respect, but he would also clarify that the Dalai Lama always fully respects the Gaden Tripa's specific and defined roles and responsibilities as the appointed sole head monk of the Gelug school; the main role apparently being to act as the main lineage-holder of Je Tsongkhapa's teachings (see Ganden Tripa for more details). I hope this helps get things in the right perspective. MacPraughan (talk) 11:45, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
In my original comment above, I wrote “he is officially the head monk” but I meant to say “he is not officially the head monk”. In hindsight, though, I wonder what the authoritative source is for this information. I think I learned it primarily from Wikipedia. I’m not even sure what an authoritative source would be. I guess if we have the current Ganden Tripa and the Dalai Lama both on record addressing this question in so many words, and if they give the same answer, that would pretty much settle it. All I can say for sure is that the Ganden Tripa is a prestigious Geluk position that was around before the Dalai Lamas were prominent. – Greg Pandatshang (talk) 21:18, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

So, the position in this question is quite clear: it is as described in the first para of Dalai Lama, which adds up, explains the confusion about this point and makes perfect sense. This being so, why has the respected user called Skyerise now changed the relevant corrected text in the first para of this article back to revert to the incorrect version, stating: "Dalai Lamas are the head monks of the Gelug school"? Skyerise, I think your other edits you did here are very good and I agree with them, but perhaps you are not fully aware of the facts on this particular point. It is, admittedly, a little confusing, unless you see the structure as described in Dalai Lama. I hesitate to undo anyone's edits so perhaps Skyerise would kindly come forth and either show how the stated facts in Dalai Lama are wrong, or kindly accept the position and undo his own edit here? Many thanks! MacPraughan (talk) 16:17, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

I don't think I made the change you refer to. I just reworded what was there to avoid having to have "Tibetan Buddhism" in the same sentence twice. Nonetheless, the Dalai Lama is the head of the Gelug school, and as far as I know, has no authority whatsoever in the other schools. If you want to assert that the DL is considered a "head monk" by the Nyingma, Kagyu, or Shakya schools, do you have sources that explicitly state that? Skyerise (talk) 19:28, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Skyerise.VictoriaGraysonTalk 20:15, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks VictoriaGrayson and Skyerise, I will try to improve my work and get back with some wording you will find more acceptable. I appreciate your encouragement and your high standards, I am new to Wiki, and on a learning curve, so thanks again for your criticism I will take it as constructive and go back to the drawing board, it's all a good training exercise for me. MacPraughan (talk) 12:30, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
And Skyerise, firstly, your last revision did change the text in para 1 from "The DLs are the head monks of Tibetan Buddhism" to "The DLs are the head monks of the Gelug school" (it's there in the history) and secondly, I didn't assert anywhere that 'the D.L. is the head of the Nyingma' or any other Tibetan Buddhist tradition; I just stated the widely accepted fact that he's the overall spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism, and, if you go to any major teaching or initiation in India given by the D.L. you will usually see all the leading lamas of all the different schools lined up on lower thrones to listen to him. It's analogous to how the Pope is the supreme spiritual authority for all Catholics, and personally belongs to the Jesuit order, which is currently as of 2015 headed by not Pope Francis but Adolfo Nicolas; each Catholic order of priests, monks, nuns etc having its own leadership but all deferring to the Pope. So there is a precedent for the Dalai Lama situation as put forth. Anyway, I'll check out more citations to make it more clear, so thanks for your criticism anyway, it is helping me learn more quickly and I appreciate your interest in getting this right and showing me the way. MacPraughan (talk) 12:30, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
"head monks of the gelug school" is verifiably false and poor bad research. The Ganden Tripa is the head of the Gelug school. This is massively available in RS. I simply searched on google books "Ganden Tripa" and found source after source verifying this. "The Ganden Tripa is the nominal head of the Gelugpa order, the highest post among the Gelugpa."( Snelling, in " The Buddhist Handbook: A Complete Guide to Buddhist Schools, Teaching.." on 287 calls Ling Rinpoche, "Abbot of Ganden Monastery and head of Gelugpa School". In "The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art", the author calls Tsongkhapa "The Ganden Tripa..The first Throne-holder of Ganden". David Kay in "Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in Britain: Transplantation, Development and Adaptation" explains that the Dalai Lama "Though not the formal head of the Gelug order – this position being reserved for the abbot of Ganden monastery, known as the Ganden Tripa (dGa'ldan Khripa)". So on and so on. Prasangika37 (talk) 13:53, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks Prasangika37, in general I for one do agree with you, but you quote at least one misconception. The position of Ganden Tripa has little to do with being the abbot of Ganden monastery, although it is possible that a former abbot of Ganden can become the Ganden Tripa, but only provided that he has also acted as abbot of either Gyuto, or Gyume, Tantric College.
This has been well researched now with the Gelug authorities in Dharamsala and the detailed official procedure for appointment of the Ganden Tripa, taken from a Norbulingka journal called Me-Long (November 2011 issue), has now been published on his own Wikipedia article, Ganden Tripa Mode of Appointment. Nevertheless, whilst being the undisputed holder of the post of "Supreme Head of the Gelug School" and so forth, the Ganden Tripa's only responsibility is said to be to teach; and it is the Dalai Lama alone who appoints the Gelug abbots - including the Gyuto and Gyume abbots from whom all the Ganden Tripas are drawn. Thanks for your help in clarifying this rather tricky Tibetan matter! It seems that just because the Dalai Lama is seen to be making all the major decisions, and everyone defers to him as "the Boss", people say he is 'the head of the Gelugpas', which is understandable; nevertheless, it is the Tibetans' and the Gelugpas' own system, and if they have it that the Ganden Tripa is the head Monk, then so be it - it's just that the Dalai Lama wields all the power of appointing abbots, and the Supreme Head just teaches. Go figure! MacPraughan (talk) 13:47, 5 May 2015 (UTC a
By the way Prasangika37 there is a similar statement in the Dalai Lama saying the same thing that you might like to change as well. I did it myself before but others, Skyerise and VictoriaGrayson have reverted it. Maybe they will have more respect for you. MacPraughan (talk) 21:38, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
The problem I had with your version was that it said "Dalai Lamas are the head monks of Tibetan Buddhism" which is even more incorrect that saying he is among the head monks of the Gelug school. Sources call him the "spiritual leader" of Tibetan Buddhism, but he has no chain of authority outside the Gelug school. Also, there is a reason Ganden Tripa is referred to as the nominal head. It's true, he's the "official" head monk, but the Dalai Lama is effectively the head when it comes to decision making. Skyerise (talk) 22:22, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Skyerise, for getting back to me. What I wrote was put there as a direct quotation from the citation from BBC, which started off with those very words, and I thought a seriously researched BBC religious information article covering the role of the Dalai Lama would be acceptable in Wikipedia as a solid citation and as a basis for a statement like this in Wikipedia. See Now someone has reverted to "the Dalai Lama is amongst the head monks of the Geluga school" but the BBC citation I thought I put there saying differently has been removed and no citation has been put there in its place, where a citation is really needed, I would have thought. I have checked personally with the Tibetologist author of the citation quoted at the end of the sentence and he confirms by email that his book page 129 only confirms that the Gelug is the newest sect of Tibetan Buddhism and makes no mention about the status of the Dalai Lama. Now, on the basis that the Dalai Lama personally appoints every abbot of every Gelug monastery, and that the heads of all the other schools look to the Dalai Lama to approve not only their own appointed heads of school but also to approve the recognition of the senior tulkus of their non-Gelugpa schools, he is definitely the overall head monk. The heads of all the other schools always can be seen to sit on lower thrones at the Dalai Lama's major teachings in India, whereas he is never seen even attending anyone else's teachings because they all defer to him and out of respect they would never dream of being seen to be teaching him in public; neither would he embarrass them by turning up at their teachings. I thought informed people would know all that and acknowledge him as head monk of Tibet or spiritual leader or whatever you want to call it. I agree with you that the Ganden Tripa is nominated or nominal head of the Gelugpa even though his only responsibility is to teach and it's the Dalai Lama who appoints all the abbots including the abbots of Gyuto and Gyume - the senior-most retired abbots of which being the only two candidates, one of whom is appointed as the Ganden Tripa every seven years on an alternating basis, when the incumbent's tenure is over. MacPraughan (talk) 11:54, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Short answers:
  1. BBC is indeed wrong, we need academic sources.
  2. Other schools are not "lower" in any way to Gelug. - except maybe to the Gelug.
  3. Citations cover entire sentences, not just the last clause
  4. There should be no citations in the lead at all, anyway, since it should only be summarizing points cited in the article body.
Skyerise (talk) 13:02, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Your item 2 is unclear to me, at least, Skyerise, please explain. I did not wish to imply that the other schools are "lower" than the Gelug (far be it from me!), I just stated the observed fact that all the heads of all the traditions defer to the Dalai Lama in the ways I mentioned; my implication if any was that this is done not because he is a Gelugpa but because he is acknowledged as the supreme spiritual authority of Tibetan Buddhism by the vast majority of Tibetan Buddhists - including by the heads of all the traditions. Right? I am researching an academic citation to substantiate this impression. MacPraughan (talk) 13:44, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
If you want an academic source to confirm Dalai Lamas are not the head monks of the Gelug, I have found a good one, Dr Alexander Berzin. He is quite categorical here.[1] Hope this settles the discussion amicably. Thanks for the encouragement. MacPraughan (talk) 15:35, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
How about we say something like "The Dalai Lama is the most prestigious and influential leader of the Geluk school and is highly influential in Tibetan Buddhism generally." – Greg Pandatshang (talk) 15:15, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Then according to Skyerise, we need an academic citation to that effect, Greg Pandatshang. It seems no matter what is written, or how it is substantiated, someone will find grounds to object. The Tibetans must be chuckling over the Injis' attempts to fit their system within a western structure. Either we define them according to western Cartesian concepts, or accept what they say themselves about how they organise their system, even if it seems illogical to some. Perhaps the best way would be to give all sides of the argument succinctly and let readers make up their own minds. How about something like this:
"While a few non-Buddhist[cite example] and western sources[cite example] are sure that "the Dalai Lama is the head monk of the Gelug school", other western sources[cite example] including the Office of the Dalai Lama himself,[cite DL's office] say this position is attained and held on merit only by the person appointed as the Ganden Tripa, who, as of 2015, is Rizong Rinpoche.[cite U.S.A. news report] Dictionaries and other reliable sources also state that the Dalai Lama is regarded instead as the ‘spiritual head’ or ‘head monk’ of Tibetan Buddhism.[cite examples] Since all the non-Gelug schools have their own independent leaders, this assertion is questioned by some westerners,[cite example] but it could be said to be roughly analogous to the way the Pope has ultimate authority over all Catholic orders,[citation] which all have their own individual leaderships, including the Jesuits, whose leader is not the Pope, who happens to be a Jesuit himself,[citation] just as the Dalai Lama is a Gelugpa monk but not the "Head" of the order."
All necessary citations are on hand to support all these different views but as Skyerise says, the lead should not have any citations, it should summarise what goes below. Therefore, this new paragraph on the issue can be added under sections 6 or 7 (controversy, or public image), and in the lead say "he is a this, or he is a that", what do you think? Trying to establish a compromise that is correct according to guidelines. MacPraughan (talk) 13:11, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, Prasangika. Those are good sources and I think they will be useful for the article. Even better sources would be if we can find a scholar addressing in detail the Dalai Lamas, the Ganden Tripas, their respective roles in the Geluk sect, and how those roles have been presented and described by various parties. – Greg Pandatshang (talk) 04:10, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

Thanks to VictoriaGrayson for clarifying my confusing language again, and for kindly acknowledging in her edit that the Dalai Lama is not the head of the Gelug tradition. MacPraughan (talk) 14:49, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Dondrub or Thondup[edit]

The first sentence names him as Lhamo Dondrub but later he becomes Thondup. It would seem to me that the usage of the article would be introduced in the lede, rather than using a name in the lede only to reject it later. I suggest we pick one, and put it in the lede with an alternative spelling in brackets, once and then forgotten). --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 19:45, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

I agree: it should be consistent and it doesn't need to be mentioned very much. The name in question is spelled various ways in English texts. It should be Dhöndrup in the Tournadre system, Döndrup in the THL system, or Toinzhub in Tibetan Pinyin, but most writers don't go by any system. The first consonant is pronounced like a /t/. We just need to pick something. – Greg Pandatshang (talk) 19:26, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

recognized and enthroned[edit]

The lede says "he was only formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15." Later the article says "Lhamo Thondup was recognised formally as the reincarnated Dalai Lama ... although he was not formally enthroned as the Dalai Lama until the age of 15." In the context, this follows immediately after his recognition as tulku. So was he recognized formally at an early age? or only at age 15? --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 19:48, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Definitely the former. What whoever wrote this had in mind is the fact that the Dalai Lama assumed political power (as monarch with no regent) in 1950 when he as 15 years old. Thus, he had a political enthronement at that time. He had certainly been recognised as a small boy much earlier than that. – Greg Pandatshang (talk) 19:29, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, on the 'Chronology of Events' on the Dalai Lama's own website ( it is written: "1939: Public Declaration of the Official Recognition of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama near town of Bumchen". And he ought to know! MacPraughan (talk) 13:38, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

"Gays and...gays"? Lesbians "aren't homosexual"? "Videos and DVDs"? "Colors and reds"? "Numbers and 4s"? "Shapes and circles"? HUH?[edit]

I found an errant phrase, "gays and lesbians," which, because of the conjunction (an "and" or an "or") separating the two, gives the idea of "one and the other," hence the clearly false implication that "lesbians are not gay," just like saying "videos and DVDs," since DVDs are videos. It's like saying "colors and reds;" that implies that red "is not a color"! Or it's like people think that the word "gay" only applies to men, as if it were sex-specific like the word "lesbian" is, even though that's not true.

So if I replace that falsehood with "gay women and men," or, even more concisely, just "gay people," why should that, which is correct and actually makes real sense, be reverted in favor of the nonsensical version's return just because the vandal doesn't get what the improvement is?

Springing Up (talk) 04:07, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

The real problem is, you're being a jerk over nothing, newbie. Skyerise (talk) 04:10, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Nope, skye, wanting things to make sense (by not saying something illogical like "gay people and gay women" as if lesbians "aren't homosexual" so they "can't be included under 'gay'") is not being a "dick" (the uncivil term you originally used) or being a jerk (the uncivil term you replaced that with for some reason). It's simply wanting things to make as much logical sense as they should. Why do you feel "eliminated" if we just say "homosexual people"?
(Oh yeah, I forgot to sign this one too. Springing Up (talk) 05:06, 23 April 2015 (UTC))
Yawn. Please don't intersperse comments unless you sign each one. It's a matter of self-identification and sources. Against your "logic" and "always rightness", despite the fact that you've been here, what 3 days, and choose to pick a fight with a ten year veteran with 85,000 edits? Back off. This is not a video game, chum. Skyerise (talk) 05:03, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Uh, nope, I'm not the one picking a fight, chum. Look who's being uncivil here. And I never claimed to be "always right," either. I was simply using basic logic to form a phrase that makes sense.
Springing Up (talk) 05:06, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Except that everyone understands perfectly what the source means when it says "gays and lesbians" — and all without any interference or enlightenment about logic by you. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Skyerise (talk) 05:13, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Oh, and I forgot to say that it's like they think that "gay" means "homosexual" only for men, which isn't correct, even if they supposedly "understand what it means." Where did they get that false idea from, and then start the ball rolling with it, anyway?
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But since it is broken, fix it. Springing Up (talk) 06:08, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

First, the cited source, as well as LGBT organizations, use the terms "gays and lesbians." The idea that this is confusing or illogical is dubious. Second, another editor disagreeing with you does not make her a vandal. Please treat other editors in a civil manner and discuss disputes rather than calling names. Particularly distressing on the Dalai Lama article to have you both resorting to name-calling rather than discussing the dispute. Laszlo Panaflex (talk) 04:18, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
I never said anything about "confusion." It is, however, still illogical, because "[one] AND [the other]" is to say that one is not the other; they are separate things. You can't understand that "gay" already means "homosexual" and is not sex-specific like "lesbian" is only for women? What's "wrong" with just replacing that with the term "homosexual people"? Springing Up (talk) 04:59, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Springing Up: You are being unnecessarily argumentative, particularly when several editors disagree with you. Perhaps you'd prefer to go argue with the term LGBT, as it employs the same problem you are (oddly) trying to resolve here. And Skyerise, please review the policy WP:BITE. You would both do well to review WP:NPA. WP is a collaborative effort, not a brawl. Sheesh, Laszlo Panaflex (talk) 05:19, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

You know, the real problem with WP:BITE is that it presumes that all new editors are equally valuable. Some, however, make their non-agenda obvious fairly early. Me, I don't care if I drive off the trolls. Skyerise (talk) 05:26, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
The problem, skyerise, is that you have not been driving off trolls here, because you're still here. There's no other troll in this scene just because I'm trying to make an article more logically correct. Springing Up (talk) 05:50, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Disagree with me or not, Laszlo Panaflex and others, I don't see what the holy-freak "big deal" is with using a clean, short, encompassing term like "homosexual people" (yes, that includes lesbians and men who are also gay) when that's cleaner, more logical, and also does not eliminate or belittle women. But no, wanting to make that cleaner is not "odd." And yeah, the "LGBT" term, though it had unfortunately already gained a stronghold, isn't really correct either. It does have that same problem, but this article and others with this in it are easier to fix than the error that growing community has already used for a while. What's the big deal with just saying "homosexual people" or "gay people"? Why this "precious" need for women to be separately named from general?
Whatever makes your people feel validated and "floats your boats," I guess, skye....
But no, Lazlo I wouldn't need to be reading something about personal attacks, because I was not delivering any. I guess, for whatever reason, because of vocal minority, the Wikipedia can't be as cleanly worded as it would without them.... Springing Up (talk) 05:50, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Short answer: because it's about people who have identificational preferences, something legitimate journalists and other writers know and adapt to. Something other people are sensitive to, and don't presume their "logic" is so exalted that it trumps another whole class of person's preferred terms of identification. Who do you think you are??? God? Trying to fix "gays and lesbians"? There's nothing wrong with them. :-) Skyerise (talk) 05:56, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
I wasn't trying to fix gay people (homosexual women and men). I was trying to fix the error in that terminology. Why do you guys, skye and other lesbians, feel like it's so important to be identified as "lesbians" specifically instead of just part of homosexual people in general? If men don't, and they're people too, why do women? What's the supposed "advantage" for women?
Springing Up (talk) 06:01, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Why do you object to the term so strenuously? Are you planning on fixing every article on Wikiepdia when they aren't broken? It's not an error in terminology. It's an error in your thinking and feelings. Feel free to not stick around. Thanks. Skyerise (talk) 06:04, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
How about you answer my question first? No, it's not an error in my feelings. Yes, the terminology doesn't really work, so it is "broken." Why is the phrase "gays and lesbians," which is like saying "gay people, and gay people who are women," or or "there are homosexual people, and then there are something that's different from homosexual people: the lesbians" (whatever that supposed "difference" is), which is a redundancy or an ignorance, or both, so "correct" to you? And then my question from above: how about answering that?
And since that separate identity is so important to you guys, then why not just insert the word "other," as in "lesbians and other gays"? Springing Up (talk) 06:11, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Springing Up, the standard and correct terminology for LGBTQ people is "gay and lesbian." This is not a debatable point. Now please stop behaving like a troll; your behavior has become disruptive. Montanabw(talk) 17:58, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ 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