Dalai Lama

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Dalai Lama
Tenzin Gyatso, the current 14th Dalai Lama (2012)
Current incarnation of the Dalai Lama
Tenzin Gyatso
since February 20, 1940
Official seat Until 1959: Potala Palace , Tibet
Since 1959: Dharamsala , India
Term of office for lifetime
Head of Until 1959 de jure and de facto : Tibet
1959-2011 de jure: Tibet
1959-2011 de facto: Tibetan government in exile
Last enthronement of a reincarnation February 22, 1940
website www.dalailama.com

Dalai Lama ( Tibetan ཏཱ་ ལའི་ བླ་ མ་ , Wylie : ta la'i bla ma ; often translated as “ocean-like teacher”) is the title of the highest trülku within the hierarchy of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism . It was first awarded as an honorary title in 1578 by the Mongolian prince Altan Khan to his spiritual teacher Sönam Gyatsho . The formal designation is His Holiness , the direct address is Your Holiness .

The current 14th Dalai Lama is the Buddhist monk Tenzin Gyatso .



The Dalai Lama is understood in Tibetan Buddhism as a Bodhisattva , as an enlightened being who reincarnated out of compassion , that is: consciously re-entered - for example - human existence. Although enlightened ones can leave the cycle of rebirth , bodhisattvas vow to voluntarily take on their rebirth in order to alleviate the suffering of other sentient beings ( bodhisattva vows ).

Dalai Lamas are considered emanations of Avalokiteshvaras (Tib. T རས་ གཟིགས; spyan ras gzigs ; Chenresig), the Bodhisattva of compassion who appears on earth as a person (see also: Nirmāṇakāya ).

Contrary to a widespread misunderstanding, the Dalai Lama is not the spiritual head of the Gelug School; this is the position held by the Ganden Thripa .


According to Tibetan tradition, a Dalai Lama is considered a trülku (Tib .: སྤྲུལ་ སྐུ; sprul sku , high-ranking "born again", specifically as the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvaras).

Believers believe that after the death of a Dalai Lama, his rebirth can be found. For this purpose, the order's leadership often authorizes several search commissions made up of high-ranking monks . The fourteenth Dalai Lama was found and recognized by one of three commissions according to a vision of the regent Jampel Yeshe Gyeltshen at Lhamo Lhatso and other omens.

After the decision for one of the candidates has been made, the child is officially declared the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama. It traditionally received a monastic education in Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan culture, language , writing , calligraphy and general knowledge. The Penchen Lama , who had been in a teacher-student relationship at the Gelug School since the time of Lobsang Chökyi Gyeltshen to the Dalai Lama , also played a role in this training .


Mongolian origin

The honorary title of Dalai Lama ( Mongolian Dalai.PNG , Dalai , for Tibetan རྒྱ་ མཚོ Gyatso , both “ocean”) was first bestowed on Sönam Gyatsho in 1578 when he went on a mission trip for a few months at the invitation of the Prince of the Tümed Mongols Altan Khan went to his court. He reciprocated and in turn awarded the Mongol prince an honorary title. In this way he placed the kingdom of Altan Khan under his spiritual protection and in return secured its support in the fight of his order for supremacy against the rival Lamaist schools. Since the two predecessors Sönam Gyatshos were subsequently recognized as the Dalai Lama, he himself counts as the third Dalai Lama after the Buddhist abbot Gendün Drub (1391–1474) and Gendün Gyatsho (1475–1542).

Exercise of state sovereignty

When the West Mongolian prince Gushri Khan , who saw himself as the patron of the Dalai Lama (then Ngawang Lobsang Gyatsho , the 5th Dalai Lama), conquered central Tibet in a war lasting several years and became the last king of Tsang on February 7, 1642 after taking the city of Shigatse Tenkyong Wangpo (1606–1642) captured, he first proclaimed himself ruler of Tibet. On May 3, 1642, in a solemn ceremony, he declared the Dalai Lama to be the supreme authority of all of Tibet, "from Dajianlu (see also Kardze ) in the east to Ladakh in the west". The political power of the government of Ganden Phodrang (tib .: དགའ་ ལྡན་ ཕོ་ བྲང; dga 'ldan pho brang ) should be exercised by a "desi" (tib .: སྡེ་ སྲིད; sde srid ; regent), who with the Powers of a prime minister .

Consequences of the first vacancy

When the 5th Dalai Lama died on April 2, 1682, a difficult situation arose for the government of Tibet. She had to go in search of his reincarnation, a newborn child, had to give this child a first-class upbringing and training and had to wait until he was of legal age until his rule over the country as the 6th Dalai Lama could be assumed. For so long, an entire generation, Tibet and its government had to do without a head of state . One could assume that neighboring peoples, but also forces within, would use this time of a certain power vacuum to their advantage and to the disadvantage of Tibet. In order to prevent this, the 5th Dalai Lama instructed Desi Sanggye Gyatsho (1653–1705) while still on the death bed to keep his death a secret until the work on the Potala Palace was completed. Apparently this happened with the approval and support of all important court officials and clergymen. In order to maintain the appearance, a public appearance or an audience had to be staged for Mongolian dignitaries from time to time. Depending on the circumstances, his ceremonial robe was placed on the throne in the audience hall or a suitable monk had to double the sovereign . The training of the 6th Dalai Lama also suffered from the need for secrecy. Only keepers of secrets were allowed to know who he was. It was not until 1696, a year after the completion of the Potala Palace, that the Desi announced that the Dalai Lama had died in 1682 and presented a 13-year-old boy as his reincarnation. Both the allied Mongols and the Chinese emperor ( Kangxi ), who appreciated the Dalai Lama and his teachings, but experienced the Tibetan politics of the past few years as anti-China, felt betrayed. Confidence in the Dalai Lama's institution was severely shaken.

The attempt to keep the death of a Dalai Lama a secret was no longer made after these experiences. However, in the following two centuries it became normal, as a look at the list below shows, that state affairs in Tibet were conducted by regents as long as the respective Dalai Lama was still a minor. Many of them died at a young age.

Confusion over the 6th Dalai Lama

The turmoil that initially led to the dismissal of the 6th Dalai Lama Tshangyang Gyatsho and later on that Tibet came under Chinese influence are worth reporting .

Since the secret death of the 5th Dalai Lama and also after the enthronement of Tshangyang Gyatsho, the Desi has been practicing Tibetan power politics by playing off various Mongolian tribes against each other and against China. Unfortunately for him, in 1696 the Mongolian tribe of the Djungars , on whom he relied, was decisively defeated by the troops of the Chinese emperor. As a result, the Chinese in turn played off other Mongolian tribes against the Desi. In view of the deception just revealed in connection with the death of the 5th Dalai Lama, this was not difficult.

The 6th Dalai Lama did not live up to the religious expectations placed in him. He lived a very permissive life. When the Desi tried to murder his friend Tshangyang Gyatshos, who accompanied him on his debauchery, this led to a break with the regent and ultimately to the fact that he was released from all vows in 1702 by the 5th Penchen Lama Lobsang Yeshe in Trashilhünpo Monastery returned to the lay state. The dignity of the Dalai Lama remained with him. Even if the clergy were dissatisfied with him, with every further escapade he only became more popular with the common people. The tensions with the Mongols, who were religiously oriented towards the Dalai Lama and who viewed the conditions at his court as unworthy, increased dramatically after the Dalai Lama was laicized. They led to the resignation of Desi and finally, as he continued to pull the strings in the background, to his beheading and the occupation of Tibet by the Mongol tribes allied with the emperor in 1705. The Dalai Lama was inviolable to both the emperor and the Mongols and yet he was in their way. They spread that he was not the real reincarnation and that he had wrongly usurped the position of the Dalai Lama. In order to overthrow him, however, the lever was not used in his frivolous way of life, but accused of heresy . He endangers the teaching of the ruling Gelug school. In June 1706 the Khan had him fetched from the Potala Palace and formally declared him deposed. With a special envoy of the emperor he was taken on the way to the imperial court in Beijing. He died en route on November 14, 1706.

Since 1706 the Mongol Labsang Khan officially acted as regent in Lhasa and declared that since the Dalai Lama was not real, the real one has yet to be found. The following year he presented a monk born in 1686 who was enthroned as the 7th Dalai Lama by the 5th Penchen Lama under the name Yeshe Gyatsho. However, doubts soon arose as to its authenticity. Nevertheless, this Dalai Lama was officially recognized by the emperor in 1710. He ordered all Tibetans to obey Labsang Khan and the Dalai Lama. In return, the Khan undertook to pay an annual tribute.

A new conflict broke out when it became known that an incarnation of Tshangyang Gyatsho had been found in the area of Lithang ( Kham ) in eastern Tibet . After the recognition by the monks of Litang as the 7th Dalai Lama, the child's popularity continued to grow, so that in 1714, before the khan, who continued to rely on Yeshe Gyatsho, moved east to safety in the Dêgê monastery has been. The emperor was brought up with the confused situation. He finally decided that the boy would be taken to the great Kumbum Monastery in August 1716 .

In 1717 the Djungarian ruler took the chance to oust Labsang Khan and the Mongol tribes allied with the emperor from Tibet. He advanced into Tibet with a strong army, pretended to Labsang Khan that he was coming as an ally in the war against Bhutan , but during the march he spread to the Tibetans that he was only fighting for the establishment of the legitimate 7th Dalai Lama. In doing so, he drew many Tibetans to his side. But the troop sent by the Djungars to Kumbum Monastery to fetch the 7th Dalai Lama was defeated. Nonetheless, Lhasa was captured before the end of the year, with Labsang Khan falling in battle. The Dalai Lama Yeshe Gyatsho, whom he sponsored, was deposed and later deported to China. As Labsang Khan's followers still ruled parts of Tibet, the country's unity had disintegrated. There was disappointment that the 7th Dalai Lama had not been freed from Kumbum, contrary to promises, and that the Djungars could only survive in Lhasa with a tyranny.

Subordination to Imperial China

The emperor sent a strong army to Tibet. This escorted the 12-year-old 7th Dalai Lama Kelsang Gyatsho to Lhasa on October 16, 1720. On April 24, 1721, an embassy of the emperor brought the official recognition of the Dalai Lama and on this occasion had the large state seal presented on which trilingual in Manchu, Mongolian and Tibetan read: "Seal of the Sixth" (!) "Dalai Lama "Leader of living beings, disseminator of doctrine". As a government body, they abolished the office of Desi and set up a Council of Ministers (Tib .: བཀའ་ ཤག; bka 'shag ; Kashag). The chairman and his deputy were appointed by the emperor. Tibet was now under the direct sovereignty of the empire. The imperial army soon withdrew, but a garrison of 3,000 men remained in Lhasa.

When in 1727 the chairman of the Council of Ministers was murdered by the ministers (Tib .: བཀའ་ བློན; bka 'blon ; Kalön) and his deputy escaped them, new unrest broke out. Again the emperor ( Yongzheng ) sent an army and restored law and order. In a show trial, the emperor had the conspirators, including the Dalai Lama's father, convicted. The Dalai Lama and his father were exiled to Garthar near their home in Litang for seven years . In order to prevent further unrest, the emperor strengthened the position of the chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister), to which the previous deputy was appointed. However, he was given two ambans , Chinese residents who were directly subordinate to the emperor. At the behest of the emperor, the 7th Dalai Lama was brought to Lhasa by a Chinese escort after his exile and was able to move back into the Potala Palace on September 3, 1735. His powers were limited to the spiritual realm.

The prime minister died on March 12, 1747. His son inherited him in this office, but soon began to conspire against Beijing , made secret contacts with the Djungars and was then stabbed to death on November 11, 1750 by the Ambanen, who in turn were stabbed by the angry Mob were murdered. In the unrest that followed, the Dalai Lama took over the position of Ambane and declared that they had acted right. He appointed a new prime minister and imprisoned the riot leader. He then reported the events to the emperor. On February 7, 1751, the latter gave the Dalai Lama both spiritual and political control over Tibet. The four-man Kashag was subordinated to him as a government body . The position of the imperial ambane was further strengthened. They could intervene directly in Tibetan politics, as important decisions depended on their consent.

Immediately after the death of the 7th Dalai Lama on March 22, 1757, the Kashag and other high dignitaries decided to appoint a Gyeltshab (Tib .: རྒྱལ་ ཚབ; rgyal tshab ) as regent, who would exercise worldly rule until the 8th The Dalai Lama had been found and reached the age of majority. The regent so appointed was confirmed by the emperor. When the 8th Dalai Lama Jampel Gyatsho came of age, the Gyeltshab abdicated and handed over secular power to him with the imperial seal on July 21, 1781. However, the Dalai Lama showed so little skill in the successful invasion of the Gurkhas , who had gained power in Nepal, in 1788 that the emperor withdrew his powers of government and appointed a regent again. The emperor cleared the military situation with a campaign .

Golden urn and low life expectancy

In the imperial palace it was suspected that the discovery ritual of the great incarnations, especially the Dalai Lama and the Penchen Lama, was threatened with abuse. The emperor ordered the Tibetan state oracle of the Nechung monastery to be consulted about all the boys under consideration. Under the supervision of an imperial amban, the oracle was to choose three boys. The choice from these three names was to be made by the regent in the presence of the Ambans by drawing lots from a golden urn . Furthermore, those who had the right to announce the place of reincarnation were forbidden to refer to children from the deceased's immediate family, a Mongolian khan, high-ranking princes, nobles or military commanders in chief. In the period that followed, there were repeated attempts to circumvent these unpopular imperial rules, especially the lottery procedure, but the imperial court continued to do so and reprimanded all violations. With cunning or luck, however, a Dalai Lama was always determined in the lottery, whom the traditional ritual would also have identified. The fact that the 9th to 12th Dalai Lama died at a young age, some of them under unexplained circumstances, gave enough opportunity to use the golden urn. Even if some of them were given the government shortly before their death, it can be said that from 1788 onwards Tibet was ruled only by regents for more than a hundred years.

Waning imperial power in Tibet

Only the 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatsho was allowed to exercise secular power in Tibet again from September 26, 1895 to December 17, 1933. Before he took office, the great lamas and the Kashag overthrew the regent, whose loyalty to the emperor was ultimately the most important pillar of imperial power in Tibet.

Since the campaign against the Nepalese Gurkhas in 1792, the emperor had not been able to actively protect Tibet against external threats. The Middle Kingdom fell from one state of weakness into the next, after the 1st Opium War against the British (1839–1842) came the Taiping Rebellion and a British-French military expedition (1851–1864) and then the Sino-Japanese War (1894 -1895). Much happened in Tibet during this time: riots broke out, which were ended with concessions from Beijing, in particular with a sharp reduction in the imperial garrison (1806), the Sikh conquered the Buddhist principality of Ladakh and invaded Tibet (1834–1842) , an invasion of the Nepalese Gurkhas could not be repulsed (1854-1856), riots in eastern Tibet triggered an escape movement to central Tibet (1863), there was a border conflict with British-Indian Gurkha troops (1888-1890).

Increase in Russian influence

In this situation, the powerful in Tibet, like those in other peripheral provinces of the empire, asked themselves about a better protective power. The British Empire from the Indian subcontinent and the then Russian Empire from the north were particularly interested in Central Asia .

Numerous followers of Vajrayana Buddhism lived in the multi-ethnic Russian state. It was not unusual for them to make a pilgrimage to Lhasa as their religious center in order to be consecrated as a monk there after appropriate preparation. For Tsar Alexander III. again it was of interest to gain influence over the Dalai Lama as the religious leader of many of his subjects. It turned out that a Buryat Mongolian monk from the Transbaikal area named Ngawang Dorje ( Agvan Dorzhiev ) made a pilgrimage to Lhasa in 1888 to study at Drepung Monastery . He became one of the assistant tutors of the young 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatsho and from 1897 served as the unofficial secretary for foreign affairs. In 1900 - the imperial court in Beijing was busy with the Boxer Rebellion - Thubten Gyatsho sent him to Russia to deliver a letter to the Tsar. Tsar Nikolai II received Ngawang Dorje in Yalta .

Impact of UK countermeasures

Lord George Curzon , the British viceroy of India , tried diplomatic means to curb Russian influence on Tibet. In 1900 he sent a letter to the 13th Dalai Lama, which he refused to accept on the grounds that he could not ignore the Ambane. He also had a second letter in 1901 returned unopened for the same reason. In June 1901 a Tibetan embassy under the leadership of Dorzhejev finally arrived in Saint Petersburg with Tsar Nikolai II with letters and gifts from the Dalai Lama. Agreement arose on the goal of annexing Tibet to the Russian Empire.

In 1902, after his diplomatic failures, Lord Curzon threatened to occupy the Chumbi Valley on the border with Sikkim, which is important for trade . In June 1903, Tibetan-British negotiations began in the Tibetan border town of Khampadzong, but these were soon broken off by the Tibetan side. The British side wanted to force the continuation of the negotiations from November 1903 with a Tibet campaign under Francis Younghusband and advanced in stages against Lhasa. Since Russia was militarily bound by the Russo-Japanese War from February 1904 , it was unable to fulfill its planned role as the new protecting power of Tibet. When the military expedition reached Tsangpo on July 29, 1904 , the Dalai Lama realized the gravity of the situation, but Younghusband now declined to negotiate. Thubten Gyatsho then left Lhasa the next morning and fled with a large retinue to Outer Mongolia .

After the occupation of Lhasa on August 3, 1904, negotiations between the British began with the Amban and the regent appointed by the Dalai Lama before the flight. In the treaty of September 7, 1904, it was first clarified that Tibet would continue to be under the sovereignty of the empire and not be allowed to establish independent relationships with foreign states. Only British trade interests were taken into account. The British withdrew in September. The integration of Tibet into the British Empire had failed. In addition, the Dowager Empress Cixi (Tzu-Hsi) instructed the Amban not to sign the negotiated contract.

In the presence of the British, the Amban had to announce an imperial decree on September 13, 1904, on the removal of Thubten Gyatsho and the temporary abolition of the dignity of the Dalai Lama. The Tibetans, however, ignored this dismissal, and the Chinese authorities also received the Dalai Lama with full honors in Urga in November 1904 . Large numbers of pilgrims from the Russian Empire flocked to see him during his stay in Mongolia. In the spring of 1905 he again sent an embassy to Saint Petersburg at the Tsar's court.

Although Chinese authorities urged him to return to Tibet, he was in no hurry. He stayed in the north until 1908 because he was concerned about the heavy defeat of the Russian Empire against Japan and the turmoil of the subsequent Russian Revolution .

Another growing Chinese claim to power over Tibet

The weakening of Russia revived the policy of the Chinese Empire in Tibet. The Treaty of Lhasa was confirmed in April 1906 by the Chinese government, which instead of the Tibetans paid the war indemnity to the British Empire. In doing so, the Chinese government clearly stated its unchanged sovereignty over Tibet. Great Britain and Russia agreed on August 31, 1907 in the Treaty of Saint Petersburg on their spheres of interest in Central Asia and ended the confrontation. They agreed that Tibet would belong to the British, Mongolia and Turkestan to the Russian sphere of influence.

The Dowager Empress Cixi now saw the time had come to invite the Dalai Lama to Beijing. Against the urgent advice of Great Britain and Russia, the 13th Dalai Lama decided, in view of the changed balance of power, to accept this invitation, albeit without hurry. He stayed at Wutai Shan for a full five months for prayer and meditation , but there he also received diplomats from all over the world. After repeated requests from Beijing, he finally traveled on and was received in Beijing at the end of September 1908 with protocol honors, but not like the head of a sovereign state. At the imperial audience, as a vassal of the Empire of China , he was supposed to perform the kowtow customary as a gesture of submission . Since he refused, a compromise had to be found before the audience. It was agreed that he should only get down on one knee to greet them and only touch the ground lightly with his right hand. Now nothing stood in the way of the audience on October 14th.

On November 3, 1908, the Dowager Empress Cixi issued an edict providing for the bestowal of a new title to the Dalai Lama, which would replace the title bestowed on the 5th Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobsang Gyatsho and subordinate the Dalai Lama to obedience The emperor was supposed to write down: "Sincerely obedient, through reincarnation helpful, excellent, self-existent Buddha of the West". The title should be linked to an annual donation from the Sichuan Treasury and oblige the Dalai Lama to enforce the laws of the empire in an appropriate manner in Tibet. There was no way for him to evade the award of the title, and so he contented himself with protesting the prohibition contained in the edict of addressing the emperor directly by circumventing the ambane.

The plans for the state ceremony to award the title had to be changed by the death of the Emperor Guangxu on November 14, 1908 and that of the Empress Dowager the day after. Without a decision about his protest, the Dalai Lama was asked to return to Tibet. On the way to the Kumbum monastery he will be given the new title. Before his departure, representatives of the imperial government announced to him that they intended to convert Tibet into a Chinese province, send more officials and soldiers there, and establish elementary schools with compulsory instruction in the Chinese language.

On March 4, 1909, the award of the imperial title to the Dalai Lama took place in the Kumbum Monastery. After that he was clearly in no hurry to continue his journey. It was not until the fall of 1909 that he set out for Lhasa. He arrived there in December 1909.

Soon after the Dalai Lama fled in 1904, worrying news came from Tibet about the Chinese regime. In 1905 an attempt by an Ambans to intervene in the autonomy of the monasteries in Eastern Tibet and to expel most of the monks from Bathang Monastery led to bloody unrest. In 1906, General Zhao Erfeng had troops march against other monasteries, plundered them, sometimes literally slaughtered monks, and thus became the most hated man in Tibet. In 1907 he occupied the southern Kham militarily and requisitioned most of the grain supplies from the local population without compensation. In 1908 he reinforced his troops and prepared to march into central Tibet. A protest by the Tibetan government against the military action failed due to the amban's refusal to forward the protest to the imperial government. Rather, the troops were reinforced and advanced on Lhasa. The invasion of the city on February 12, 1910 was like an enemy assault. Police units and government buildings were shot at.

Only two months after his return, the Dalai Lama fled the capital for Sikkim , where he arrived on February 21, 1910. On February 25, 1910, the Chinese government declared him deposed. He sent a request for help to the British government and met the Viceroy of India, Lord Minto , in Calcutta in March 1910 . Diplomatic interventions by the British and Russian governments in favor of a withdrawal of the Chinese troops were unsuccessful.

However, after the outbreak of the Chinese Revolution in October 1911, the soldiers were withdrawn very quickly. In the spring of 1912 there was only one small Chinese garrison left in Lhasa. On June 12, 1912, the Dalai Lama returned from India and made a solemn entry into Lhasa.

List of Dalai Lamas

Surname Lifetime Reign Tibetan Inscription after Wylie Official transcription of the PRCh Regents
1. Gendun Drub 1391-1474 - དགེ་ འདུན་ གྲུབ dge 'dun grub Gêdün Chub
2. Gendun Gyatsho 1475-1542 - དགེ་ འདུན་ རྒྱ་ མཚོ dge 'dun rgya mtsho Gêdün Gyaco
3. Sonam Gyatsho 1543-1588 - བསོད་ ནམས་ རྒྱ་ མཚོ bsod nams rgya mtsho Soinam Gyaco
4th Yonnten Gyatsho 1589-1617 - ཡོན་ ཏན་ རྒྱ་ མཚོ yon tan rgya mtsho Yoindain Gyaco
5. Ngawang Lobsang Gyatsho 1617-1682 1642-1682 ངག་ དབང་ བློ་ བཟང་ རྒྱ་ མཚོ ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho Lobsang Gyaco Sönam Chöphel (1642–1658), Sanggye Gyatsho (1679–1702)
6th Tshangyang Gyatsho 1682-1706 - ཚངས་ དབྱངས་ རྒྱ་ མཚོ tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho Cangjang Gyaco Sönam Chöphel (see above), Thrinle Gyatsho (1660–1668)
7th Kelsang Gyatsho 1708-1757 1751-1757 བསྐལ་ བཟང་ རྒྱ་ མཚ Skal bzang rgya mtsho Gaisang Gyaco Tagtsepa (1717–1720), Khangchenne (1721–1727), Pholhane (1728–1747), Gyurme Namgyel (1747–1750), Demo I. (1757–1777)
8th. Jampel Gyatsho 1758-1804 1781-1788 འཇམ་ དཔལ་ རྒྱ་ མཚོ jam dpal rgya mtsho Qambê Gyaco Tsemoling I (1777–1786)
9. Lungtog Gyatsho 1805-1815 - ལུང་ རྟོགས་ རྒྱ་ མཚོ lung rtogs rgya mtsho Lungdog Gyaco Kundeling I. ( ཀུན་ བདེ་ གླིང་ , 1789–1810)
10. Tshulthrim Gyatsho 1816-1837 - ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་ རྒྱ་ མཚོ tshul khrims rgya mtsho Cüchim Gyaco Demo II. ( དེ་ མོ་ , 1811–1819), Tsemoling II. ( ཚེ་ སྨོན་ གླིང་ , 1819–1844)
11. Khedrub Gyatsho 1838-1856 - མཁས་ གྲུབ་ རྒྱ་ མཚོ mkhas dug rgya mtsho Khaichub Gyaco Reting I. ( རྭ་ སྒྲེང་ , 1845–1862), Shatra ( བཤད་ སྒྲ་ , 1862–1864)
12. Thrinle Gyatsho 1856-1875 - འཕྲིན་ ལས་ རྒྱ་ མཚོ 'phrin las rgya mtsho Chinlai Gyaco Ditru ( སྡེ་ དྲུག་ , 1864–1872), Kundeling II. ( ཀུན་ བདེ་ གླིང་ , 1875–1886)
13. Thubten Gyatsho 1876-1933 1895-1933 ཐུབ་ བསྟན་ རྒྱ་མཚོ་ thub bstan rgya mtsho Tubdain Gyaco Demo III. (1886–1895), Reting II. (1934–1941), Taktra (1941–1950)
14th Tenzin Gyatso since 1935 1950-1959 བསྟན་ འཛིན་ རྒྱ་ མཚ bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho Dainzin Gyaco -
  1. See also: List of Tibetan Names and Titles .
  2. a b The first and second Dalai Lama were given the title posthumously.
  3. The ninth Dalai Lama was officially enthroned, but did not rule himself.
  4. From 1959 Tibetan government in exile .




  • Yá Hánzhāng 牙 含 章 : The Biographies of the Dalai Lamas. Foreign Languages ​​Press, Beijing 1993, ISBN 7-119-01267-3 (Original title: Dálài Lǎmá chuán 达赖喇嘛 传 ).
  • Dung-dkar blo-bzang 'phrim-las : The Merging of Religious and Secular Rule of Tibet. Foreign Languages ​​Press, Beijing 1993, ISBN 7-119-00672-X .
  • Leonard WJ van der Kuijp: The Dalai Lamas and the Origins of Reincarnate Lamas. In: M. Brauen (Ed.): The Dalai Lamas: a Visual History. Serindia, Chicago 2005, pp. 5-34. ( Online ; PDF; 3.4 MB).

Web links

Commons : Dalai Lamas  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Dalai Lama  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. The Mongolian term ta la'i denotes something very large, universal and corresponds roughly to the Tibetan rgya mtsho and the Sanskrit sagara . In contrast to the Mongols of the 16th century, of whom very few could ever have seen an ocean, Hindu's ocean was very well known, from which the imprecise translation apparently originated. See e.g. B. Leonard WJ van der Kuip in: Lit. Brauen, p. 15, or ibid. P. 8, comment on Per Kjeld Sørensen . This suggests as a translation World Lama . As can be seen from the Mongolian biography of Altan Khan, the originally awarded title was significantly longer. In Tibetan, the holder of this office is more likely called Gyelwa Rinpoche ( wylie : rgyal barin po che ).
  2. ^ Melvyn Goldstein : The Circulation of Estates in Tibet: Reincarnation, Land and Politics. In: The Journal of Asian Studies , Vol. 32, No. 3 (May 1973), pp. 445–455, here p. 448.