Interesting facts about the Dalai Lama

“Dalai” means “ocean” in Mongolian - meaning “Great” (the ruling khans after Chinggis bore the title Dalai Khan), “lama” (bla ma) in Tibetan is equivalent to the Sanskrit word “guru” and means “teacher”. According to Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Tib .: Chenrezig [spyan ras gzigs]), the bodhisattva of compassion.

In 1578, the ruler of the Tumat Mongols, Altan Khan, together with his people, adopted Buddhism from one of the highest lamas of the Gelug school - Sonam Gyatso - and gave him the title of Dalai Lama. The V Dalai Lama, with the support of the ruler of the Khoshut Oirats, Gushi Khan, was able to unite Tibet in the 17th century. Since then, the Dalai Lamas continued to rule the country until the invasion of Chinese troops in 1949 and the complete takeover of Tibet in 1959. The XIV Dalai Lama fled to India, where until 2011 he was the de facto head of the Tibetan government in exile. In 2011, he announced that he was relinquishing secular power, which was transferred to the Prime Minister in exile (kalonu-tripa).

  • After the death of the Dalai Lama, the monks organize a search for his next incarnation (tulku, Tib. Sprul sku), a small child who must have certain characteristics and pass tests. The new incarnation of the Dalai Lama is sought for by characteristic features among boys born no earlier than 49 days after the death of the last Dalai Lama and no later than two years from the date of his death. Then the child goes to Lhasa, where he is trained under the guidance of experienced mentors.
  • The second spiritual leader, the Panchen Lama, is partially responsible for finding the next Dalai Lama's reincarnation, and vice versa. When looking for a Panchen Lama, the Dalai Lama must make the final decision. This tradition dates back to the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama Lobsang Gyatso, who named his mentor, Lobsang Chokyi Gyaltsen, a scholar from the Tashilunpo monastery in Shigatse, as Panchen. The Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama are related as a teacher and a student: the older one is a teacher, the younger one is a student.
  • In 1793, the Chinese Emperor Qianlong promulgated the "Highest approved charter for putting things in order in Tibet (of 29 articles), which provided for the ritual of drawing lots from the Golden Vase when choosing a boy-reincarnation of a living Buddha. avoid data manipulation when finding the successor to the Dalai Lama.
  • Nevertheless, the history also records flaws with the choice of the Dalai Lamas, which the current ruler of Tibet admitted to. For example, the story of the VI Dalai Lama is known, who, with all his abilities, refused to take monastic vows, preferring the worldly life of a poet with all the ensuing consequences for a creative person. However, after his death, they still did not choose a new sixth Dalai Lama (although many refused to recognize him as a true reincarnation).
  • There are 14 known Dalai Lama title holders in the history of Tibet. All of them, according to the doctrine of reincarnation accepted in the Lamaist world, are the embodiment of the same Dalai Lama, who consistently existed in each of them.
  • In 1989, the 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the peaceful liberation of Tibet.

The current Dalai Lama XIV in March 2011 announced his resignation from the post of political leader of Tibet, remaining only a religious head. He handed over his powers to the 44-year-old Lobsan Sangay. This event caused a split in Tibetan society, as it threatened the very institution of the Dalai Lamas, but Tenzin Gyazo said that in the future, the Tibetans will independently decide whether Dalai Lamas are needed.