Monday, May 31, 2010
The Dalai Lama (People in the News)
The Dalai Lama is a Buddhist leader of religious officials of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word Далай "Dalai" meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word "Blama" (with a silent b) meaning "chief" or "high priest." "Lama" is a general term referring to Tibetan Buddhist teachers. In religious terms, the Dalai Lama is believed by his devotees to be the rebirth of a long line of tulkus who descend from the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. Traditionally, His Holiness is thought of as the latest reincarnation of a series of spiritual leaders who have chosen to be reborn in order to enlighten others. The Dalai Lama is often thought to be the director of the Gelug School, but this position belongs officially to the Ganden Tripa, which is a temporary position appointed by the Dalai Lama who, in practice, exerts much influence.