The Dalai Lama: An Influential Icon Essay

1301 Words6 Pages
Since the late 1300’s essentially the same reincarnated figure has been controlling, teaching, and leading the Tibetan Buddhism religion and government (Gale). The Dalai Lama is thought to be the reincarnated spiritual and political icon presiding over the land of Tibet for over 14 lifetimes. His Holiness’ obligation to the Buddhist people and birthright is described as, “a teacher whose wisdom is as deep as the ocean” (Ganeri 28). For centuries the Dalai Lama has been one of the world’s most influential leaders and teachers, passing along his wisdoms to disciples all over the globe. The origins of the Dalai Lama date back to the start of the Gelukpa School, a monastery opened near Lhasa in Tibet by a man named Tsongkhapa in the 15th…show more content…
This process is long and rigorous, until they find the boy they are looking for they keep searching. The monks will go door-to-door looking for children born the day the Dalai Lama died; they then use certain tests to determine if the child is indeed the Dalai Lama (Chiu). “Tibetans believe the Dalai Lama is the bodhisattva; Avalokiteshvara, in human form”. Once the monks finally find the Dalai Lama as a young boy, they take him to Lhasa (Ganeri 28) to train him in his duties (Wangu 67). In Tibet, Lama means “superior one”, the Panchen Lama is “the 2nd highest religious figure in Tibetan Buddhism”. While the search is still being commenced for the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama takes the Dalai Lama’s place temporarily. The Panchen Lama is a younger Lama who is chosen by the Dalai Lama during his lifespan (Wangu 115). The structure of the Lamas in Lamaism goes as follows: Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, high monks, lower monks, and then Tibetan Buddhism followers (Chiu). All of these Lamas lead and follow the group of the Gelupka or yellow hats (Ganeri 30). Both the Dalai and Panchen Lamas are reincarnations of specific people. Every Dalai Lama since Avalokitesvara has been a reincarnation of the Buddha of compassion and every Panchen Lama since Amitabha has been a reincarnation of the Buddha of light (Chiu). In 1949, China,

More about The Dalai Lama: An Influential Icon Essay

Open Document