Dalai Lama

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The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or "yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Tsongkhapa (1357–1419). The name is a combination of the Mongolic word dalai meaning "ocean" and the Tibetan word བླ་མ་ (bla-ma) meaning "guru, teacher, mentor".

According to Tibetan dictionary, the Dalai Lama is the rebirth in a line of tulkus who are considered to be manifestations of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteśvara. The Dalai Lama is often thought to be the leader 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. The line of Dalai Lamas began as a lineage of spiritual teachers; the 5th Dalai Lama assumed political authority over Tibet.