Dalai Lama

Quick Reference

The spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism and, until the establishment of Chinese communist rule, the spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet. Each Dalai Lama is believed to be the reincarnation of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, reappearing in a child when the incumbent Dalai Lama dies. The present Dalai Lama, the fourteenth incarnation, escaped to India in 1959 following the invasion of Tibet by the Chinese and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

The name is from Tibetan, literally ‘ocean monk’, so named because he is regarded as ‘the ocean of compassion’.

Subjects: Religion.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »