The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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Dalai Lama
(1,249 words)

Office and Institution

1. The title Dalai Lama (usually translated ‘Ocean of Wisdom,’ from the Mongolian talai, ‘Ocean wherein wisdom is enclosed,’ and the Tibetan lama, ‘teacher, master’) denotes the highest office in the political and spiritual system of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1578, it was conferred upon the third Great Lama of the Lamaistic Gelugpa (‘Yellow Caps’) by Mongolian sovereign Altan Khan, then Protective Lord of Tibet, in re…

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von Behr, Benita, “Dalai Lama”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 27 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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