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Dalai Lama Syllabification: Da·lai La·ma
Pronunciation: /ˌdalī ˈlämə/

Definition of Dalai Lama in English:


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 Avalokiteshvara, 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

Example sentences
  • During his visit to the U.S., the Dalai Lama met with the President.
  • On its part, the western world was in so deep a spiritual quagmire that only a Dalai Lama could help it.
  • The event, which will honour the Dalai Lama, Shirin Ebadi, Vaclav Havel, and Desmond Tutu, will take place at Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral on April 20.


Late 17th century: from Tibetan, literally 'ocean guru', so named because he is regarded as “the ocean of compassion” (see lama).

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