Definition of Dalai Lama in US English:

Dalai Lama


  • 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

    • ‘On its part, the western world was in so deep a spiritual quagmire that only a Dalai Lama could help it.’
    • ‘Twenty years ago the Dalai Lama designated land here for the education of local children.’
    • ‘The Dalai Lama and a group of scientists set out to debate and answer this issue some time back.’
    • ‘During his visit to the U.S., the Dalai Lama met with the President.’
    • ‘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.’


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


Dalai Lama

/ˌdælaɪ ˈlɑmə//ˌdalī ˈlämə/