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1642-1911 - Ganden Podrang Regime

Tibet Flag
Dalai Lama
I Gedun Drupa 13911474
II Gedum Gyatso 14761542
III Sonam Gyatso 15431588
IV Yonten Gyatso 15891616
V Lobsang Gyatso 16171682
VI Samyang Gyatso 16831706
VII Keisang Gyatso 17081757
VIII Jampei Gyatso 17581804
IX Longto Gyatso 18051805
X Tshutrim Gyatso 18161837
XI Khedru Gyatso 18381855
XII Chinlei Gyatso 18561875
XIII Thutan Gyatso 18761933
XIV Tenzin Gyatso 1935 ..
The Pagdu Dynasty was ended by the Karma Regime in 1618, which lasted only 24 years, during which time it oppressed the Gelugpa Sect. Lobsang Gyatso [aka Na-wang Lob-sang and Nag-wang-lo-Zang ] (1617-1682), the fifth Dalai Lama, overthrew the Karma under the patronage of Gushri Khan, and established the Ganden Podrang [Victorious Everywhere] Regime in 1642, under which the Gelugpa sect leapt into temporal power. When the Manchu chiefs were consolidating their power in China and struggling with the last kings of the Ming dynasty, in 1642 Kushri Khan, the Mongol Prince of Kuku Nor, conquered Tibet, and in 1645 made over the sovereignty of it to the Grand Lama of the time, with the title of Dalai Lama. The title means Ocean (of learning). It originated the perpetual "surname" of Gya-tso (expanse of water) for the successive re-incarnations of the Dalai Lama. The Tibetans themselves call him Gyal-wa-Rimpoche (Great Gem of Majesty), and consider him as the incarnation of the Bodhisat deity, Avalokita. The Dalai Lama continued ever since to be both the head of the state and the religious head.

In 1642, the Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lozang Gyatso, assumed both spiritual and temporal authority over Tibet. Nag-wang-lo-Zang consolidated his rule as priest-king, appropriated many of the monasteries of other sects or suppressed them, and was finally acknowledged as the true Avalokita in the flesh. As the Dalai Lama, he transferred his capital to Lhasa and built for himself and his successors the temple-palace at Lhasa, which is called Potala (in 1643). Most important of all, Na-wang Lob-sang discovered that, besides being, as Grand Lama of Tashi-lhunpo, a re-incarnation of Amitabha, he was also a reappearance of Avalokiteswara. This produced a curious result, for Avalokiteswara was an emanation of Amitabha and, therefore, inferior to his "father" as touching his potential manhood.

In a subsequent revolt, the Tibetians called in the aid of China. Before the Manchus were well on the throne of China, in 1647 the Dalai-lama, unsolicited, sent tribute to the conquerors, and then went in person to the court of Shun-che. He set forth to China to demand Chinese recognition of his sovereignty. The Ming Emperor received the Dalai Lama as an independent sovereign and as an equal. It is recorded that he went out of his capital to meet the Dalai Lama and that he had an inclined pathway built over the city wall so that the Dalai Lama could enter Peking without going through a gate. The court of Peking sent an army under General Olounda. The first force was not able to subdue the rebels, and Kang-he sent an additional force, under the command of his son. The Mongol prince was induced to withdraw by the payment of a heavy indemnity ; no sooner was this done than the Lama who had bought him off applied to the Manchu sovereign of China. The Emperor granted him a patent, by which he appointed him chief of the religion.

Na-wang Lob-sang made himself master of Tibet, and accepted the title of Dalai Lama from the Emperor of China, the Chinese Empire having confirmed him in both offices in 1650. Thus, though the entire political power had been absorbed by the Dalai or Grand Lama of Lhasa, the Tashi Lamaas the Grand Lama of Tashi-lhunpo is commonly called remained in theory his senior and superior in spiritual matters. In 1653, Lobsang Gyatso received the title of 'Dalai Lama' from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), which acknowledged the Dalai Lama as the religious leader of Tibetan Buddhism enjoying the superiority of conferment.

The supreme political and religious authority was vested in the Dalai Lama or the Grand Lama. He was supposed to be an incarnation of Buddha and was elected at the age of four years. When a Dalai Lama dies his spirit is supposed to have gone into the body of a child born just about that time and a diligent search is instituted for the reincarnated spirit. They come upon a child who for one instant has the power of speech and startles the parents by saying that " the Lama has gone from Potala, and they will claim me." The gratified pareuts inform the priests of the wonder and forthwith the child is destined to the dignity of a Grand Lama. He remains for four years with his parents after which he is brought to the monastery aud is asked to recognise certain articles used by the late Grand Lama. He is almost always successful aud is duly elected to the Grand Lamaship. He is a minor till he attains the age of 18 ; meanwhile, a regent is chosen from one of the five monasteries of Lhassa who is also an incarnation of some deified Lama. He is elected by the Lamas ; in case of an equal division, the matter is referred to the Chinese Emperor who decides which one of the two shall be regent.

The reigning Dalai-lama was then called by the title of Kaubilgan; but the Emperor of China sent him the former title, with a letter, breathing a warm expression of his favor and regard. In 1713 upon the ferment caused by the death of the fifth Dalai Lama, Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722) conferred the title of 'Panchen Erdeni' on the fifth Panchen Lama (1663-1737), hence an official recognition of the Panchen Lama as the religious leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

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Page last modified: 08-02-2012 13:23:01 ZULU