Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The traditional governmental ruler and highest priest of the dominant sect of Buddhism in Tibet and Mongolia, understood by Tibetans to be the living incarnation of the bodhisattva of compassion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The supreme head of Tibetan Buddhism, believed to be an incarnation of Avalokitesvara, and considered the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of the two lama-popes of Tibet and Mongolia (his fellow-pope being the tesho-lama), each supreme in his own district.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. chief lama and once ruler of Tibet

Etymologies

Tibetan : Mongolian dalai, ocean + Tibetan bla-ma, monk (so called because he is known as the ocean of compassion); see lama.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Mongolian далай (dalai, "ocean") + Tibetan བླ་མ (bla-ma, "lama"). (Wiktionary)

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