How Tibet Chooses the Dalai Lama


The process of choosing the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, is steeped in rich tradition and deep spiritual significance. This article explores the intricate methods and historical practices employed by Tibetans to identify the Dalai Lama, a figure revered for his wisdom and compassion. Join us as we unravel the unique process through which Tibet selects its spiritual leader.

The Recognition Process

We delve into the traditional process of recognizing the Dalai Lama. Known as the “Tulku system,” it involves identifying the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama. We discuss the belief in the continuation of consciousness and the search for specific signs and indications that point to the reincarnated Dalai Lama.

The Role of High Lamas

We explore the role of high-ranking Tibetan lamas in the selection process. These respected spiritual leaders undertake the responsibility of searching for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. They utilize various methods, including meditation, divination, and consultation with oracles, to locate the child who embodies the qualities and traits of the previous Dalai Lama.

Confirmation and Education

We discuss the important step of confirming the identified child as the reincarnated Dalai Lama. This involves conducting tests and rituals to ensure the authenticity of the reincarnation. Once confirmed, the Dalai Lama undergoes an extensive education and training in Buddhist philosophy, teachings, and leadership, guided by experienced lamas.

How Tibet Chooses the Dalai Lama

The Role of the People

We highlight the significance of the Tibetan people in the process of choosing the Dalai Lama. Their devotion and faith play a vital role in accepting and recognizing the identified child as the spiritual leader. The support and recognition of the Tibetan community contribute to the legitimacy and authority of the Dalai Lama.

The Chinese Government’s Influence

We address the complex relationship between the Chinese government and the selection of the Dalai Lama. Over the years, the Chinese government has sought to exert control over the process, which has led to tensions and disagreements between Tibetans and the Chinese authorities. We discuss the challenges faced by Tibetans in preserving their traditions and maintaining the integrity of the Dalai Lama’s selection process.


Choosing the Dalai Lama in Tibet is a unique journey combining spiritual beliefs, traditions, and the collective wisdom of high-ranking lamas. It is a process deeply rooted in Tibetan culture and continues to evolve amidst the challenges posed by external influences. By understanding the intricacies of this process, we gain insight into Tibet’s spiritual heritage and the Dalai Lama’s profound significance as a guiding light for the Tibetan people.

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