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How The Dalai Lamas Lineage Emerged

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Chapter Summary

Tsepon Shakabpa's narration of the incarnation lineage of the Dalai Lamas provides a backbone to the remainder of the text. In this chapter, he explains how the lineage emerged and provides the historical context that frames the lives of the first four Dalai Lamas. In the process, he sketches the arc followed by the early Dalai Lamas, from a politically insignificant and essentially religious figure to a lama most notable for the fact that he had been born into the powerful Mongolian royal family. It demonstrates some of the tensions, rivalries, and grievances that animated the political developments that culminated in the middle of the seventeenth century. The chapter invokes the name of Tsongkhapa, the charismatic founder of the Geluk School that will eventually become a potent religious and political force under the guidance of the Dalai Lama lineage.

Keywords: Dalai Lamas lineage; Geluk school; Mongolian royal family; political force; religious relations; Tsongkhapa



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