10th Dalai Lama

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Religion Buddhism
Born 29 March 1816
Lithang, Kham, Tibet,  Qing Dynasty
Died 30 September 1837(1837-09-30) (aged 21)
Tibet,  Qing Dynasty
Senior posting
Title 10th Dalai Lama
Predecessor Lungtok Gyatso
Successor Khedrup Gyatso

Tsultrim Gyatso (29 March 1816 – September 30 1837) was the 10th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Born to a modest family in Chamdo (eastern Tibet), he was recognised as the reincarnation of Lungtok Gyatso, the 9th Dalai Lama, in 1820. At the time his family did not even have an heir to their land, but he took the name Tsultrim Gyatso and was enthroned at the Potala Palace in 1822.[1][2]

After Lungtok Gyatso died in 1815, eight years had passed before the new Dalai Lama was chosen. The political events in this period are murky, but finally Palden Tenpai Nyima intervened and used the Golden Urn (from which names of candidates were picked) for the first time as part of the tests for the choice of the new Dalai Lama.

In 1822 the 10th Dalai Lama was placed upon the Golden Throne and soon after his enthronement received his pre-novice ordination from Palden Tenpai Nyima, who gave him the name of Tsultrim Gyatso.[2] He administered the Gelong vows (full ordination) to Tsultrim Gyatso in 1831.[1]

In 1826, he was enrolled at Drepung Monastery and mastered both sutra and tantra. He studied Tibetan Buddhist texts extensively during the rest of his life.

In 1831 he reconstructed the Potala Palace and, at the age of nineteen, he took the Gelong vows (full ordination) from the Panchen Lama the same year.[1]

He set about to overhaul the economic structure of Tibet but, unfortunately, did not live long enough to see his plans come to fruition.[2]

He was constantly in poor health and died in 1837.[1]

"During the period of the short-lived Dalai Lamas — from the Ninth to the Twelfth incarnations — the Panchen was the lama of the hour, filling the void left by the four Dalai Lamas who died in their youth."[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "The Dalai Lamas". The Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche. (1982). "Life and times of the Eighth to Twelfth Dalai Lamas." The Tibet Journal. Vol. VII Nos. 1 & 2. Spring/Summer 1982, p. 49.
  3. The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation, p. 175. Glenn H. Mullin. Clear Light Publishers. Santa Fe, New Mexico. ISBN 1-57416-092-3.

Further reading

  • Mullin, Glenn H. (2001). The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation, pp. 353–361. Clear Light Publishers. Santa Fe, New Mexico. ISBN 1-57416-092-3.
Buddhist titles
Preceded by
Lungtok Gyatso
Dalai Lama
Recognized in 1822
Succeeded by
Khedrup Gyatso

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