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Lama (Tibetan: བླ་མ་Wylie: bla-ma) is a title for a teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. It is equivalent to the Sanskrit term guru.

The term is also generally used as an honorific title for an advanced Buddhist practitioner to designate a level of spiritual attainment and authority to teach.

In the Tibetan tradition, six types of lamas are identified:

  • the teacher who is a guide
  • the mind-liberating teacher
  • the teacher who grants pith instructions
  • the vow-restoring teacher
  • the teacher who gives empowerments and samayas
  • a general teacher

See also