Tibetan name

Last updated

Tibetan names typically consist of two juxtaposed elements.

Family names are rare except among those of aristocratic ancestry and then come before the personal name (but diaspora Tibetans living in societies that expect a surname may adopt one). For example, in Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme, Ngapoi was his family name and Nga-Wang Jigmê his personal name.

Tibetan nomads (drokpa) also use clan names; in farming communities, they are now rare and may be replaced by household name.

Tibetan culture is patrilineal; descent is claimed from the four ancient clans that are said to have originally inhabited Ancient Tibet: Se, Rmu, Stong and Ldong. The ancient clan system of Tibet is called rus-ba (རུས་པ), meaning bone or bone lineage. [1] The four clans were further divided into branches which are Dbra, Vgru, Ldong, Lga, Dbas and Brdav. With inter-clan marriages, the subclans were divided into many sub-branches.

While Tibetans from Kham and Amdo use their clan names as surnames, most farming communities in Central Tibet stopped using their clan names centuries ago and instead use household names.

Traditionally, personal names are bestowed upon a child by lamas, who often incorporate an element of their own name. In the Tibetan diaspora, Tibetans often turn to the Dalai Lama for names for their children. As a result, the exile community has an overwhelming population of boys and girls whose first name is "Tenzin", the personal first name of the 14th Dalai Lama.

Personal names are in most cases composed of readily understood Tibetan words. Most personal names may be given to either males or females. Only a few are specifically male or female.

Meanings of some of the common names are listed below:

Tibetan Wylie ZWPY Chinese English Common
བསྟན་འཛིན bstan 'dzinDänzin丹增Tenzin, TenzingHolder of Buddha Dharma
རྒྱ་མཚོ rgya mtshoGyamco嘉措 Gyatso Ocean
སྐལ བཟང skal bzangGaisang格桑KelsangGood destiny, Good luck, Golden age, Flower
ཉི་མ nyi maNyima尼玛NyimaSun, Day, Sunday
རྡོ་རྗེ rdo rjeDuo Jie多吉,多杰 Dorji Indestructable, Invincible, Vajra
དོན་གྲུབ don grubDang Zhou顿珠DhondupWish come true
མེ་ཏོག me tog梅朵MedoFlower
ལྷ་མོ lha mo拉姆,拉莫LhamoPrincess, Goddess, Tibetan opera
སྒྲོལ་མ sgrol maDrölma卓玛Dolma Tara, Goddess
པད་མ pad maPema贝玛,白玛 Pema Lotus
ཚེ་རིང tshe ringCering才仁TseringLong life
རྒྱལ་མཚན rgyal mtshan坚赞GyaltsenBanner of victory, Dhvaja
ཡེ་ཤེས ye shesYêxê伊喜,益西 Yeshe Wisdom, Jnana [2]
བསོད་ནམས bsod namsSoinam索南,索朗 Sonam Merit, Virtue [3]
བདེ་སྐྱིད bde skyidTêci德吉 Diki Happiness
ཟླ་བ zla waDawa达娃 Dawa Moon, Month, Monday
བཀྲ་ཤིས bkra shisZhaxi扎西 Tashi Auspiciousness, Good fortune
བདེ་ལེགས bde legs德勒Delek, DelehBliss, Happiness
རིན་ཆེན rin chen仁钦 Rinchen Treasure, Precious Jewel, Gem
དབང མོ dbang moWangmô旺姆 Wangmo Lady with wealth and luck
བདེ ཆེན bde chenDêqên德钦,德千 Dechen Great bliss [4] [5]

Other common Tibetan names include Bhuti, Choedon, Choekyi, Chogden, Chokphel, Damchoe, Dasel, Dema, Dhondup, Dolkar, Gyurmey, Jampa, Jangchup, Jungney, Kalden, Khando, Karma, Kunchok, Kunga, Lekhshey, Lhakpa, Lhakyi, Lhami, Lhawang, Lobsang, Metok, Namdak, Namdol, Namgyal, Ngonga, Norbu, Paljor, Pasang, Peldun, Phuntsok, Phurpa, Rabgang, Rabgyal, Rabten, Rangdol, Rigsang, Rigzin, Samdup, Sangyal, Thinley, Tsomo, Tsundue, Wangchuk, Wangyag, Woeser, Woeten, Yangdol, Yangkey, and Yonten, Sajan Lama Ngarden.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dalai Lama</span> Tibetan Buddhist spiritual head

Dalai Lama is a title given by the Tibetan people to the foremost spiritual leader of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest and most dominant of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th and incumbent Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso, who lives in exile as a refugee in India. The Dalai Lama is also considered to be the successor in a line of tulkus who are believed to be incarnations of Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central Tibetan Administration</span> Tibetan government-in-exile based in India

The Central Tibetan Administration is a non-profit political organization based in Dharamshala, India. Its organization is modeled after an elective parliamentary government, composed of a judiciary branch, a legislative branch, and an executive branch, and is sometimes labelled as a government in exile for Tibet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">3rd Dalai Lama</span> Spiritual leader of Tibet from 1578 to 1588

Sonam Gyatso was the first to be named Dalai Lama, although the title was retrospectively given to his two predecessors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama</span> 10th Panchen Lama of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism (1938–1989)

Lobsang Trinley Lhündrub Chökyi Gyaltsen was the tenth Panchen Lama, officially the 10th Panchen Erdeni, of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. According to Tibetan Buddhism, Panchen Lamas are living emanations of the buddha Amitabha. He was often referred to simply as Choekyi Gyaltsen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Seventeen Point Agreement</span> 1951 agreement between the Chinese and Tibetan governments

The Seventeen Point Agreement, officially the Agreement of the Central People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, was a document pertaining to the status of Tibet within the People's Republic of China. It was signed by plenipotentiaries of the Central People's Government and the Tibetan government on 23 May 1951, in Zhongnanhai, Beijing. The 14th Dalai Lama ratified the agreement in the form of a telegraph on 24 October 1951.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nechung Oracle</span> Spirit that advises, through a medium, the state of Tibet

The Nechung Oracle is the personal oracle of the Dalai Lama since the second Dalai Lama. The medium currently resides in Nechung Monastery established Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. The Nechung Oracle was the designated head of the Nechung monastery in Tibet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Taktser</span> Village in Qinghai, Peoples Republic of China

Taktser or Tengtser or Hongya Village is a village in Shihuiyao Township, Ping'an District, Haidong, in the east of Qinghai province, China,. Tibetan, Han and Hui Chinese people populate the village which is notable as the birthplace of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thubten Jigme Norbu</span>

Thubten Jigme Norbu, recognised as the Taktser Rinpoche, was a Tibetan lama, writer, civil rights activist and professor of Tibetan studies and was the eldest brother of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. He was one of the first high-profile Tibetans to go into exile and was the first to settle in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme</span> Tibetan politician (1910–2009)

Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme was a Tibetan senior official who assumed various military and political responsibilities both before and after 1951 in Tibet. He is often known simply as Ngapo in English sources.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1959 Tibetan uprising</span> Uprising in Lhasa, Tibet, against the Peoples Republic of China

The 1959 Tibetan uprising began on 10 March 1959, when a revolt erupted in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, which had been under the effective control of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since the Seventeen Point Agreement was reached in 1951. The initial uprising occurred amid general Chinese-Tibetan tensions and a context of confusion, because Tibetan protesters feared that the Chinese government might arrest the 14th Dalai Lama. The protests were also fueled by anti-Chinese sentiment and separatism. At first, the uprising mostly consisted of peaceful protests, but clashes quickly erupted and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) eventually used force to quell the protests, some of the protesters had captured arms. The last stages of the uprising included heavy fighting, with high civilian and military losses. The 14th Dalai Lama escaped from Lhasa, while the city was fully retaken by Chinese security forces on 23 March 1959. Thousands of Tibetans were killed during the 1959 uprising, but the exact number of deaths is disputed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Annexation of Tibet by the People's Republic of China</span> 1950–51 annexation of territory in Asia

Tibet came under the control of People's Republic of China (PRC) after the Government of Tibet signed the Seventeen Point Agreement which the 14th Dalai Lama ratified on 24 October 1951, but later repudiated on the grounds that he had rendered his approval for the agreement while under duress. This occurred after attempts by the Tibetan Government to gain international recognition, efforts to modernize its military, negotiations between the Government of Tibet and the PRC, and a military conflict in the Chamdo area of western Kham in October 1950. The series of events came to be called the "Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" by the Chinese government, and the "Chinese invasion of Tibet" by the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan diaspora.

The Golden Urn refers to a method for selecting Tibetan reincarnations by drawing lots or tally sticks from a Golden Urn introduced by the Qing dynasty of China in 1793. After the Sino-Nepalese War, the Qianlong Emperor promulgated the 29-Article Ordinance for the More Effective Governing of Tibet, which included regulations on the selection of lamas. The Golden Urn was introduced ostensibly to prevent cheating and corruption in the selection process but also to position the Qianlong Emperor as a religious authority capable of adducing incarnation candidates. A number of lamas, such as the 8th and 9th Panchen Lamas and the 10th Dalai Lama, were confirmed using the Golden Urn. In cases where the Golden Urn was not used, the amban was consulted. Golden Urn was exempted for Lhamo Dhondup to become the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa</span> Tibetan politician

Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa was a Tibetan nobleman, scholar, statesman and former Finance Minister of the government of Tibet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">14th Dalai Lama</span> Spiritual leader of Tibet since 1940

The 14th Dalai Lama, known to the Tibetan people as Gyalwa Rinpoche, is, as the incumbent Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader and head of Tibet. He is considered a living Bodhisattva; specifically, an emanation of Avalokiteśvara in Sanskrit, and Chenrezig in Tibetan. He is also the leader and a monk of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism, formally headed by the Ganden Tripa. The central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the Dalai Lama with temporal duties until his exile in 1959.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tibet (1912–1951)</span> Former de facto state in East Asia

Tibet was a de facto independent state in East Asia that lasted from the collapse of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty in 1912 until its annexation by the People's Republic of China in 1951.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tibetan diaspora</span> Communities of Tibetans living outside of Tibet

The Tibetan diaspora are the diaspora of Tibetan people living outside Tibet.

A brief chronology of the history of Tibet:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tibetan Army</span> Armed forces of Tibet from 1913 to 1959

The Tibetan Army was the armed forces of Tibet from 1913 to 1959. It was established by the 13th Dalai Lama shortly after he proclaimed the independence of Tibet in 1912, and was modernised with the assistance of British training and equipment. It was dissolved by the Chinese government following the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising.

The Lhalu family is a Tibetan noble family who are known in Tibet for producing the 8th Dalai Lama.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lobsang Sandan</span> High ranking Tibetan lama

Lobsang Sandan, one of the three reincarnated rinpoches in one family, is the third brother of the 14th Dalai Lama. He is 2 years older than the 14th Dalai Lama, he was recognized as 16th Ngari Rinpoche.


  1. "How ancient Tibetan people combine different clans_News_History_China Tibet Online". eng.tibet.cn. Archived from the original on 2014-09-17.
  2. The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa. Vol. 6. Shambhala Publications. 2010. p. 426. ISBN   9780834821552.
  3. Buswell, Robert E. Jr.; Lopez, Donald S. Jr. (2013). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. p. 1232. ISBN   9780691157863.
  4. 陈观胜 [Chen Guansheng] 安才旦 [An Caidan] (2004). 《汉英藏对照常见藏语人名地名词典》[Dictionary of Common Tibetan Personal and Place Names]. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. p. 74. ISBN   7-119-03497-9.
  5. Payne, Richard Karl; Tanaka, Kenneth Kazuo (2004). Approaching the Land of Bliss: Religious Praxis in the Cult of Amitåabha. University of Hawaii Press. p. 49. ISBN   0-824-82578-0.