Glossary of Proper Nouns

Sakya sect: Religious sect that grew to be extremely powerful during the Yuan Dynasty. In order to utilize Sakya power in Tibet, the Mongols gave authority over Tibet to the Sakya lama.

Changchub Gyaltsen: Instrumental in strengthening the Phagmodrupa myriarchy, Changchub Gyaltsen put almost all the territory of the U region under his control and was victorious against the Sakya sect. Consequently, he replaced the Sakya regime with the Phagmodrupa Desi regime that was later recognized by the Yuan Dynasty.

Tsongkapa Lobsang Drakpa (1357-1419): Founder of the reformed Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He was a renowned theacher of Tibetan Buddhism, and his scriptures are a prime source of study today of the Gelugpa tradtion.

Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang: Founder of the Ming Dynasty and Emperor of China from 1368 to 1398. To come to power, he led a peasant revolution against the Mongols. His reign saw both great cultural and economic development.

Karmapa Lama: The spiritual leader of one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The line of Karmapa reincarnations extends back to the Thirteenth century.

Ringpung Family: Ruled over Tibet from 1435-1565.

Gongma Drakpa Jungney: Enthroned in 1433 and reigned for twelve years. His reign marked by constant squabbles with the Ringpung family who controlled civil administration.

Donyo Dorje: Member of the Rinpung family. During the squabbles between the Rinpungs and the Gongmas, he attacked the U region. He later captured Lhasa and remained there until 1517.

Gelugpa Tradition: Founded by Tsongkhapa and became the most prominent school of Tibetan Buddhism by the end of the Sixteenth Century. The Dalai Lama is its most famous figurehead.

Namgyal Palzangpo: The last acting Imperial Tutor of the Yuan Dynasty. Upon hearing the Ming edict regarding Yuan ex-officials, he went to Nanjing in 1373 to show his allegiance. He was appointed “State Tutor” by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and received a jade seal of authority.

Kelzang Gyatso, Seventh Dalai Lama (1708-1757): A great scholar and poet, he was enthroned in the Potala Palace in 1720. In 1728, he was moved from Lhasa so that he had less influence on the Tibetan government. In 1751, he came back to Lhasa to preside over the Kashag.

Pholhanas: Effective ruler of Tibet from 1733-1747. In the 1720s, he was a senior minister in the Council of Ministers whose interests rested with the Tsang. His interests led to conflict with the junior ministers and civil war emerged. He emerged victorious and became effective leader of Tibet. During his reign, he kept the Dalai Lama at bay and maintained ties with the Manchu.

Ambans: A high official in the Qing imperial government. Ambans were introduced in Tibet in 1727, and were used to influence Tibetan politics.

Kashag: A four-man Council of Ministers presided over by the Dalai Lama created in 1751. The original design was largely ineffectual because everyone was to check each other and no one was to assume overall responsibility.

Panchen Erdeni: Otherwise known as the Panchen Lama. The Panchen Erdeni is one of the two highest ranking lamas within the gelugpa tradtion along with the Dalai Lama.

Imperial Ordinance of 1793: Comprised of 29 Acts, an order that placed the Ambans in absolute charge of financial, diplomatic and trade matters in Tibet.

Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722): Emperor of the Qing Dynasty for 61 years, making him the longest reigning Chinese Emperor in history. He was known as a man of great military and intellectual ability. During his reign, China saw great prosperity and growth.

Emperor Yongzheng(1678-1735): Third Qing Emperor to rule of China, he ruled from 1722-1735. His main goal was to create an effective government at minimum expense, and he used military force in order to protect his dynasty. He is often considered to be despotic.

Emperor Qianlong(1711-1799): Fourth Qing Emperor to rule ever China, he reigned from 1735-1796. During his reign he was unrelentingly conservative and sinocentric. The Qing Dynasty began its demise during his reign.

Rdo rje gcod pa (1874-?): The first fully trained Tibetan monk to teach the Chinese in the Republican period. He studied at Drepung, the largest monastery in Lhasa, spoke Chinese, and became the most active Tibetan teacher in China for many years.

Southwest Dharma-assembly for Peace: an event in 1931 held in Chengdu, organized by Buddhists in Sichuan in order to spread interest in Buddhist across China

Yuan Shikai (1859-1916): first president of the Republic of China from 1912-1916. Yuan’s thirst for power led him to institute dictatorial rule in 1916 by declaring himself emperor.

Simla Convention: treaty negotiated by Great Britian, Tibet, and China which China did not ratify. The treaty established the boundary for a Tibetan state.

12th Dalai Lama (1857-1875): born Trinley Gyatso, ruled during a time of political unrest in China and strained relations between China and Tibet

13th Dalai Lama (1876-1933): born Thubten Gyatso, responsible for negotiating the Simla Convention with Great Britain that asserted Tibetan independence

Panchen Lama: along with the Dalai Lama, one of the two highest ranking lamas in the Gelugpa sect

Amban: a Manchu high official, often an imperial resident of an outlying territory who acted as regent for the Qing state

Xikang: a now-defunct province in present-day Sichuan and Yunnan, southwest China, or the Tibetan province of Kham.

Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945): or the Second Sino-Japanese War, set off by Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and most remembered for the brutal invasion and occupation of Nanjing in 1937

Seventeen Point Agreement: singed in 1951 by the People’s Republic of China and the 14th Dalai Lama affirming Tibetan political autonomy but returning it Chinese sovereignty

Fan Ming: officer in the People’s Liberation Army who led the 1951 invasion into Tibet for the PRC.

CCP: Chinese Communist Party, the political party of the People’s Republic of China.

Dharamsala: city in northeast India that is the seat of the Tibetan government in exile. It is the home of the Dalai Lama and roughly 150,000 Tibetans.

Tibet: is a Plateau region in Central Asia and the indigenous home to the Tibetan people.

An Lushan rebellion in 755: took place in China during the Tang Dynasty, from December 16, 755 to February 17, 763.

Sino-Tibetan peace treaty of 821-822:

Tang Dynasty: Chinese dynasty which reigned from 618 – 907 AD.

Mongolia: a country typically classified as being a part of East Asia, although sometimes it is considered part of Central Asia, and the northern rim of historical Mongolia extends into North Asia.

Uighurs: a Turkic people of Central Asia.

Manchu: a Tungusic people who originated in Manchuria (today's Northeastern China).

Song: a ruling dynasty in China between 960–1279 CE.

Yuan: a khanate of the Mongol Empire, considered the center of the four major divisions of the empire, lasting officially from 1271[1] to 1368.

Qing: also known as the Manchu Dynasty, was the last ruling dynasty of China from 1644 to 1911.

Tubo: a 4th class municipality in the province of Abra, Philippines.

Tang-Tubo Alliance Tablet:

Songstan Gambo: was the first emperor of a unified Tibet. In the Chinese records his name is given as Qizonglongzan.

Emperor Taizong: the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty of China, ruling from 626 to 649.

Princess Wen Cheng: was a niece of the powerful Emperor Taizong of Tang of Tang China, who left China in 640, according to records, arriving the next year in Tibet to marry the thirty-seven year old Songtsän Gampo (605?–650 CE) the thirty-third king of the Yarlung Dynasty of Tibet, in a marriage of state as part of a peace treaty along with large quantities of gold.

Princess Jin Cheng:

King Tride Tsugdan:

Nyatri Tsenpo:

Drigum Tsenpo:

Chatri Tsenpo:

Songsten Gampo: (605 or 617? - 649). Srong-btsan sGam-po = 'he who is powerful, just and profound')[1] was the first emperor of a unified Tibet.

Princess Devi:

Thon-mi Sam-bhota: is the traditional inventor of the Tibetan script in the 7th C. AD.

Lhasa: is the traditional capital of Tibet and the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Lhasa is located at the foot of Mount Gephel.

Gar Tongtsen:

Gar Tsenya:

Mangsong Mangtsen:

Trimang Löntsen or Khri-mang-slon-rtsan (r. 650-676 CE): succeeded to the throne after the death of his grandfather, Songtsän Gampo, and was the second emperor of a unified Tibet.

Dusong Mangje:

Tride Tsugtsen:



Tantric Master Padmasambhara:

Three Jewels of Buddhism: the three things that Buddhists give themselves to, and in return look toward for guidance, in the process known as taking refuge.


Dharma: signifies the underlying order in nature and life (human or other) considered to be in accord with that order.

Lhalung Palgye Dorje:


Chosgyal Age:

Rashid al-Din: (1247 - 1318), was a Persian physician,[1] writer and historian, who wrote an enormous Islamic history volume, the Jami al-Tawarikh, in the Persian language.

Lamas: the Tibetan word for religious teacher (like the Sanskrit term 'guru')

Khan Kublai:


Pagba (1235-1280): was the fifth leader of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Sapan Gunga Gyaincain:

U-Tsang: is one of the traditional provinces of Tibet, the others being Amdo and Kham.

Ngari: is a prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Its capital is Gar County.

Marco Polo (1254-1324): at earliest but no later than June 1325[2]) was a Venetian trader and explorer who gained fame for his worldwide travels.


Genghis Khan: ca. 1162[1]–August 18, 1227) born Temujin was the founder, Khan (ruler) and posthumously-declared Khagan (emperor[2]) of the Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous empire in history.

Xixia: the Tangut Empire was a state that existed from 1038 up to 1227 in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Gansu, Shaanxi, and Ningxia.

Prince Goden:

Sakya Pandita (1182–1251): was a Tibetan spiritual leader and Buddhist scholar and the fourth of the Five Venerable Supreme Sakya Masters of Tibet.

Kokonor region: Is an alternative name of Qinghai province in China.

Phagpa’s Script:

Sakyapa sect: one of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the others being the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Gelug. It is one of the Red Hat sects along with the Nyingma and Kagyu.

Karmapa: the head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest sub-school of the Kagyupa (Tib. Bka' brgyud), itself one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism