Lamas or teachers are senior monks (or nuns). Lay Tibetans can also become lamas. Well-versed in the sacred texts, a lama must also possesses the requisite skills for conducting rituals. Lamas are believed to be reincarnations of former teachers.
Once a little-known religion confined to its tiny nation, Tibetan Buddhism ironically achieved worldwide recognition when it was forced into exile by China’s Communists. The acknowledged face of Tibetan Buddhism today is the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth of his line, who lives in exile in India.
Photo courtesy of www.dalailama.com