Definition of lama in English:


Pronunciation /ˈlämə/ /ˈlɑmə/

Translate lama into Spanish


  • 1An honorific title applied to a spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism, whether a reincarnate lama (such as the Dalai Lama) or one who has earned the title in life.

    ‘Both Hindus and Buddhists cremate their dead, except for important lamas (Buddhist spiritual leaders), who are buried.’
    • ‘The local lama (Buddhist spiritual leader) is informed of the birth and the time that it occurred.’
    • ‘Even if we obtain teachings from such people, they cannot be regarded as spiritual masters or lamas.’
    • ‘Whether a lama is recognized as the incarnation of a previous master is not paramount to Tibetans.’
    • ‘They were followed by the Tsogchen Tulkus, high ranking reincarnate lamas.’
    • ‘My case was a little different because I was raised as a reincarnate lama.’
    • ‘The boy also stands to gain tremendous knowledge and support from a number of leading lamas, including the Dalai Lama, who have made India their home.’
    • ‘Another heroic figure of Bhutan is Shabdrung, the lama who assumed the title of Dharma Raja in the seventeenth century and laid the political foundations of Bhutan State.’
    • ‘The young Buddhist leader is the first lama whose authority is recognized both by China and the Dalai Lama.’
    • ‘They are very often reincarnations of previous lamas.’
    • ‘This lama mastered all of the teachings of the Dro clan, including the Kalachakra.’
    • ‘The political power of the lamas was taken away and given to Tibetan leaders nominated by the central government in Beijing.’
    • ‘It is even, at times, hard to imagine that Rinpoche is an incarnate lama who spent fourteen of his first nineteen years in rigorous monastic training in Old Tibet.’
    • ‘In his younger days, the Karmapa spent much of his time in a monastery where he received a special education befitting a boy believed to be the reincarnation of a previous lama.’
    • ‘Children are usually identified as having specific traits indicative of a reincarnated lama, then tested further to prove their identity.’
    • ‘It is important that they both pray to the Three Jewels, their root and lineage lamas and their deities, chiefly Palden Lhamo and other Dharma protectors, for a clear answer.’
    • ‘The custom of erecting stupas over the remains of great saints and lamas also continued in Tibet.’
    • ‘And one question was at least in Tibetan Buddhism, people are expected to learn things at different stages, and the master, the lama, sort of validates in a sense, that the pupil, the disciple, has moved to another level.’
    • ‘Authorization as a lama usually comes directly from one's teachers and is often not given until the recipient has completed much practice and study.’
    • ‘All others are totally lacking in freedom, because they must subordinate their will to that of the patriarch, lama, emperor, pharaoh, or whatever else the despot may be called.’
  • 2A Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist monk.

    ‘Ricard, himself a Buddhist lama, is the French translator for the Dalai Lama and has photographed life in Tibet and Nepal for 30 years.’
    • ‘So the ceremony actually involved five monks - it involved a Sri Lankan monk, a Burmese monk, a Thai monk, a Tibetan lama and an Australian monk.’
    • ‘Inner Mongolia, like Tibet, is an Autonomous Region of China, and during the Cultural Revolution the Mongolian lamas were forbidden to practice their religion or wear their robes.’
    • ‘She was very much like a Zen monk, or a lama, or my guru.’
    • ‘Puman was taken to India at the age of six to be trained as a Tibetan Buddhist lama, while his parents stayed in Taiwan.’
    • ‘Venerable Lama Samten is one of the resident lamas at Karma Choeling Buddhist Monastery, Kaukapakapa, New Zealand.’
    • ‘Consequently, the great majority of Gelugpa lamas are monks and the master who is a layman is a rarity.’
    • ‘Mongols sought the counsel and help of the lama (priest or monk) for every aspect of their life: migration, marriage, childbirth, disease, and death.’
    • ‘I remember my father and other members of the older generation of Tibetan lamas saying that they didn't blame the Communist Chinese for the destruction of Tibet.’
    • ‘The Jewel Heart centers have a humanitarian wing that provides financial assistance to young Tibetan lamas at monasteries-in-exile in India.’
    • ‘The Tibetan lamas were delighted with these donations and thanked us.’
    • ‘For men, a middle name is given by the lama, a Buddhist holy man.’
    • ‘The high-frequency sounds of the maraca have been used by American Indian shamans for healing and by Tibetan lamas to uplift the soul.’
    • ‘There is quite an old tradition of married lamas, who can be just as revered as spiritual teachers as those who follow the monastic tradition.’
    • ‘No doubt, becoming a student involves finding an appropriate teacher, irrespective of whether that teacher is a bhante, lama, rinpoche, sensei or roshi.’
    • ‘In 1717, the Qing Dynasty Emperor Kangxi sent lamas to create a map of Tibet.’
    • ‘Many lamas came to India as refugees around the time Khandro Rinpoche was born in 1967, and settled in the areas close to the borders of Tibet.’
    • ‘So he sent three lamas to my next course in Sarnath.’
    • ‘I told her the lamas I had been around were mostly non-drinkers.’
    • ‘If you are searching for other mentions of individual lamas and teachers, past and present, the Search Engine may help.’


Mid 17th century from Tibetan bla-ma (the initial b being silent), literally ‘superior one’.