"The lama with wisdom like an ocean", secular and spiritual leader of Tibet as nominated by the Mongols. The Dalai Lama is a monk of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Je Tsongkhapa. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.
The Dalai Lama is considered to be the successor in a line of tulkus who are believed to be incarnations of Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The name is a combination of the Mongolic word dalai meaning "ocean" and the Tibetan word བླ་མ་ (bla-ma) meaning "guru, teacher, mentor". The Tibetan word "lama" corresponds to the better known Sanskrit word "guru".
From 1642 until the 1950s the Dalai Lama or his regent headed the Tibetan government or Ganden Phodrang which, except for minor periods, ruled over all or most of the Tibetan plateau from Lhasa with varying degrees of autonomy, being generally subject to first Mongol (1642-1720) and then Manchu (1720-1912) patronage and protection.
Example via www.ramdass.org: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama