Other titles in Tibetan Buddhism
Venerable: A title of respect applied to those who are ordained. The Tibetan equivalent is the word Kushok.
Ani: Ani is Tibetan for “nun.” The Tibetan for monk is “trapa.”
…la: The suffix “la” is a term of respect which can be affixed to the end of a title, as in “Ani-la,” or “Geshe-la,” or can be affixed to the end of a personal name, as in “Mindrol-la,” or “Tenzin-la.”
Guru: A Sanskrit word which means “spiritual teacher.”
Lama: A Tibetan word which literally translates as “heavy with qualities.” It is the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit word “guru.” In some Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the title of “lama” may be bestowed after a designated period of study and retreat. In other traditions, the title is applied informally by a more senior teacher to one qualified to lead students on the spiritual path.
Rinpoche: A Tibetan word which means “precious one.” This title is applied at the end of the teacher’s name. In most cases, the title is bestowed upon one who has been recognized as the reincarnation of a great teacher. “Rinpoche” is occasionally given as a title of respect to living teachers who were not formally recognized as reincarnate lamas while they were young but have demonstrated extraordinary qualities in this life.
Khensur: A title given to a retired monastery abbot.
Khenrinpoche: The honorific title for a current monastery abbot.
Kyabje: A highly honorific title historically given only rarely to very high lamas. His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama’s two tutors, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, are two examples.
Khenpo: The equivalent of a Geshe degree for the Nyingma, Sakya, and Kagyu sects, requiring nine to sixteen years of intense study, depending on the school and tradition. In Gelug monasteries, the word “Khenpo” means abbot.