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The First Dalai Lama

Nadia Cavner

Nadia Cavner, a regular name on various Barron’s lists and president of financial services firm the Nadia Cavner Group, engages in numerous charitable efforts in and around Springfield, Missouri. Her work has afforded her the opportunity to meet with international icons of philanthropy, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan tradition of appointing a Dalai Lama as a spiritual, religious, and political leader extends back more than 600 years. Shabtod’s Gedun Drupa, born in 1391, is widely considered to be the first Dalai Lama, though he did not carry the title during his lifetime. History shows that Drupa was heavily interested in religious practices from a very early age and began his education at the Nartang monastery after his seventh birthday.
Drupa was a gifted member of the Nartang monastery who not only became a fully ordained monk but also earned the title of “Omniscient.” Particularly gifted in areas of logic and Vinaya, his three commentaries on Vinaya are still considered some of the most influential works ever produced on the topic. The first Dalai Lama passed away at the age of 84 while residing at the Tashilhunpo Monastery.

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