I learned this fact in an article about the New York City’s first babies of 2014.
One of the babies was Tenzin Choetso, a baby girl born to Tibetan Buddhist couple Metok Dolma (mom) and Dorjee Choetso (dad). She was born one second after midnight at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
Tibetan Buddhists often ask lamas to suggest personal names, both for babies and for older people who simply want a name change. So the couple called the 14th Dalai Lama and put in a request (via one of his secretaries).
He chose Tenzin, which happens to be his own name. (Not his original name, though. He was born Lhamo Thondup in 1935, but renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso upon being formally recognized as the reincarnated Dalai Lama in 1950.)
Tenzin was also the name he chose for he couple’s first daughter, 2-year-old Tenzin Choezey.
Turns out the Dalai Lama really likes to suggest the first name Tenzin (along with various second names). Tenzin is a unisex Tibetan name that has been variously defined as “upholder of teachings,” “holder of Buddhist doctrine,” and “to conquer the wisdom of Buddha.”
So if you want the Dalai Lama to name your baby, here’s how to contact him. Expectant parents of any faith can call. Just don’t be surprised if he picks the name Tenzin for you.
We finished up our Hawaiian vacation with a stop on Maui, and — between the blowhole, the black sand and the banyan tree — I was able to scan (most of) the 201-page Maui phone book for unusual names. Here’s what I found: