4th Dalai Lama
Yonten Gyatso or Yon-tan-rgya-mtsho (1589–1617) was the 4th Dalai Lama, born in Mongolia on the 30th day of the 12th month of the Earth-Ox year of the Tibetan calendar. (Other sources, however, say he was born in the 1st month of the Earth Ox Year). As the son of the chieftain of the Chokur tribe, Tsultrim Choeje, and great-grandson of Altan Khan of the Tümed Mongols and his second wife Pha Khen Nula, Yonten Gyatso was a Mongolian, making him the only non-Tibetan to be recognized as Dalai Lama other than the 6th Dalai Lama, who was a Monpa—but Monpas can be seen either as a Tibetan subgroup or a closely related people.
The Nechung, state oracle of Tibet, and Lamo Tsangpa, another oracle, had both predicted the next reincarnation would be born in Mongolia. About this time, the chief attendant of the Third Dalai Lama, Tsultrim Gyatso, sent a letter informing the authorities in Tibet that the reincarnation had been born and details of some of the wonders accompanying his birth.
- "He was recognized by a delegation from his Drepung monastery and the princes of Ü, which had gone to Kweisui (Köke Qoto, Inner Mongolia) to meet him 1601."
Yonten Gyatso left for Tibet in 1599 when he was already ten years old, with his father, Tibetan monks and officials, and a thousand Mongol cavalry. They arrived in 1603 after stopping at all the major monasteries on the route.
Many Tibetans did not recognize him and there were several attempts to retake power from him, supported by the Kagyupa order. In 1605 one of the princes supporting the Kagyu invaded Lhasa and drove the Mongol cavalrymen out. When he was twenty-one warriors attacked Drepung monastery and Yonten Gyatso had to flee.