The Fourth Dalai Lama, Yonten Gyatso, was born in 1589 (on the third day of the twelfth month of the Earth-Ox year of the Tibetan calendar) in Mongolia to the Chokar tribal chieftain Tsultrim Choeje, the grandson of Altan Khan, and his second wife PhaKhen Nula.
With predictions from the state oracles and auspicious signs at his birth, the abbot of Gaden Monastery recognized him as the true reincarnation of the Third Dalai Lama and he was given the name of Yonten Gyatso. His parents, however, refused to part with their son until he was older, so he received his primary religious education in Mongolia from Tibetan Lamas.
In 1601, at the age of twelve, Yonten Gyatso was escorted to Tibet accompanied by his father and the former Gaden throne holder, Sangya Rinchen, who bestowed the vows of novice monk on him.
In 1614, at the age of twenty-eight, he took the Gelong vows (ful ordination) from the Fourth Panchen Lama, Lobsang Choegyal, and later he became the abbot of Drepung and then Sera monastery. In 1616, at the age of twenty-seven he died at Drepung monastery.