The Second Dalai Lama, Gedun Gyatso, was born in 1476 at Tanak, near Shigatse in the Tsang region of central Tibet, to Kunga Gyaltso and Machik Kunga Pemo, a farming family. His father was a well-known tantric practitioner belonging to the Nyingma-Pa sect.
When Gedun Gyatso was able to speak, he was reported to have told his parents that his name was Pema Dorjee, the birth name of the First Dalai Lama, and that he would like to live in Tashi Lhunpo monastery.
When he was conceived, his father had a dream in which someone dressed in white appeared and told him to name his son Gendun Drupa and also said that his son would be a person with the ability to recollect his past lives. However, his father named him Sangye Phel.
He received his primary education from his father, and then at the age of eleven he was recognized as the reincarnation of Gendun Drupa, the first Dalai Lama, and was enthroned at Tashi Lhunpo monastery.
In 1486, he took his novice vows from Panchen Lungrig Gyatso and his vows of Gelung (full ordination) from Choje Choekyi Gyaltsen, who gave him the ordination name Gedun Gyatso. He studied at Tashi Lhunpo and Drepung monasery.
In 1517, Gedun Gyatso became the abbot of Drepung Monastery, and in the following year he revived the Monlam Chenmo, the Great Prayer Festival, and presided over the events with monks from Sera, Drepung, and Gaden, the three great monastic Universities of the Gelugpa Sect.
In 1525, he became the abbot of Sera Monastery.
He died at the age of sixty-seven in 1542.