The first major popular film reference to the Dalai Lama that I could find is from the 1980 Bill Murray film, Caddyshack.
In the film, Murray plays golf course groundskeeper Carl Spackler at the Bushwood Country Club:
“So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas….So, I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking.
So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-galunga.
So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, ‘Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.’ And he says, ‘Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.’ So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”