Sakyamuni, on the left, is the historical Buddha Gotama, who lived in India in about 500 BC and founded Buddhism. The statue of Sakyamuni is found everywhere throughout Tibet.
The 5th Dalai Lama, on the right, is the most revered Dalai Lama. He united the country, returning it from the control of the Mongolians. For the first time, Tibet was a single country, and had a single regime that united spiritual and secular authority.
The juxtoposition of these two figues reveals the importance of the 5th Dalai Lama.
The Potala Palace, in all of its grandure, is the lasting symbol of his rule.