Next Dalai Lama May Be Female

Tibetan Buddhist leader opens door to female successor

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 7, 2007 9:00 AM CST

(Newser) – The Dalai Lama has revealed that his successor might be a woman, the Telegraph reports. Although some lamas, or living Buddhas, are female, the large majority are men and most consider themselves reincarnations of people of the same gender. But the leader of the Tibetan Buddhists, who is currently visiting Italy, said, "If a woman reveals herself as more useful, the lama could very well be reincarnated in this form."

The Dalai, who is 72, has begun to speak more forcefully about who will succeed him as the leader of Tibetan Buddhism amid fears that China might install its own head of the religion. Last week, he said that his successor might be found while he is still alive, going against the traditional procedure wherein monks seek out a child born after the previous leader has died.

The Dalai Lama smiles as he arrives for a three-day teaching event called The way toward Inner Peace in Milan, Italy, Friday, Dec. 7, 2007. The Dalai Lama opened a 10-day visit to Italy on Thursday with few official meetings on his schedule and no plans by the Vatican for...
The Dalai Lama smiles as he arrives for a three-day teaching event called "The way toward Inner Peace" in Milan, Italy, Friday, Dec. 7, 2007. The Dalai Lama opened a 10-day visit to Italy on Thursday...   (Associated Press)
The Dalai Lama greets the crowd at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala, India, in this Nov. 10, 2007 file photo. The Dalai Lama said Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007 the Tibetan people will hold a referendum before he dies to decide whether a new system of leadership is needed for the...
The Dalai Lama greets the crowd at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala, India, in this Nov. 10, 2007 file photo. The Dalai Lama said Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007 the Tibetan people will hold a referendum before...   (Associated Press)
The Dalai Lama is seen at the beginning of a three-day teaching event called The way toward Inner Peace in Milan, Italy, Friday, Dec. 7, 2007. The Dalai Lama opened a 10-day visit to Italy on Thursday with few official meetings on his schedule and no plans by the Vatican...
The Dalai Lama is seen at the beginning of a three-day teaching event called "The way toward Inner Peace" in Milan, Italy, Friday, Dec. 7, 2007. The Dalai Lama opened a 10-day visit to Italy on Thursday...   (Associated Press)
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