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
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)
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(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. (Read more Dalai Lama stories.)