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Dalai Lama considering taking his retirement next year

November 25, 2010

By Pan Yan, Global Times
The People’s Daily Online
November 24, 2010     
The Dalai Lama is considering retiring as head of his exiled government next year, his spokesman was quoted by AFP as saying Tuesday.
The Dalai Lama announced he would address his retirement at the next session of his exiled parliament in March and would then look to scale back his responsibilities in the following six months, said Tenzin Taklha, a spokesman for the Dalai Lama's office, based in the northern Indian hill station of Dharamshala.
The Dalai Lama led a failed armed rebellion on March 10, 1959, for "Tibetan independence." Following it, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet, forming a "Tibetan government in exile." China has considered Tibet an inalienable part of the country since the 13th century.
Taklha stressed that the Dalai Lama cannot renounce his spiritual duties but plans to retire from his ceremonial responsibilities as head of his exiled government, such as signing resolutions.
The AP commented that this move "appeared to be another step in the aging leader's efforts to prepare his people for life after he dies."
Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times that this topic has often been used by the Dalai Lama to draw attention, as he knows that in Tibetan Buddhism, a Dalai Lama cannot "retire."
In May 2007, he told US students that he would "retire completely" within a few years and was already "semi-retired." In November 2008, he denied that he was preparing for gradual retirement. In October this year, he told CNN that "retirement is also my right."
Still, the declaration has once again raised the question of his succession, the UK-based Daily Telegraph pointed out.
The Dalai Lama's successor would be his "reincarnated soul boy" born after his death, chosen by a committee of monks and through a lot-drawing ceremony. The reincarnation should be approved by the central government.
The Dalai Lama has previously made a series of contradicting assertions, saying vari-ously that he might choose his reincarnation while alive, that he could stop his reincarnation, that his reincarnation could be designated, that his reincarnation could be a female, or that his reincarnation would be found either inside or outside China.
The Dalai Lama said in June last year that spiritual and political leadership no longer needed to be given over to the same person and called for the setting-up of a democratic style of leadership.
"He wants to manipulate the choosing of the next Dalai Lama so as to find one whom he believes could take over his separatist activities," Zhao said, adding that if the strict historical conventions and religious rituals in the reincarnation of Living Buddhas are abandoned, people would see the destruction of the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
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