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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Successor could be a young boy or girl: Dalai Lama

November 25, 2008

November 23, 2008

Dharamsala, Nov 23 (IANS) -- Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai
Lama, Sunday kept everyone guessing about his successor, saying the
issue was open on whether a new head was required, and added that it
could be a young boy or a girl. "There are various ways of doing it
(having a successor). The point is whether to continue with the
institution of the Dalai Lama or not. After my death, Tibetan
religious leaders can debate whether to have a Dalai Lama or not,"
the Tibetan leader, who has been living in exile in India for the
last 49 years, told media persons at his Mcleodganj-based
headquarters here Sunday.

"The successor can be a young boy or a girl. Girls show more
compassion. Also, women are dominating things all over the world," he said.

"I may be the last Dalai Lama," he also added.

The Tibetan leader felt sad that the Tibet issue was not being
resolved. "Tibet is going through a death sentence. Its spirit is
being killed," he said.

Seeking India's help in the resolution of the Tibet issue, the Dalai
Lama said that India was "over-cautious" in the matter as it had its
own compulsions with China.

The 73-year-old Dalai Lama, whose real name is Tenzin Gyatso, is the
14th in succession in the institution of the Dalai Lamas. The first
Dalai Lama was made in the 15th century.

He has been under pressure from the exiled Tibetan community to
choose a successor since he is getting older and has been
hospitalized in recent months for various ailments. He was recently
operated in a Delhi hospital for removal of gall bladder stones.

The Tibetan leadership here is worried that if the Dalai Lama dies
without nominating or selecting a successor, the Chinese government
might install its own choice as the next Dalai Lama as they did in
the case of the Panchen Lama, the second highest ranking Buddhist
leader in Tibetan hierarchy, in 1995.

The Dalai Lama told reporters that there would be no dearth of
leaders to take over the reins of the Tibetan community after his
death. He said that Karmapa Lama, the third highest lama after the
Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, and other religious leaders could
lead the Tibetans. He added that the political role was already been
looked after by Tibetan "Prime Minister" Samdhong Rinpoche.

Categorically putting all speculation about his retirement plans at
rest, the Dalai Lama said he stood committed to the Tibetan cause and
would continue to lead the Tibetans "till death" as it was his moral

"Once all Tibetans return to Tibet after the issue is settled, I will
hand over authority to others," he said.

The Dalai Lama has been living in India in exile since 1959 when
Chinese forces entered Tibet's capital Lhasa and crushed an uprising
by Tibetans.

He said that he chose to remain "silent" on the issue of seeking
complete independence for Tibet instead of following his middle-path
policy of seeking genuine autonomy.

The special meeting of the Tibetan leadership, called here Nov 17 to
22 by the Tibetan Parliament in exile at the instance of the Dalai
Lama, Saturday reaffirmed faith in the leadership of the Dalai Lama
and his "middle-path" policy to work for genuine autonomy for Tibet
under China.

The meeting categorically requested the Dalai Lama not to even think
of retirement or semi-retirement.

The Dalai Lama, in recent months, had been saying that he was in
semi-retirement and wanted to retire from his public commitments.

The meeting asked the exiled government to hold back future talks
with China till Beijing "responded positively" to the Tibetan demands
of negotiating a genuine autonomy for Tibet, allowing exiled Tibetans
to return and also protect Tibetan race, religion, language and culture.
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