Dalai Lama contemplating retirement within months

The Dalai Lama accused China of carrying out a "cultural genocide" in Tibet.

Updated: Nov 21, 2010, 10:36 AM IST

New Delhi: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has said he was contemplating retirement within months and a final decision on it will be taken after consultations with the political leadership and Parliament-in-exile.

The 76-year-old leader, who has been living in India in exile since 1959, expressed hope that he could return to his homeland before his death.

"I think within next six months," the Tibetan leader told a private Indian news channel when asked whether he was retiring as was being speculated.

He, however, promptly added that "I do not know. May be next few months. I think may be."

The Dalai Lama said he will firm up his decision on retirement after discussions with the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.

"I want to inform them about my intention although I briefly mentioned (about it) already," he said.

Justifying his decision, he said the Tibetans in exile have already put in place a political set-up in 2001 and since then major decisions are being taken by the political leadership.

"Since then my position is something like semi-retired position. The major decisions are in the hands of political leadership. In order to utilise full democracy, I felt better I am not involved in any sort of these works," he said.

Asked whether the institution of Dalai Lama would continue even after his demise, he said if his death came within next few years, then most probably the people concerned including Mongolian and the Himalayan range of Buddhists would like to keep it.

On how the next Dalai Lama will be chosen as China is apparently not sympathetic to the institution, he said "I think they (China) are more concerned about the next Dalai Lama”.

When asked whether he was reluctant to nominate his successor, he only suggested that if people really want, then having a deputy Dalai Lama can be considered in the event of his death or being too old.

"If people really want to keep this institution, then at the time of my sort of death or too old, then if necessary some kind of deputy Dalai Lama or something, I do not know what kind of appropriate name (should be)..I do not know...someone carrying my sort of work," he said.

Asked whether his successor should be from Tibet or from the Diaspora community, the spiritual leader said if his death occurred while remaining "outside" then logically the next reincarnation should be from outside Tibet to carry forward his works.

The Dalai Lama said, "Since many years ago, I made it very clear. If my death occurs while we remained outside, then logically the very purpose of the new reincarnation is to succeed the works started by previous life.”

"So, reincarnation should be something to carry continuously my sort of struggle. So, therefore logically reincarnation will be outside Tibet."

The Tibetan leader was asked whether his recent comment on having a female Dalai Lama was serious and he replied in affirmative.

"Oh serious," he said, adding he did not say anything new as he had said 20 years back that it was "possible".

"...female reincarnated person is more effective, most useful for serving Buddha dharma, why not?"

Asked whether there will be any resistance to the idea of a female Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader said broadly he did not think so.

On whether he still believes he will be able to return to his homeland before his death, the Dalai Lama said he was optimistic.

The spiritual leader also accused China of carrying out a "cultural genocide" in Tibet either "intentionally or unintentionally" and said Tibetan culture and language is under threat.

PTI