Dalai Lama hints successor won’t have political role

The Dalai Lama speaks at Jamia Millia Islamia University

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama delivers a talk on "The importance of non-violence and ethical values" at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, India, on 12 September 2012. Vice Chancellor of the University Prof Najeeb Jung is seen in the background. OHHDL/Tenzin Choejor/India


NEW DELHI, India, 12 September 2012

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Wednesday hinted his successor would don the role of only a religious leader for Tibetans and not a political one. He expressed satisfaction at handing over “legitimate authority” to elected leaders of the community in-exile.

The Dalai Lama had till last year held the dual position of political and spiritual head of the Tibetans before he transferred all powers to the “Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile”.

Delivering a talk on “Non Violence and Ethical Values” at the Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, the Tibetan spiritual leader said he fought for four decades to give shape to his dream of shedding the political authority and was finally “proud and happy” that he handed over legitimate authority to elected representatives.

“I am in a semi-retirement position. Every community is mature enough to chose their own leaders. I changed a tradition which has been there for four centuries. What was started by 5th Dalai Lama was ended by 14th Dalai Lama ie me. I am happy and proud,” he said.

The Dalai Lamas have always been the political and spiritual head of the Tibetan people.

He denounced violence as an instrument to solve any vexed issue, be it the Tibetan problem, the Jammu and Kashmir issue, or any problem in the north-east of the country.

In his 90-minute speech-cum-interaction with students and others, the Dalai Lama lamented that the Myanmarese government was not even listening to his views on the violence against Muslims in that country, and said his efforts to get in touch with pro-democracy icon Aung Sang Suu Kyi also failed.

To a question, the Dalai Lama said he was a “Buddhist Marxist” when it came to socio-economic theory, as he grew up reading Marxism and socialism.

“I am wiser than materialistic Marxists,” he quipped, sending the auditorium into peals of laughter.

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