Up to Tibetans to decide future of Dalai Lama Institution: Dalai Lama

Tibetan Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaks during a meeting with tourists at Tsuglakhang temple in McLeod Ganj, India, on 16 April 2018.

Tibetan Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaks during a meeting with tourists at Tsuglakhang temple in McLeod Ganj, India, on 16 April 2018. File photo/Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal


PANAJI, India, 9 August 2018

“It is up to the people of Tibet to decide whether the age old tradition of institution of Dalai Lama should continue or not and it is no longer politically relevant,” said Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Wednesday on 8 August.

He said the Chinese government was more concerned about this institution than him for political reasons. Dalai Lama is a title given to spiritual leaders of Tibetan people. This title is given to those who are considered among the most important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Addressing an event at the Goa Institute of Management, the 14th Dalai Lama said, “As early as in 1969, I had formally made a statement whether this very institution of Dalai Lama should continue or not, it is up to the Tibetan people to decide.”

Replying to students’ queries after an hour-long address, he said, “I have no concerns. Nowadays, Chinese government is more concerned about the Dalai Lama institution than me. The Chinese government is concerned because of political reasons”.

During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama had fled to India. He said in 2001, the elected political leadership was appointed (by the people in exile) and for the next 10 years he remained in semi-retired position.

“Then in 2011, I totally retired from the political responsibility. Now, the elected political leadership carries the full responsibility, I don’t get involved in their decision,” he said. “Now, no longer Dalai Lama institution is politically relevant,” the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner said.

About the future Dalai Lama, he said all leaders of different Buddhist traditions hold a meeting in Tibet every year in November. “This November, we are meeting again. In the previous meetings, they had decided that when my age reaches around 90 years, then the group of leaders will decide about the future Dalai Lama,” the 83-year-old spiritual leader said.

When asked about his own selection to the chair, Lama recalled, “According to my mother, the very day when the search party set by the Tibetan government reached my place… That very day our family was completely ignorant.” “But that very day, I was a 2-3 year old boy… I was so much excited. I myself don’t know why… The search party got some indications that day. When they reached our house, I ran towards them and recognised each persons’ name,” he said. “At that time I had some sort of some memory about past life,” the Dalai Lama said.

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