Dalai Lama Says His Successor Could be Chosen by Unorthodox Method

By VOA News, October 17, 2007

Washington, USA -- The Dalai Lama says his successor could be chosen among a group of senior monks, rather than through the centuries-old tradition of reincarnation.

<< Dalai Lama, in VOA interview

In an interview with VOA, the Tibetan spiritual leader said his successor could be chosen like the Pope, or he may decide to declare his own successor while he is still alive.

Chinese authorities issued a new regulation in July 2007 that requires all reincarnations - including the Dalai Lama - to be approved by the government.

After the second highest-ranking Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Panchen Lama, died in 1989, the Chinese government negated the reincarnation recognized by the Dalai Lama and installed its own choice.

The Dalai Lama said many people consider Beijing's choice to be a false Panchen Lama.

He said there is likely to be a false Dalai Lama as well.

The 72-year-old Tibetan exile said the Chinese government believes he will die soon.

The Nobel laureate also repeated his position that he would only be reincarnated if the Tibetan people agree the institution is still useful.

He said if he dies in exile, his reincarnation would be born there and would continue his life's work.

Since the late 1980s, the Dalai Lama has been calling on Beijing to hold talks to negotiate an autonomous status for Tibet.