Dalai Lama hints he may cross 100 years

Phayul, July 7, 2010

Dharamsala, India -- As he turned 75 on Tuesday, the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama hinted that it might be too early to worry about the next Dalai Lama, a concern that is shared by many Tibetans and supporters worldwide as China’s meddling into the century old Tibetan reincarnation tradition is on the rise.

The Tibetan leader said he is not much concerned about appointing his successor. “I am not much concerned about these things. As I have expressed, Chinese Communists seem to be more concerned about the Dalai Lama institution than me... political reason of course, silly thinking, and that's the matter. And at a practical level, no hurry, I am quite healthy, if I don't commit suicide then otherwise my body is very healthy, another 10-20 years I can... no problem, maybe 30 years...” the Tibetan leader told NDTV in a special program broadcast on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

The Tibetan leader answered in affirmative when asked if the institution of the Dalai Lama could fade away. “Yes! like the Buddha himself...there's no Buddha institution, No Nagarjuna institution, but the teachings still remain, not the organization. Of course I cannot compare with these great leaders, but my thoughts, my books will remain after me, for a few 100 years, but that's nothing to do with the institution.”

In 2007, China introduced a new rule that banned Tibetan reincarnate lamas without its approval. The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and installing its own next Dalai Lama.

“The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,” according to the law that became effective September 1, 2007.

The Tibetan leader told NDTV the institution of the Dalai Lama is not very important for Tibetan Buddhism as many people seem to think. “Some people got the impression that the institution is very important for Tibetan Buddhism, it's not.”

Meanwhile, the exile Tibetan government has rejected Beijing’s choice of the reincarnation of prominent Tibetan lama, Gyalrong Dedrug Rinpoche of Drepung Loseling Monastery. “As well as going against religion, this action of the Chinese government is a politically-motivated one.” On July 4, China appointed a five year old boy as the reincarnation of the Tibetan master who, according to the Tibetan exile government’s department of religion and culture, should be recognized as per the tradition with the consent of the Gaden Tripa, the holder of the Gaden Throne.