Dalai Lama Intends To Retire As Head of Tibetan State In Exile
The Tibetan movement in exile, stationed in Dharamshala, India, since 1960, directly elected for the first time a political leader, and ever since the Dalai Lama considered himself in a semi-retired state.
In the last months, His Holiness has thought about approaching the Parliament and discuss his retirement.
Still, spokesman Tenzin Taklha assures that Dalai Lama’s retirement will be only from his ceremonial responsibilities as head of state, not from the position of spiritual leader of the Tibetans.
His decision does not mean he will retire from leading the political struggle. “He is the Dalai Lama, and he will always lead the Tibetan people,” spokesman added.
Dalai Lama, 75, is the figurehead of the Tibetan resistance against the Chinese rule, and made himself known as an activists for human rights and dialogue between religions.
Dalai Lama will raise the problem of his retirement at the next session of parliament on March and will step back from responsibilities during the next six months.
The speaker of the parliament stressed out that every Tibetan in the world would want to see Dalai Lama continue for as long as his physical abilities allow him to.
If he is to step back, the speaker continued, it will be a big political change for the Tibetan government in exile, and the parliament must wait to see the way he presents his case on the parliament floor in March.
There is concern that the eventual death of Dalai Lama would prejudice the coherence of the Tibetan movement that is aiming at struggling for autonomy or independence of the region within China.
The Dalai Lama is the central figure of the Tibetan social and religious system. Since 1391, when the original Dalai Lama was born, all the subsequent Dalai Lamas have been proclaimed after careful search and discovery of the person in which the Dalai Lama was incarnated.
It was also the case of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the current holder of the office, who was appointed the traditional way.
Now, as he grows older, Dalai Lama is concerned about succession, he says that others means to determine succession could be used, such as electing the Dalai Lama like the Catholic pope is elected, or even suppress the position altogether and find another spiritual figure to fill in.
While in Poland, Dalai Lama made a statement in which he said it was possible that this time the Buddhist leader may incarnate in a woman.
There is a monk called Karmapa, a scholar of great prestige, who could fill the void if the Dalai Lama dies. Karmapa is recognized by both the Tibetans and Chinese.11