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May retire within months: Dalai Lama

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has said he is contemplating retirement within months and a final decision on it will be taken after consultations with the political leadership and Parliament-in-exile.

delhi Updated: Nov 21, 2010 12:41 IST

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has said he is contemplating retirement within months and a final decision on it will be taken after consultations with the political leadership and Parliament-in-exile.

The 76-year-old leader, who has been living in India in exile since 1959, expressed hope that he could return to his homeland before his death. "I think within next six months," the Tibetan leader told Karan Thapar's Devil's Advocate programme when asked whether he was retiring as was being speculated.

He, however, promptly added that "I do not know. May be next few months. I think may be." The Dalai Lama said he will firm up his decision on retirement after discussions with the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile. "I want to inform them about my intention although I briefly mentioned (about it) already," he said.

Justifying his decision, he said the Tibetans in exile have already put in place a political set-up in 2001 and since then major decisions are being taken by the political leadership. "Since then my position is something like semi-retired position. The major decisions are in the hands of political leadership. In order to utilise full democracy, I felt better I am not involved in any sort of these works," he said.

Asked whether the institution of Dalai Lama would continue even after his demise, he said if his death came within next few years, then most probably the people concerned including Mongolian and the Himalayan range of Buddhists would like to keep it.

On how the next Dalai Lama will be chosen as China is apparently not sympathetic to the institution, he said "I think they (China) are more concerned about the next Dalai Lama."

When asked whether he was reluctant to nominate his successor, he only suggested that if people really want, then a having a deputy Dalai Lama can be considered in the event of his death or being too old.

"If people really want to keep this institution, then at the time of my sort of death or too old, then if necessary some kind of deputy Dalai Lama or something, I do not know what kind of appropriate name (should be). I do not know - someone carrying my sort of work," he said.

Asked whether his successor should be from Tibet or from the diaspora community, the spiritual leader said if his death occured while remaining "outside" then logically the next reincarnation should be from outside Tibet to carry forward his works.