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Dalai Lama firm on retirement

A day before an election to the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile (Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies), the Dalai Lama -- Tenzin Gyatso - today reaffirmed his decision to relinquish his political authority and said that he was even deliberating to end the 400- year-old institution of the spiritual leader.

india Updated: Mar 19, 2011 21:16 IST
Gaurav Bisht

A day before an election to the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile (Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies), the Dalai Lama -- Tenzin Gyatso - on Saturday reaffirmed his decision to relinquish his political authority and said that he was even deliberating to end the 400- year-old institution of the spiritual leader.

"I can happily end this rule of Dalai Lama. It will be a great step as no one else besides me can make a decision for me," the Dalai Lama told a gathering of devotees at the main Buddhist temple in Mcleodganj during a daylong teaching on the Jataka Tales.

The aging Dalai Lama sent out a strong message across that he was not ready to reconsider his decision to devolve his political powers even as the Tibetan Parliament, which is in session, has been deliberating ways to persuade the spiritual leader to continue leading them politically as he has been doing since the past 52 years.

"Now is the right to time to make change. Of course change will happen eventually. But if it happens through the people it will be a disgrace," said the Dalai Lama during the teachings where the outgoing Kalon Tripa or the Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche and other parliamentarians were present.

"It is not good that the Dalai Lama keeps absolute powers," he said as he drew comparison to the communist regime, which used gun to hold on to power.

Tenzin Gyatso explained to the devotees how the institutions of Dalai Lama came into existence in Tibet.

"It was during the time of fifth Dalai Lama - (Ngawang Lozang Gyatso) that the institution of the Dalai Lama began to hold temporal authority of Tibet," he explained stressing that his decision would be beneficial to the Tibetans after he dies.

But the Dalai Lama made it clear that he would continue to lead Tibetans spiritually.

"I can hold the same position as it has been in the case of first four Dalai Lamas," he said.

The Dalai Lama has also turned down the resolution adopted by the Tibetan Parliament asking him to stay on as the political leader.

"The resolution has sent been sent back to the Tibetan Parliament," the Dalai Lama's private secretary Chimme Cheokyappa said.

Tibetan Parliament in exile, which was adjourned on Friday, had a closed door meeting in Dharamsala to discuss the emerging scenario.

The Dalai Lama who fled Tibet in 1959 after Chinese troops marched in Lhasa, strongly conveyed to the Tibetans that the political responsibility will now rely on the Kalon Tripa.

Tibetans will elect their new leader in simultaneous elections to the Kalon Tripa and the Tibetan Parliament on Sunday.

The three candidates in fray for the Prime Minister's post are Lobsang Sangay, Tenzin Namgyal Tethong and Tashi Wangdi.

Lobsang Sangay, 43, is a senior fellow at Harvard Law School whereas Tenzin Namgyal Tethong is a scholar who teaches at Stanford. While Tashi Wangdi was Dalai Lama's representative in Brussels, New York and New Delhi.

During the preliminary rounds Sangey had secured a lead of nearly 20,000 votes ahead of his close rival Thetong.

As many as 83,399 Tibetans would vote on Sunday to decide their future.

In the elections that would start at 9am, the Tibetans would also elect 44 members to the Tibetan Parliament.