With his advancing age raising concerns among the Tibetan diaspora, their exiled spiritual leader, the fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, on Wednesday left it to the community to take the call on the future of the institution, which gained political significance during the regime of the fifth Dalai Lama.
Addressing students at the Himachal Pradesh University’s 21st convocation here on Wednesday, the Dalai Lama said, “I am now 79 years old and will turn 80 soon. I have faced many difficult times and am suffering from a lot of emotional problems."
“The decision on the future of the Dalai Lama will be taken only after I turn 90, nearly 10 years later. There is no hurry to take this decision,” he said after the function ended, adding that the Tibetan community in and outside Tibet would decide about the future of the Dalai Lama, who denounced his political powers three years ago. “For the last 2,600 years, Buddhism was being practised without the Dalai Lama,” he said.
Talking about a meeting held in Dharamsala to decide on the institution’s future, he said, “Nearly two years ago, Tibetan spiritual leaders held a discussion regarding the future of the Dalai Lama, and the final outcome was that everyone decided there was no hurry to decide about the next Dalai Lama. We agreed that we would take a decision only after I reached the age of 90 years.”
In March 2011, the Dalai Lama had relinquished his political role in the Dharamsala-based self- styled Tibetan government-inexile, better known as the Central Tibetan Administration. The Dalai Lama had, at the time, asked the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile to amend the Tibetan Charter to relieve him from his current role.
Tibetans consider the Dalai Lama the ‘God-King’. For 67 years since he assumed political responsibility for Tibet, the Dalai Lama has been the temporal and the spiritual leader of Tibetans. Gyastso, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his promotion of peace, is the only global face of the Tibetan struggle. He was exiled after Chinese troops marched into Tibet’s capital Lhasa in 1959. Giving a guarded reply on the stalemate in talks with China to resolve the half-a-century old Tibetan issue, the Dalai Lama said, “I will not answer questions related to political issues. On Tuesday, I mentioned that since 2001, I have been a semi-retired person. In 2011, I completely retired from political responsibility… If you are serious about the issue, you should discuss it with my political leadership.”
He also advised mediapersons to conduct thorough investigation before writing and to help educate the society.