Dalai Lama retires as political leader of Tibet-in-exile.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 10, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

The Dalai Lama ends his political role as Tibet’s leader.

For years, as only the Dalai Lama would, he’s pushed and promised that true democracy, not religious or kingly leadership, is the best form of government for future Tibetan generations. And while for years he’s acted as number two in Tibetans’ political life, he has still been looked to as number one.

Now all that formally changes, for all time.

Excerpt via New York Times:

For years, the Tibetan spiritual leader has spoken of his desire to cede political authority, or “retire” as he sometimes put it. But in Thursday’s speech, the Dalai Lama made it official, announcing that he would propose the change during the session of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile that begins next week in Dharamsala, India…

Tim Johnson, a journalist and author specializing in Tibet, said the Dalai Lama’s announcement should not be interpreted as a signal that his influence is waning. Even if the Dalai Lama’s political authority is diluted, he remains the one figure capable of uniting and mobilizing Tibetans inside and outside of China, Mr. Johnson said.

“He may ‘retire,’ of sorts, but he will still play the predominant role,” predicted Mr. Johnson, who wrote the recent book, “Tragedy in Crimson: How the Dalai Lama Conquered the World but Lost the Battle with China.”…for the rest, click over to The NY Times.

It’s a smart, and selfless move. Now the future Dalai Lama—the one chosen by Communist China—will have no political power over Tibetans used to having a prime minister.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


10 Responses to “Dalai Lama retires as political leader of Tibet-in-exile.”

  1. Claudia says:

    Well, he is getting up in years, isn't he? I suppose it was bound to happen at some point, and the big wheel of change is coming over again… May it be for good…

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Yup, he's getting up there, as China happily notes.

    It's "the most walk-the-talk move I've witnessed in my lifetime: a "god-king" transfers power willingly to democratic rule, thwarting the stated ambitions of Communist China to name the next Dalai Lama—and therefore lead Tibetans everywhere" (from my intro on FB, only slightly diff than above). ~ WL

  3. Rebecca says:

    Brilliant move on his part! Now whomever China chooses will be a figure head only!

  4. DocHeather says:

    I'm sad to hear it, but glad to know he'll be getting some (?) rest.

  5. Claudia says:

    Ha!, you are right on the "Walk – the – Talk" part! wish we could, and by we I mean "I" could follow on his steps in a more dedicated way !

  6. britt says:

    appropriate timing for the Tibetan new year 🙂

  7. lojohn elia says:

    Maybe now he will preach acceptance rather than the desires of peace and love!
    The Tibetans with their prayer wheels and flags always asking for something, it is no wonder they seem to have bad karma!

  8. […] On March 14, Tibet’s beloved spiritual-political leader announced that the time is ripe to him to … […]

  9. snowyogi says:

    Every time I’ve seen him talk, even from a distance, you can absolutely feel his presence. What a good, good human being.

  10. Linda says:

    Clarifying, concisely-put article revealing wisdom as no-push-over, yet egoless. Perhaps an example of what Trungpa Rinpoche would call "vajra politics"!