Is the Dalai Lama quitting?
Last Sunday’s edition of German paper Die Welt quoted the Dalai Lama in an interview:
We had a Dalai Lama for almost five centuries. The 14th Dalai Lama now is very popular. Let us then finish with a popular Dalai Lama.
According to Tricycle magazine, the world media (even elephant journal) has misunderstood, and therefore misreported the story, incorrectly claiming that the Dalai Lama does not wish to have a successor.
Speaking of his role as a spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama tells Welt am Sonntag that “Tibetan Buddhism is not dependent on one individual. We have a very good organizational structure with highly trained monks and scholars.” Asked whether the Tibetans will require a Dalai Lama in the future, he responds modestly, “No, I don’t think so.”
The article quotes Robert Barnett, director of Columbia University’s Tibetan Studies program:
It is in line with the tradition whereby all lamas are expected to demonstrate diffidence about the question of their return as a kind of humility. The convention is that they are only able to return if their followers pray intently for them to do so.
He is clearly saying that his role as the leading figure in Tibetan Buddhism will not continue.
However, later in the interview, His Holiness went on to say:
I hope and pray that I may return to this world as long as sentient beings suffering remain.
and quotes the first Dalai Lama:
‘I have no desire for any of these heavenly places. I want to be reborn, where I can be of use.’ This is my wish, too.
Thankfully, Stephen Colbert has stepped up and offered to help. After explaining the Tibet/China conflict over the future leader of Tibetan Buddhism, he said, “I will be the 15th Dalai Lama.”
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Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: courtesy of the author