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Tibetans must decide on the future of the institution of Dalai Lama

In an era of intense anxieties for the Tibetan people in dealing with the repressive policies of China, Tibetans and other Buddhists worldwide have looked to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for spiritual guidance. And yet, the Tibetan spiritual leader himself is not certain about the future of the institution of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama has said the Tibetans must themselves decide if they need the institution of Dalai Lama, reported The Tibet Sun on Feb. 2, 2014.

 Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is introduced to guests during the Conversations with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
Keith Tsuji/Getty Images

On Saturday the Dalai Lama said it is for the Tibetan people to decide whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should remain and whether or not a woman will someday ascend to the post or not. The Dalai Lama has commented, “The question of the next Dalai Lama will arise after my death and if the Tibetan people feel there is no need to keep the tradition any more, then it can be done away with and there is nothing unusual about that.” Clearly, the Dalai Lama himself is not certain about the future of this tradition.

It is the firm position of the Dalai Lama that only the Tibetan people can decide whether or not the tradition of a Dalai Lama should in fact continue. He feels if at anytime a majority of Tibetans feel this institution is no longer relevant, than it will go away. He has also expressed the feeling that a female Dalai Lama is a possibility if the majority of Tibetans want that. He has joked if this happens, she must be very, very attractive so more people will come to listen to her.

We will have to wait to see what the Tibetans desire for the future of their faith in regard to the institution of the Dalai Lama. If a future Dalai Lama can offer the same type of positive spiritual leadership as the present Dalai Lama, well than much could be gained by continuing this tradition. And if a future Dalai Lama is a woman, certainly any Tibetan woman would offer an attractive appeal to people worldwide. However, the final decision on the future of the Dalai Lama tradition must be made by the Tibetans themselves.

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