Buddhism Dalai Lama To Step Down As Political Head


1947-2014 (Archived)
The Dalai Lama announced on Thursday that he would step down as “political head” of the so-called Tibetan government-in-exile but would remain as religious leader and continue to advocate “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, 75, a Nobel Laureate, said he would hand over his “formal authority” to a “freely-elected” leader. He said he was committed to playing his part for the “just cause” of Tibet.

Making the announcement in his speech at the main temple in this hill resort on the 52nd anniversary of the “Tibetan uprising day,” he said he would formally propose on Monday amendments to the “charter for Tibetans-in-exile” reflecting his decision to devolve his “formal authority” to an elected leader.

“As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power. Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect,” said the Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

The new “Parliament” will be elected when Tibetans across the world vote on March 20. By devolving his powers, the Dalai Lama hopes to give the “prime minister” a greater clout.

In a quick response, China said the talks of retirement “are his [the Dalai Lama's] tricks to deceive the international community.” “The Dalai is a political exile under a religious cloak long engaged in activities aimed at splitting China,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

In his 15-minute speech, the Dalai Lama said: “My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility. It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run. It is not because I feel disheartened.

“Tibetans have placed such faith and trust in me that as one among them I am committed to playing my part in the just cause of Tibet.”

The Dalai Lama also called on China's leaders to show greater transparency.

He said:

“China, with the world's largest population, is an emerging world power and I admire the economic development it has made.

“It also has huge potential to contribute to human progress and world peace. But to do that, China must earn the international community's respect and trust.

“In order to earn such respect China's leaders must develop greater transparency, their actions corresponding to their words. To ensure this, freedom of expression and freedom of the press are essential.”

The Dalai Lama also said they had to find a way to keep the dialogue process going with Beijing.

Referring to the ‘Jasmine Revolution' in the Middle East in his speech, the Dalai Lama said he was a firm believer in non-violence and people's power, and these events had shown once again that determined non-violent action could indeed bring about positive change.



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ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
In a kind of strange way this may be related to China's attempts to insist that the Dalai Lama to replace him be chosen through the re-incarnation principle where as he was thinking of appointing someone outside of so called tradition flagged by China. It is political jostling and he perhaps wants a different standard bearer and a helping hand in that area (political). The political "Prime Minister" will get greater clout and greater headaches too and perhaps end up paying the price in the long run to either capitulate to China or be persecuted.

The appointment of a Dalai Lama to follow him is going to be an ugly and divisive issue in Buddhism and for the future of residents of Tibet.

Just some thoughts for dialog.

Sat Sri Akal.


1947-2014 (Archived)
The Dalai Lama announced this plan about a year ago -- to give all and sundry time to digest the reality of it.

There is some interesting background in terms Chinese law passed a year ago that outlawed reincarnation. The objective was to stifle any possible opposing Head Lama coming from outside of China, after the death of the present Dalai Lama. The Chinese have in fact for years supported their personal version of Head Lama.

In rejoinder the Dalai Lama made a public announcement that the next Dalai Lama might indeed be living somewhere other than China. I can't remember all the details. A signal that China should not think that he, an old man, in dying, would leave his people without leadership. Nor that China could take advantage of a leadership vacuum in its own time and its own way.

Tibet is now under the heavy stone of Chinese oppression. But Tibetans in exile have created a diaspora with its own political realities outside of Tibet. Completely new realities, along side old realities, with the need to deal effectively with other nations who can exert some influence on China viz the political oppression and human rights violations that continue. The Dalai Lama is doing something very rare. He is cultivating "leadership succession, " the corporate term for finding new leaders with trusted values who can manage an uncertain and complex future.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Ambarsaria ji

You understood it. I read that article also. They made this pronouncement AFTER they outlawed reincarnation. Notice BTW that the title mentions reincarnation, but the body of the article does not mention it. It was quite a spectacle for a while. Their point was, reincarnation as long as it was the Dalai Lama and as long as it happened in China/Tibet.

The Dalai Lama found great humor in the situation because reincarnation as a process does not guarantee where a soul will end up next time around. Could even be Australia or Canada.

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