Dalai Lama says no need for his successor to perform dual roles

June 22nd, 2009 - 2:30 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 22 (ANI): The Dalai Lama has said there is no need for his successor to perform the two roles he has had to bear during his life, serving as both a spiritual and political leader.

In a video clip shown to hundreds of monks, nuns and lay people gathered in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, the Dalai Lama said it was essential that the Tibetan community in exile embraced democracy if it were to keep step with the wider world.

“The Dalai Lamas held temporal and spiritual leadership over the last 400 to 500 years. It may have been quite useful. But that period is over,” The Independent quoted the Nobel Prize winner, as saying.

“Today, it is clear to the whole world that democracy is the best system despite its minor negativities. That is why it is important that Tibetans also move with the larger world community,” he said.

The Dalai Lama has long stressed the need for the Tibetan community to elect a political leadership, and the first election to select a Prime Minister was held in 2001.

Indeed, the symposium at which his comments were broadcast late on Saturday night in Dharamsala was being held to discuss the next election for the government-in-exile due to be held in 2011.

Karen Lang, an associate professor of religion at the University of Virginia, said: “He is going to be 74 on July 6 and he is only human. He is looking ahead to when he passes away and the undeniable political problems there will be in choosing his successor.

“What he is saying (about dividing the political and religious role) makes a lot of sense, especially given the long interim period between announcing his successor and that person coming of age.”

The speech put the firmest cap possible on the idea that the Lama should be the sole repository of leadership for the Tibetan people.

Many Tibetans fear that the death of the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since he fled a crackdown by the Chinese after a failed uprising in 1959, could create a leadership vacuum. (ANI)

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