“Dalai Lama: I would be pleased if my successor was female”

The Dalai Lama is in Britain to receive the Templeton Prize Photo: Sameer Ashraf/Barcroft India Source: Telegraph

In an interview with Presenter for Channel 4 News Cathy Newman, the 14th Dalai Lama states that he, “Would be pleased if his successor was female.

According to the report by Cathy Newman, published by Telegraph.co.uk:

In his broken English, pausing occasionally to consult with his translator, he told me: “I think [it would be] good because you see, biologically, female[s] have more potential to develop affection or love to other. Some scientists, they tested two person, one male, one female looking at one sort of movie. Female [was] more sensitive: response is much stronger. So therefore…now we are 21st century…female have more potential so should take more active role regarding promotion of human compassion.”

Newman points out that women don’t have a, “Monopoly on compassion.”

But, she also reveals that the next Dalai Lama won’t be chosen by the current one.  The “high lamas” are in charge of choosing who the next Dalai Lama will be.

Newman describes the process:

Traditionally, they search for a child born around the same time as the current Dalai Lama dies. It can take several years, and involves looking out for a number of mysterious signs. They might have a dream about where the next Dalai Lama comes from. Or if the current incumbent is cremated, the high lamas might watch which direction the smoke blows in, or go to a holy lake – Lhamo Lhatso – in central Tibet and watch for a sign from there.

Newman contrasts the Buddhist tradition of including women with the Catholic tradition, where women are excluded from becoming Pope.  She calls Buddhism “rather more enlightened.”

The Buddha himself was the first religious founder after the Jains who allowed women into his order, and that was more than two and a half thousand years ago. In practice, though, women weren’t given the same opportunity to educate themselves as men, so the idea of a woman being installed as Dalai Lama was as notional as the sign from the lake.

Newman concludes this report by stating that the opinions of the self-named “feminist” Dalai Lama may hold weight with the high lamas as they choose his successor.

He’s said in the past that women and men are equal in “education, intelligence and reason”, and as a result “we have entered the age of equality between men and women”. In fact he’s gone further, suggesting that the woes of the world, and “the need to promote a more altruistic society” mean that “we might be entering the ‘age of the woman'”.

Try telling that to Archbishop Welby and Pope Francis.


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