Dalai Lama

It seems the Dalai Lama may appoint a regent to succeed him:

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, is considering appointing a regent to lead the Tibetan movement after his death until his reincarnation is old enough to take over.

The idea was discussed this week at an unprecedented meeting of 600 Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala, the northern Indian town where the Dalai Lama set up his government in exile after fleeing Tibet in 1959.

It is the latest proposal intended to ensure a smooth succession after the death of the Dalai Lama, who is 73 and has been suffering recently from ill health. The Tibetan exiles are keen to prevent China from hijacking his reincarnation, as it has tried to do with other of the most senior positions in Tibetan Buddhism.

The most likely candidate for the regency is the 23-year-old Karmapa Lama, the third highest in the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy, who was born and raised in Tibet but escaped to India in 2000 in a huge embarrassment for China’s government.

The Dalai Lama has been in poor health recently and has grown pessimistic about a positive outcome from negotiations with Beijing.

[Photo: Ashwini Bhatia/AP]

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