DHARAMSALA, India (Kyodo) — The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, indicated Friday that he is in no hurry to look for his successor because he is in excellent health.
“I am physically very healthy and joyful,” the 84-year-old said at the conclusion of the three-day 14th Tibetan Religious Conference in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala.
In his speech that lasted about 70 minutes, the Dalai Lama touched very briefly on the topic of reincarnation and did not say when his successor will be chosen.
Karma Gelek Yuthok, religion minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, later told Kyodo News that the Dalai Lama’s remarks about reincarnation indicated there is still time before the process of choosing a successor starts.
Yuthok added that although Tibetan religious conferences are routine events that happen every three years, this year’s was special because, “The Dalai Lama is old and there is a lot of speculation about reincarnation.”
Last month, the third Special General Meeting held in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, adopted a resolution vesting the authority of choosing a successor in the Dalai Lama himself.
The 14th Tibetan Religious Conference, which drew nine high lamas representing all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism among other participants, unanimously endorsed the same resolution. The resolution ensures that a successor chosen by the Dalai Lama will be recognized by Tibetan Buddhists, while a possible appointee by China will be rejected.
China has claimed that it has a say in choosing a successor to the Dalai Lama. The meetings held in Dharamsala last month and this month have unanimously rejected the legitimacy of that claim.