TIBETAN spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says his followers will decide the future of the office of the Dalai Lama and not China.
According to Times of India, the revered monk told his tens of thousands of devotees in Tawang, a remote area in northeastern India, that he has no knowledge of where his successor would be born and that the next spiritual leader could be a woman.
Tibetan Buddhist tradition dictates that senior monks will identify a young boy as the reincarnation of a late leader who is anointed as the next Dalai Lama.
Meanwhile, China claims it has the authority to appoint the Dalai Lama’s successor upon his death.
The Nobel Peace prize winner arrived at the 17th-century Tawang monastery on Friday to a rousing welcome as people lined the streets with traditional offerings as his convoy drove past.
This is the Dalai Lama’s last leg of his nine-day tour of Arunachal Pradesh that ends on Monday.
This comes as China on Wednesday denounced India’s decision to host the Dalai Lama on the contested stretch of the China-India border, saying it could cause serious tension between the two countries.
Beijing labels the exiled Tibetian leader as a dangerous separatist who is trying to seek Tibet’s independence from China.
Another point of contention is that China claims that the Arunachal Pradesh region where the revered monk is staying as “southern Tibet” despite it being administered by New Delhi. China has made territorial claims over Tawang after it took over Tibet in 1950.
The Dalai Lama has rejected claims that India is using him as a diplomatic pawn to challenge China.
He, however, called for restraint against attacks on Chinese people.
“Please do not say ‘angry Chinese’. There are many in China who love India,” the Times of India quoted him as saying
“It’s only some narrow-minded politicians who see India in a different way, just the way they see me as a demon. I am not a demon.”
He also noted that China has the highest population of Tibetan Buddhists and many of them support the cause for an independent Tibet.