How the Dalai Lama is Chosen and why China Wants its Own

How the Dalai Lama is Chosen and why China Wants its Own
AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the spiritual leader of Tibet, is turning 84 on July 6. With his advancing age, the question of who will succeed him, has become more pressing.

Winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize and one of the most recognizable faces of Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is an important figure bringing Buddhist teachings to the international community.

The successor to the Dalai Lama is traditionally located by senior monastic disciples, based on spiritual signs and visions. In 2011, however, the Chinese foreign ministry declared that only the government in Beijing can appoint the next Dalai Lama and no recognition should be given to any other succession candidate.

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