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Dalai Lama considers his reincarnation

Buddhist leader says future of the role of highest lama yet to be decided

The Dalai Lama said in a statement Saturday that when he is “about 90” he will consult with Buddhist scholars and decide whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue, the Associated Press reports. If he is to be reincarnated, the Buddhist spiritual leader said, he will leave written instructions about the process.

The Dalai Lama issued the statement after meeting with the leaders of the four Tibetan Buddhist sects.

From the Associated Press:

China reviles the Dalai Lama as a separatist, although the Nobel Peace Prize laureate insists he is only seeking increased autonomy for Tibet. Beijing has left little doubt that it intends to be deeply involved in choosing the next Dalai Lama. That concern has led the current Dalai Lama to contemplate ideas that break with the ancient system in which each dead Dalai Lama is reincarnated in the body of a male child.

AFP reports that the Dalai Lama's statement ran to 4,200 words.

"When I am about 90, I will consult the high lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other concerned people who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not," he said.

In the statement, according to AFP, the Dalai Lama said that he would leave "clear guidelines to recognize the next Dalai Lama" while he was still "physically and mentally fit" so that there was "no room for doubt or deception."

"Apart from the reincarnation recognised through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People's Republic of China," he said.

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According to the AP, the Dalai Lama has said his successor will be born in exile, and he has in the past considered the idea of choosing his own successor while still alive, and maybe choosing a woman.

Earlier this year, the Dalai Lama stepped down as the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, transferring power to an elected prime minister.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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The Dalai Lama