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Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Next Dalai Lama to be a Woman?

In 50 years of exile from Tibet, this self-professed “simple monk” has been the driving force behind the growing prominence of women in Tibetan exile society. He has even suggested that his next reincarnation could and should be a girl. “Woman is more compassionate and has more power to understand and feel the needs of others as compared to man,” he said at a press conference last November in Dharamsala, his exile home in northern India. That the Dalai Lama—believed by Tibetan Buddhists to be the 14th reincarnation of the Buddha of compassion—should return to the world as a woman is a radical notion that perturbs even open-minded Tibetans, men and women alike. And despite his wishes, the 15th reincarnation will very likely be a boy, just like all the prior ones.

In the film he also spoke admiringly about a milestone in Tibetan history known as Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day. On March 12, 1959—just days before he fled his homeland -- about 15,000 women spontaneously gathered in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa in an unprecedented display of peaceful protest against China’s invasion of Tibet.

Those women were “heroines,” says the Dalai Lama in A Quiet Revolution. It was “as if they already knew the feminist movement!” He laughs gleefully as though he has told a hilarious joke. At the time, Tibet was closed to the outside world. To a Tibetan, Simone De Beauvoir and Betty Friedan might as well have been Martians.

James: I find it odd in a way that some Tibetan Buddhists who revere The Dalai Lama not only as their spiritual leader but also for being the very incarnation of the compassionate Bodhisattva Avalokitshevara (or Guan Yin) would disagree with him on this issue. How can he be wrong if you believe his very essence is to convey, show, teach and bring about compassion? He basically has a Phd in Compassion. I think he knows the subject better than most of us. Also, If we are all one then by not allowing women to potentially be a Dalai Lama is to deny a part of all of us.Besides, I have read several accounts where Avalokiteshvara is somewhat androgynous and has at least, a strong feminine side to him. In some cultures Avalokiteshvara is actually a woman in the form of Guan Yin. I don't see why it would be so controversial for the Dalai Lama to reincarnate as a woman if Avalokiteshvara is equal parts male and equal parts female. The Dalai Lama recognizes the deep compassion and nurturing instinct that many women have is essential in a world that grows more and more cold, harsh, mean and uncaring. And I can't think of a better way for the Dalai Lama to teach everyone about the equality of all people than by being reincarnated as a woman.

~Peace to all beings~

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Ambud said...

I don't understand what issue the Tibetan people have with it either. With all the challenges from the Chinese on Penchant and Dalai Lamas, I hope in the end that they do in fact choose a girl next time. I would hate to see a time honored tradition like this lost to ignorance and chauvinism.


Hannah said...

Loved this blog posting. And agreed :-)

L.B. said...

The thought that the next Dalai Lama may be a girl gives me hope for other belief systems. Awesome!

Wijsheidsboeddha said...

Dalai Lama taken to court

As per information received from the High Court of India,New Delhi,I am told,that there was a recent hearing on the Dorje Shugden case on the 14th of september.This was the 3rd hearing in response to a riposte,that had earlier been provided by the Advocate of the Dalai Lama-that too,after a lapse of 9 and a half months-precisely speaking!The 3rd Judge in question,was unlike the 2nd,who had expressed reservations and unwillingness to dictate a ruling-as a decision-but,on the contrary was also open to the re-addressal of the affair.

This Judge,as pointed,dismissed the Dalai Lama's arguments as inconvincing,further asserting,that,'there was sufficient documentation of evidence available to prove that the Dalai Lama was in fact and indeed,persecuting followers of the deity Dorje Shugden and,that this would have to cease henceforth.

A notice in this regards would be sent to the Dalai Lama as a warning to desist.Notwithstanding which,the Judge declared,that punitive measures would be initiated,would the Dalai Lama not restrain from his persecutive acts.

They call him James Ure said...


Me too. It is only natural it seems to me to embrace the wonderful nature of women with this beautiful tradition. How can we deny women places of honor when they are vital in our world? They are just as qualified and spiritual as any man. In addition, their compassion tends to be stronger than in men.

Chauvinism and sexism, however, is often hard to overcome in traditional societies. Women were fully given equal rights even here in progressive America until the 70s. Even still women here get paid less. It's wrong and it's a shame. Women has so much to offer the world.


Awww you're very kind and I bow in appreciation for your comments. It sure would be a nice statement and a excellent choice to be reborn as a girl. This day and age needs the soft touch of a woman.


Me too. What an exciting possibility!! Buddhism is so often a very progressive tradition. It knows how to adapt to each new age and society by taking in the best of that culture while still keeping the foundations of Buddhism intact. There are of course some exceptions to this though.


I don't know enough about the issue of Dorje Shugden to make an informed statement on this so i'll pass.

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