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.