Dalai Lama says he will work for Tibetan cause until death

Other News Materials 23 November 2008 13:12 (UTC +04:00)

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama scotched rumours of his possible retirement Sunday, saying he would work for the Tibetan cause until his death, news reports said.

"There is no point or question of retirement. It is my moral responsibility until my death to work for the Tibetan cause," IANS news agency quoted the leader as saying at a press briefing in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, dpa reported.

The 73-year-old monk suffered ill health and underwent surgery earlier in 2008 inviting speculation that he may opt to give political leadership of the Tibetan movement to a successor.

He also admitted in October that his middle way policy of negotiating greater autonomy for Tibet within China had so far failed to yield results and it may be time for him to step aside.

"I am completely committed to the Tibetan cause. Tibet is a just issue. It is an international issue because it is based on truth," the Dalai Lama said.

He said he had strong faith that one day all Tibetans would return to Tibet.

There has also been debate about a spiritual successor to the Dali Lama. Traditionally, a committee of monks are supposedly led by divine intuition to a young child born after his death, who is supposed be a reincarnation.

However, in 2007 Chinese officials demanded that all likely reincarnations of lamas had to win prior approval from the government's Religious Affairs Bureau.

Speaking on his successor, the Dalai Lama said the person could even be female because women play an increasingly important role in the world today and have more compassion and empathy.

A special meeting of Tibetan exiles called by the Dalai Lama to discuss the future course of their movement ended Saturday with a reaffirmation of faith in his leadership.

"The special general meeting also strongly appealed to his holiness not to take semi-retirement or retirement and to continue to lead the Tibetan people," a statement from the government-in-exile said.