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A Tibetan to the End: The Dalai Lama tells gathering that he has 'moral responsibility' to lead until he dies

December 1, 2008

A Tibetan to the End: The Dalai Lama tells gathering that he has
'moral responsibility' to lead until he dies
By Achal Narayanan
Winston-Salem Journal Now
November 29, 2008

CHENNAI, India -- The Dalai Lama tried to end speculation that he is
on the verge of retirement, telling a gathering of Tibetan spiritual
leaders that he has a "moral responsibility" to lead until his death.

Speaking on Sunday in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala,
the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, the Dalai Lama, 73, said
"there is no point or question of retirement."

"It is my moral responsibility to lead the Tibetans till my death,"
he said at the conclusion of a six-day summit to chart the future of
Tibetan relations with China. "My whole body and flesh is Tibetan."

The meeting, which attracted 600 spiritual and political leaders from
Tibet, reaffirmed the leaders' confidence in the Dalai Lama's "middle
way" approach of seeking meaningful autonomy for Tibet rather than
outright independence from China.

The Dalai Lama also hinted at the possibility of choosing his
successor while he was still alive. He spoke about the merits of a
"young girl" possibly being chosen as the next Dalai Lama, commenting
that women have "more or less" achieved equality with men but are
frequently more compassionate.

While the Dalai Lama did not attend the Dharamsala meeting, he spoke
to the leaders at length after its formal conclusion. He urged fellow
Tibetan exiles in India to improve contacts with ordinary Chinese
people. By contrast, he said, the Chinese government remained
repressive in Tibet.

Leaders of the Tibetan exile government had indicated that there was
no reason to pursue further autonomy talks with China. The Dalai
Lama, however, says it is too soon to declare such a decision. "Wait
another month. Then we'll decide," he said.
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