Tibetans say the Dalai Lama should choose his successor

DHARMSALA, India (AP) — More than 150 Tibetan religious leaders said on Wednesday that their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, should have the sole authority to choose his successor.

A resolution adopted by the leaders at a conference said the Tibetan people will not recognize any candidate chosen by the Chinese government for political ends.

The spat over the Dalai Lama’s successor — and its implications for who will lead Tibetan Buddhism — is one of the biggest points of contention in the long-running feud between the exiled spiritual leader and Beijing.

The 84-year-old Dalai Lama fled to India during a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. He has been living in exile in Dharmsala in northern India.

The Dalai Lama’s successor is traditionally located by senior monastic disciples, based on spiritual signs and visions.

The Dalai Lama says it is a matter to be decided by the Tibetan people. But China says that only Beijing can appoint the next Dalai Lama.

“The karmic bond between the Dalai Lamas and the Tibetan people having been inseparable and the present status of the Tibetan people being extremely critical, all Tibetans genuinely wish for continuation of institution and reincarnation of the Dalai Lama in future,” the resolution said.

The three-day conference started on Wednesday and is being attended by Tibetan religious leaders, mainly from India, the United States and Nepal.