Dalai Lama, BBC Interview


The Dalai Lama may be considered a "religious rock star," but the highest-ranking Tibetan Buddhist expressed some rather controversial opinions about women in a recent interview.

Clive Myrie spoke with him in an edited interview on BBC Monday and asked if there will be a 15th incarnation of the Dalai Lama after him, and if so, whether or not the chosen one could be a woman.

"Yes!" the Dalai Lama replied. "The female biologically [has] more potential to show affection... and compassion."

In fact, the Dalai Lama said in the "troubled world" we live in today a "female should take more important roles."

However, he has some, er, interesting standards for a woman who takes on the role as Dalai Lama in the future.

He recalled how a reporter in Paris had asked him about a female successor more than 15 years ago, and he responded, "If a female Dalai Lama comes, their face should be very attractive."

Myrie couldn't help but laugh uncomfortably in response, clarifying, "So you can only have a female Dalai Lama if they're attractive? Is that what you're saying?"

The Dalai Lama responded, "I mean if female Dalai Lama come, then that female must be very attractive, otherwise not much use."

"You're joking, I'm assuming," says Myrie. "Or you're not joking?"

"No, true!" the Dalai Lama responded with a straight face.

The recent commentary stands in stark contrast to his remarks made in 2009 while accepting an International Freedom Award in Tennessee during which he (sort of) proclaimed to be a feminist.

"I call myself a feminist," he told the crowd. "Isn't that what you call someone who fights for women's rights?"

Meanwhile, this isn't the first time the religious leader has made controversial remarks. In 2013, he shared his opinion that a woman Dalai Lama would be useful because women are more compassionate than men, which, unsurprisingly, sparked debate about stereotyping.  Then, in 2007 during a trip to Italy, he said a woman would have to reveal herself as "more useful" than a man in order for the Dalai Lama to be reincarnated as a woman.

Watch his most recent remarks in the video above, starting around the 4:50 mark.

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