The Dalai Lama is in no hurry to appoint a successor, he told NDTV presenter Barkha Dhutt on July 4 at his residence in Dharamsala, India. The hour-long interview was conducted before an audience of followers and tourists to celebrate his 75th birthday and was broadcast on NDTV on July 6.
"I'm quite healthy," he laughed, predicting that he'd live another 20 years, "no problem."
In fact, the Buddhist leader expressed indifference toward the continuation of the institution of the Dalai Lama. "Some people got the impression that the institution is very important for Tibetan Buddhism. It's not," he said.
"I am not much concerned about these things," the Dalai Lama admitted. "As I have expressed, Chinese Communists seem to be more concerned about the Dalai Lama institution than me."
Pressed to discuss the hypothetical continuation of the institution, the Dalai Lama reiterated a statement he made last year that he may be succeeded by a woman, saying, "If circumstance is such that a female reincarnation would be more effective, and carry the true traditional spiritual way ... I've got no problem."
The Tibetan leader also talked about the application of Buddhist principles of non-violence to 21st-century dilemmas, the marriage of scientific and spiritual worldviews, what makes him lose his temper, and his weakness for watches.