The exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism spoke to CTV's South Asia Bureau Chief Janis Mackey Frayer in Dharamsala, India, where he lives in exile from his home country, which is now occupied by China.
"So naturally my next life is entirely up to me. No one else. And also this is not a political matter," he told Mackey Frayer in the exclusive interview.
Speaking in the monastery in the Himalayan foothills that he has called home for half a century, the 14th Dalai Lama said China does not have the right, as it asserts, to choose the next leader of the Tibetan Buddhists.
Officially, it is illegal for anyone other than Chinese leaders in Beijing to bestow the title of Dalai Lama.
"According to their law, yes it is illegal," the Dalai Lama said. "But nobody respects Chinese law. Chinese law is the protector of Communist power."
The Dalai Lama is considered a separatist by Beijing, though he insists he is only seeking increased autonomy for Tibet.
As a result of China's insistence on playing a lead role in selecting his successor, the Dalai Lama said it may be time to break from the ancient system under which dead Dalai Lamas are reincarnated in the body of a male child.
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