Connect to share and comment

Dalai Lama watch: Will the next one dig rap?

The Karmapa Lama plays video games, and he may be the next His Holiness.

Tibetan Youth Congress President Tsewang Rigzin echoes Taklha's caution, explaining that while the Karmapa is a "potential spiritual leader, it's just too early to tell."

The Dalai Lama has discussed his succession although no decisions have been made.

Traditionally monks in Tibet would fan out across the region to find the Dalai Lama's reincarnation after his death, but some fear China will hijack the situation and insert its own chosen figure, as it did in 1995 with the Panchen Lama. At that time, the Dalai Lama named a competing incarnation, who promptly vanished.

This time, the Dalai Lama has signaled he could break with tradition and name a spiritual leader to succeed him prior to his death.

While the succession question remains unanswered, for now there's universal agreement that losing the Dalai Lama would be a devastating blow.

"When you don't have a leader you are very lost so it'll have huge impact on the Tibetan exiled community and Tibetans in Tibet, as well as globally ... I cannot even contemplate that in my everyday life," said the Karmapa with a sigh, his broad shoulders slumping.

For now the Karmapa's everyday life is packed with study, meditation and meetings with people that range from community leaders to Hollywood celebrities like Richard Gere.

India has granted him asylum but restricts his travel, wary of aggravating already tense relations with neighboring China. The Karmapa has been abroad only once in 11 years, when he went to the United States in 2008.

It's a source of great frustration to a young man itching to spread his wings and meet his spiritual brethren around the world.

"Lots of people are waiting for me to come to their countries so it is upsetting as I can't fulfill their wishes," he said.

He may be struggling to fulfill his followers wishes abroad but closer to home the Karmapa is doing just fine.

"Young people love the Karmapa," said Lobsang Rampa, a 22-year-old student who arrived in Dharamsala from Tibet five years ago. "He's one of us, the younger generation, he's our future."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/india/100706/dalai-karmapa-lama-tibetan-buddhism