Tibetan Buddhism's supreme leader, the Dalai Lama, has that he believes a female Dalai Lama was entirely possible, although all previous holders of the title have been male.
"If the circumstances are such that a female Dalai Lama is more useful, then automatically a female Dalai Lama will come," he said in a press conference in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, adding that the world is currently undergoing a "moral crisis" which will require more compassionate leaders.
"In that respect, biologically, females have more potential," the Dalai Lama said. "Females have more sensitivity about others' well-being."
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He reflected on his own family to make his point, noting that "in my own case, my father, very short temper. On a few occasions I also got some beatings. But my mother was so wonderfully compassionate."
The comments came amid controversy in Australia over a botched joke regarding Prime Minister Julia Gillard, where opposition leaders released a fake menu at a fundraiser that used obscene references to the female anatomy.
This isn't the first time the Buddhist leader has expressed his support for the notion of a female Dalai Lama. In 2007, he made very similar comments in a Telegraph piece, noting: "If a woman reveals herself as more useful the Lama could very well be reincarnated in this form."