RELIGION

Dalai Lama says it's for people to decide fate of his office

  • Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama eats traditional Tibetan cookies upon arrival at the monastery in Tawang, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Friday, April 7, 2017. The visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which China also claims as its territory, has raised tensions between the nuclear-armed Asian neighbors. China's Foreign Ministry has said the visit "severely harms China's interests and the China-India relationship," while India has cautioned Beijing to stay out of its internal affairs. (AP Photo/ Tenzin Choejor)

    Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama eats traditional Tibetan cookies upon arrival at the monastery in Tawang, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Friday, April 7, 2017. The visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which China also claims as its territory, has raised tensions between the nuclear-armed Asian neighbors. China's Foreign Ministry has said the visit "severely harms China's interests and the China-India relationship," while India has cautioned Beijing to stay out of its internal affairs. (AP Photo/ Tenzin Choejor)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrives to deliver teachings in Tawang, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Saturday April 8, 2017. The exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said Saturday that it's up to his followers to decide whether the office of the Dalai Lama exists in the future. During a visit to the northeast Indian town of Tawang, the second-highest seat of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama denied that he had any knowledge of where his successor would be born. Asked if the next Dalai Lama could be a woman, he said, "That might also happen." (AP Photo/ Tenzin Choejor)

    Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrives to deliver teachings in Tawang, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Saturday April 8, 2017. The exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said Saturday that it's up to his followers to decide whether the office of the Dalai Lama exists in the future. During a visit to the northeast Indian town of Tawang, the second-highest seat of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama denied that he had any knowledge of where his successor would be born. Asked if the next Dalai Lama could be a woman, he said, "That might also happen." (AP Photo/ Tenzin Choejor)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets followers as he arrives to deliver teachings in Tawang, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Saturday April 8, 2017. The exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said Saturday that it's up to his followers to decide whether the office of the Dalai Lama exists in the future. During a visit to the northeast Indian town of Tawang, the second-highest seat of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama denied that he had any knowledge of where his successor would be born. Asked if the next Dalai Lama could be a woman, he said, "That might also happen." (AP Photo/ Tenzin Choejor)

    Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets followers as he arrives to deliver teachings in Tawang, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Saturday April 8, 2017. The exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said Saturday that it's up to his followers to decide whether the office of the Dalai Lama exists in the future. During a visit to the northeast Indian town of Tawang, the second-highest seat of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama denied that he had any knowledge of where his successor would be born. Asked if the next Dalai Lama could be a woman, he said, "That might also happen." (AP Photo/ Tenzin Choejor)  (The Associated Press)

The exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader says it's up to his followers to decide whether the office of the Dalai Lama exists in the future.

In a speech to tens of thousands of his followers Saturday in the northeast Indian town of Tawang — the second-highest seat of Tibetan Buddhism — the Dalai Lama denied that he had any knowledge of where his successor would be born.

Asked if the next Dalai Lama could be a woman, he said, "That might also happen."

China's leadership insists it has the authority to appoint the Dalai Lama's successor after his death.

The Dalai Lama is on a weeklong visit to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh despite objections by China, which considers the state a disputed region.