During a recent visit to Japan, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that if the Tibetan people want to conserve the system of the Dalai Lama, one oft the possibilities he envisaged was to choose the next Dalai Lama himself whilst he was still alive. The successor could be elected democratically amongst the most eminent Tibetan Buddhist monks, or named directly by the actual Dalai Lama.
"If China should choose my successor after my death, the Tibetan people would not be able to offer him support because he would not be considered Tibetan", said the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan people worry what will hapen after the present 72 year old Dalai Lame dies.
The Chinese government has recently decreed that all reincarnations of living Tibetan Buddhas should obtain official authorisation from the Chinese communist government. In 1995, the Chinese government authorities arrested a boy of six years old chosen by the Dalai Lama as the future Panchen Lama, second in the Tibet Buddhist hierarchy. China then designated its own candidate, who pledged allegiance to the government in place in Beijing.
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was born into a peasant family. At the age of two years, he was noticed by monks designated to seek the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, and confirmed this choice by identifying a prayer necklace and other relics belonging to the precedent Dalai Lama.
Bouddhist Actualités, January 2008