In 2015, in an interview with BBC, the Dalai Lama had commented that if a woman were to succeed him, or become the female Dalai Lama, she would have to be attractive. By 2019, one would think that the Nobel Peace Prize winner would see the sexism in the statement and retract it. Yet, in a recent interview with BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan, the Dalai Lama chose to stand by what he had said.
"If a female Dalai Lama comes, she should be more attractive," he said.
He also emphasized that people who would not be willing to see a face that was not "attractive". When Vaidyanathan highlighted the fact that his statements might be considered sexist by some, especially given the fact that he himself had championed inner confidence and tolerance at one point, he said that in Buddhist literature, both inner and outer beauty were important.
His statements have sparked quite an outrage on Twitter, with several people calling him out for his sexist comments.
And I’m sure all previous 13 Dalai Lamas were checked if they were attractive too 🙄 https://t.co/vAXkVTFrBn— Elaine (@ElaineODowd) June 28, 2019
I am curious to know if attractiveness was a quality looked for when monks went to look for him??? ‘We have found the Dalai Lama but wait he is not attractive’— Claire Chambers (@ClaritanicA) June 28, 2019
The Dalai Lama has stood by his earlier comments that if his successor was female, she should be attractive. And this is the man we look to for inspiration. Sure he’s just like every other man. https://t.co/pS6y0qt6F9— Bríd Stenson (@bridstenson) June 28, 2019
Did the Dalai Lama just say that the female successor would have to be attractive?!I think I'll start my own Dharma that isn't based on shallowness and sexism.— Natalie Norment (@NightSkyLady) June 28, 2019
In the very same interview, the Dalai Lama also claimed that US President Donald Trump lacked moral principle. "When he became president he expressed America first. That is wrong," he said in the interview.
The Dalai Lama, who is 83-years-old, is also the spiritual leader of Buddhism. With thousands around the world looking up to him for inspiration, it could be hoped that he would refrain from making statements that demeans half of the world's population. But, alas.