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Dalai Lama to Decide on Reincarnation at Age 90

The Dalai Lama (file photo)

The Dalai Lama (file photo)

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, says he will decide when he is about 90 years old whether he should be reincarnated, a Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

In a statement Saturday, he said at "about 90" he will consult with the high lamas of Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public and other people who follow Tibetan Buddhism to evaluate whether the "institution of the Dalai Lama" should continue -- and if there is a need for the 15th Dalai Lama to be recognized.

The 14th Dalai Lama, 76, also said China should have no say in whether he is reincarnated.

His comments appeared in a document issued after a gathering of Tibetan Buddhist leaders in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala.

Tibet's government-in-exile has operated from Dharamsala since 1959, when the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

China has often accused the Dalai Lama and his followers of advocating Tibetan secession, despite repeated assurances from the Nobel laureate that he is seeking dialogue with China aimed only at establishing Tibetan autonomy.

In July, the Dalai Lama gave up his role as head of the Tibetan government-in-exile when Harvard-trained scholar Lobsang Sangay was sworn in as the new leader and pledged to sustain the exile movement until freedom is achieved in Tibet.