The Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, and the 14th person to hold the title, made waves this week when he said his successor, if a woman, needs to be physically attractive.
“You once said that you would be open to a female successor,” BBC News reporter Rajini Vaidyanathan asked the religious leader, in a video interview published Thursday on Twitter.
“That’s also possible,” the Dalai Lama confirmed.
“You also told one of my colleagues that, that female must be attractive, otherwise it’s not much use,” she continued. “...Can you see why that comment upset a lot of women?”
The Dalai Lama answered, "If a female Dalai Lama comes, she should be more attractive.” If not, "people, I think prefer, not see her, that face."
This was perhaps the most surprising moment in the interview. I asked the Dalai Lama if he stood by his earlier comment that if his successor was female, she should be attractive.
He said he did. Watch here:#DalaiLama #BBCDalaiLama. pic.twitter.com/QAy0EFDZTT
— Rajini Vaidyanathan (@BBCRajiniV) June 27, 2019
The reporter asked, "It's about who you are inside, isn't it?"
"Yes, I think both," he said. "Real beauty is inner beauty, that's true. But we're human beings. I think the appearance is also important."
The religious leader also suggested that most people would prefer not to look at a “dead face” and argued that women in the public eye should wear makeup.
People took issue with his comments, calling his holiness “canceled.”
Author Jessica Valenti tweeted that this moment was “about as 2019 as it gets.”
Having to cancel the Dalai Lama is about as 2019 as it gets https://t.co/VHUPNRJSdF
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) June 28, 2019
Others just felt disappointed.
Remember a couple of hours ago when I said there was no-one left to disappoint you?
Dalai Lama: Hold my beer Hirons. https://t.co/yK9LloNwwe
— Caroline Hirons (@CarolineHirons) June 28, 2019
Some called out what they felt was the absurdity of his comments, and made jokes.
Nobody at all: ....
Nobody throughout the vastness of space: ....
Dalai Lama: The next Dalai Lama has to be super f***able.pic.twitter.com/naq30K4cJ9
— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) June 28, 2019
"Yeah, she's hot. But is she DALAI LAMA hot?"
— Libby Hill (@midwestspitfire) June 28, 2019
INTERVIEWER: So you're saying if the next Dalai Lama is a woman, she must be attractive?
DALAI LAMA: She's gotta be- Awooga! Awooga! (mimes steam coming out of ears, tongue unrolling, eyes shooting out)Boinggggg! (panting noises) uhuhuhuhu (chews on knuckles) Gna! Gna! Gna!
— MKupperman (@MKupperman) June 28, 2019
still stuck on the idea that the Dalai Lama thinks people pay attention to what hot women are saying
— Molly Lambert 🦔 (@mollylambert) June 29, 2019
One person even suggested singer and icon Dolly Parton step into the role.
The Dalai Lama wants his female successor hot... fine, Dolly Lama it is.
And just like that, I'm a Buddhist. pic.twitter.com/lFuQj34mji
— mamrie hart (@mametown) June 28, 2019
These weren’t the only remarks the Dalai Lama made that raised eyebrows this week. He also told the BBC that European nations should be obliged to take in those who are fleeing their home countries, but that those people should ultimately be taught skills and return home, saying, “European countries should take these refugees and give them education and training, and the aim is – return to their own land with certain skills.”
He continued, “But the whole of Europe [will] eventually become Muslim country – impossible. Or African country, also impossible.”
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