We open, as we often do, with a Wikipedia passage:
The Dalai Lama figure is important for many reasons. Since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century, his personage has always been a symbol of unification of the state of Tibet, where he has represented Buddhist values and traditions. The Dalai Lama was an important figure of the Geluk tradition, which was politically and numerically dominant in Central Tibet, but his religious authority went beyond sectarian boundaries. While he had no formal or institutional role in any of the religious traditions, which were headed by their own high lamas, he was a unifying symbol of the Tibetan state, representing Buddhist values and traditions above any specific school. The traditional function of the Dalai Lama as an ecumenical figure, holding together disparate religious and regional groups, has been taken up by the present fourteenth Dalai Lama. He has worked to overcome sectarian and other divisions in the exiled community and has become a symbol of Tibetan nationhood for Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile.
He knows from exile; he fled Tibet during the 1959 uprisings, and settled in India. As his 84th birthday approaches (next month), he has no doubt given some thought to his successor, the fifteenth Dalai Lama, who presumably would carry on his work. And there’s this:
“If female Dalai Lama comes, then [she] should be more attractive,” he said with a laugh.
I think I’ve just been handed a reason to vote for Marianne Williamson.
(Via Ed Driscoll, who quipped: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of ‘Free Tibet’ bumper stickers suddenly cried out in terror as they were scraped off of Subaru Outbacks.”)