The current and 14th Dalai Lama has stirred things up recently by saying that the next reincarnation of the mentor and tutor of the Yellow Hat School of Tibetan Buddhism may be a woman.
Tibetans believe that the Dalai Lama is reincarnated after the death of the previous embodiment of this specific philosophy. Since the 1640s, this figure has always been a man.. But this Dalai Lama, the very influential Tenzi Gyatso, said that it might be time for a woman to be the next reincarnation.
The odds might be stacked against that, but stranger things have happened. Various faiths are opening up to change in terms of having female leaders – the Anglican Church being one such example. Islam and the Catholic Church have a long way to go in this regard and although it might be an outside bet, you would probably get a more favourable bet in terms of seeing a female Dalai Lama.
Buddhism is a progressive philosophy that is not dominated by gender or doctrine, but is rather focused on self-enlightenment. They also believe that there is no difference in the issue of gender because the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of a spirit in another body. In other words, it is not the vessel which is important, but rather the contents of that same one.
In terms of being progressive, a prospective punter might probably fancy a bet on the Tibetan Buddhists having a female mentor before any of the ‘traditional’ faiths allow for the installation of female flock leaders or teachers.
The path to enlightenment is a long and winding one, but maybe the current Dalai Lama’s ideas might not fall on deaf ears and his counsellors will be able to start looking for a reincarnation in a little girl’s body. The only issue now, of course, would be finding a platform which would accept such a revolutionary, history-changing bet!