UPDATED 07/02/19 3:25 p.m. ET: In a statement released Tuesday, the Dalai Lama apologized for his remarks about a female Dalai Lama needing to be "more attractive."
"His Holiness genuinely meant no offense. He is deeply sorry that people have been hurt by what he said and offers his sincere apologies," the letter sent by his office read. The statement adds that the Dalai Lama has, "a keen sense of the contradictions between the materialistic, globalized world he encounters on his travels and the complex, more esoteric ideas about reincarnation that are at the heart of Tibetan Buddhist tradition. However, it sometimes happens that off the cuff remarks, which might be amusing in one cultural context, lose their humor in translation when brought into another." It goes on to add that the Dalai Lama supports gender equality and opposes the objectification of women.
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The Dalai Lama believes that if his successor is a woman, she would have to be physically appealing.
In a new interview with the BBC, the Nobel Peace Prize winner told the outlet’s reporter Rajini Vaidyanathan, “If a female Dalai Lama comes, she should be more attractive.”
He highlighted the fact that people wouldn't want to see a face that wasn’t “attractive.” Vaidyanathan pointed out the sexist nature of his comment, especially since he's championed inner confidence and tolerance. He said that in Buddhist literature, both inner and outer beauty are important: “Real beauty is inner beauty, that’s true. But we’re human beings, I think the appearance is also important,” he told the reporter.
His statements have sparked outrage on Twitter, with many calling him out for his sexist comments. Read some of the reactions below.