The Dalai Lama said Donald Trump lacks “moral principle.” He suggested Europe should be kept for Europeans. And should a woman succeed him, he said, she’d have to be “more attractive.”
The spiritual leader of the Tibetan people made those comments in a wide-ranging interview with the BBC that touched on Trump’s tenure, African migrants, his potential successor and his relationship with China.
The Dalai Lama, who describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk, criticized Trump for his “America First” motto, calling it “wrong,” and said the United States should “take the global responsibility.” He also called Trump’s emotions “a little bit too complicated.”
“One day he says something, another day he says something, but I think (there’s a) lack of moral principle,” the Dalai Lama told the BBC.
The fate of Europe and a female successor
He also weighed in on Brexit, saying he thinks it’s better for Britain to remain in the European Union.
Asked about rising levels of African refugees and migrants entering Europe, the Dalai Lama said Europe should take them in and offer them education and training. But ultimately, he said, the migrants should return to “their own land,” with only “a limited number” allowed to stay on the continent.
“The whole Europe (will) eventually become Muslim country? Impossible. Or African country? Also impossible,” he said, adding that it’s better to “keep Europe for Europeans.”
Similar comments he’s made in recent years have sparked anger.
The Dalai Lama also commented on who might succeed him after his death.
“If female Dalai Lama comes, then (she) should be more attractive,” he said with a laugh. He then made a distorted face, according to the BBC, and said that if a female Dalai Lama looked a certain way, “then people, I think, prefer not see … that face.”
Asked whether that might be perceived as objectifying by contrast with a person’s intrinsic value, the Dalai Lama responded, “I think both.”
The Dalai Lama made similar comments in 2015, when he told the BBC that a future Dalai Lama certainly could be a woman but would have to be good looking or would be “not much use.”
60 years of exile
It’s unclear who, if anyone, will succeed the current Dalai Lama after he dies. The 83-year-old and the 14th leader to hold the title has said previously that it’s “up to the Tibetan people” whether the institution would continue.
Tibetan Buddhists consider the Dalai Lama to be a reincarnation of his predecessors. The leaders are believed to be manifestations of the Bodhisattva, or Buddha, of Compassion, enlightened beings who choose to reincarnate to serve others.
The current Dalai Lama has lived in India since his self-imposed exile from Tibet in 1959 after Chinese troops arrived in the region.
In exile, he has become known around the world for preaching a message of tolerance and peace. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.