The Dalai Lama turns 85 on July 6. He commits this day "as always", says Franz Alt, a longtime close confidant of the Dalai Lama, who together with him wrote "The Dalai Lama's climate appeal to the world" (Benevento). "He gets up at three in the morning, meditates for four hours, has breakfast and then starts his working day," explains the journalist and author in an interview with spot on news. The religious leader of the Tibetans has been living in exile in northern India, in Dharamsala, on the edge of the Himalayas for 60 years. "With regard to his age, he has not been on any intercontinental trips for about a year now. He's in good health."
"When his visitors ask about his condition, he says: 'Look into my face, it still looks the same as when we last met' … and laughs his world-famous gurgling Dalai Lama laugh!" According to Franz Alt, his closest confidants include "some monks and his office manager. But he also receives visitors and friends from all over the world".
"He hasn't lost his familiar humor"
Are the concerns about the Dalai Lama's health, which have been rumored over and over, unfounded? "His doctor predicted that he could live to be 100," said Alt. "When I last saw each other in 2018, he made a healthy impression on me. Physically, he is a little weaker than ten years ago, but he is fully there mentally and has not lost his familiar humor."
There is also speculation about the successor to the 85-year-old. "He is resisting the announcement by the Chinese Communist Party that he wants to regulate the successor of the Dalai Lama himself," says Alt: "You have to imagine that: an atheistically oriented party wants to decide on a rebirth. Ideologically a stair joke. The answer of the Dalai Lama: There will be no more Dalai Lama before. The Tibetan exile prime minister Lobsang Sangay sneers: It is as if the Cuban government wants to decide on the next pope. Of course, this situation always leads to speculation. The Dalai Lama wants to take care of his successor himself in five years. He told me 25 years ago that he could also imagine a successor. "
This is how the search for the successor goes
Franz Alt explains: "It is a tradition that the predecessor gave the first clues shortly before his death. A delegation of monks who were close to the predecessor met, analyzed their dreams together for about a week and then went in search of one Approximately two-year-old child.Potential candidates are tested, for example, by being presented with personal items from the predecessor that he or she has to find among other items.The current 14th Dalai Lama was discovered at the age of two as the son of illiterate people . A very good choice! "
Would it be theoretically possible that no successor will be found? "The current Dalai Lama and his advisors want to decide that in five years. He says: 'The will of the Tibetan people is more important than the Dalai Lama institution.'"
"The question of human survival"
The Dalai Lama is worried about climate change, as Alt continues: "He looks out of his residence at the mountains of the Himalayas and has the dramatic ice melt there in front of his eyes. Glacier researchers say that the ice melt takes place three times faster than it did ten years ago The Dalai Lama fears that the great rivers of Asia, which all spring from the Himalayas, will carry less and less water and that there will be a water emergency for two billion people in India and China, which he is even afraid of lead to wars for water between the two Asian nuclear powers. He says in our book: 'Global warming is a question of human survival'. "
"The Dalai Lama is happy like a child when …"
The Dalai Lama is considered a great watch lover. "I suspect that the climber Heinrich Harrer, who fled India to Tibet after his English captivity during the Second World War and was friends with the Dalai Lama, gave him a watch," said Alt. "The curious Dalai Lama has taken them apart and put them back together several times. He still likes to take watches apart and is as happy as a child when he gets them back together."