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Dalai Lama Says A Female Successor Must Be "Very Attractive, Otherwise Not Much Use"

The Tibetan Buddhist said women have more potential to show affection and compassion, but if the next Dalai Lama is female, her face should be "very attractive."

Posted on September 23, 2015, at 8:18 a.m. ET

David Mcnew / AFP / Getty Images

In an interview with the BBC, the Dalai Lama, who in the past has proclaimed himself a feminist, said he'd support a future female successor – with a certain caveat.

In an edited video around the 4:50 minute mark, the BBC's Clive Myrie asked the 80-year-old spiritual leader if there will be a 15th incarnation of the Dalai Lama after him and if his successor could be a woman.

"Yes," the Tibetan Buddhist said. "The female biologically [has] more potential to show affection and compassion."

He then recalled a time, more than 15 years ago, when a female reporter from a women's magazine asked him a similar question. He said he told her that if a female was the next Dalai Lama, her "face should be very attractive, otherwise not much use."

After some awkward laughter from Myrie and a follow-up question of "you're joking, I'm assuming?" the Dalai Lama, who has often been characterized as a "religious rockstar," said "No, it's true."

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