The Dalai Lama has said Donald Trump lacks moral principle and that he is open to the next spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists being a woman, but only if she is “attractive”.
In an interview with the BBC, the Dalai Lama also said that while he was a supporter of the EU and thought it would be better for the UK to remain part of it, he did not want to see Europe become “Muslim” or “African”.
Asked about the US president, whom the Tibetan spiritual leader has previously unflatteringly impersonated, he said: “His emotions [are] also a little bit,” and made a gesture waggling his finger near his temple. “One day he says something, another day he says something. But I think [there is a] lack of moral principle. When he became president, he expressed America first. That is wrong. America, they should take the global responsibility.”
The Dalai Lama was asked about the EU, of which he said he was an admirer: “I am [an] outsider, but I feel better [to] remain in the European Union.”
The interviewer, the BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan, pointed out the campaign for Britain to leave the EU used one of the Dalai Lama’s quotes about migration to Europe as part of its campaign. “The goal should be that migrants return and help rebuild their countries. You have to be practical. It’s impossible for everyone to come,” he had said.
The Dalai Lama reiterated this position, saying that while European countries should take in refugees and educate and train them, the aim should be to return them to their home countries.
Asked if refugees should be allowed to stay in Europe if they wished to, he said only a limited number ought to be able to remain. “But [for the] whole [of] Europe [to] eventually become [a] Muslim country? Impossible. Or [an] African country, also impossible,” he said while laughing, adding: “Keep Europe for Europeans.”
The Dalai Lama was also asked about comments he made in 2015 that if a female Dalai Lama were to replace him then she must be “very attractive, otherwise not much use”.
He laughed when asked if he understood why the response had offended women, saying: “If [a] female Dalai Lama comes then she should be more attractive. If [a] female Dalai Lama,” before pulling a face, “I think, [people would] prefer not [to] see her, that face.”
The Dalai Lama also said he had not given up hope of returning to Tibet, from which he has been exiled since 1959, and that he has been in contact with senior retired Chinese officials. He said he thought the Chinese people were changing their attitudes.