Dalai Lama set to be discharged from hospital Friday

New Delhi: The Dalai Lama is “doing very well” and will likely be discharged from hospital in New Delhi on Friday as he recovers from a chest infection, his spokesman told AFP on Thursday.

The 83-year-old Buddhist monk, Tibetan spiritual leader and thorn in Beijing’s side was admitted to the Max hospital in the Indian capital on Tuesday with what another aide described as a “light cough”.

“Generally, his holiness is fine. He is doing very well. Still on medication but he is doing very well and will be discharged,” said Tenzin Taklha, the Dalai Lama’s personal spokesman.

“This morning he was in his normal routine. He was doing some exercise… Basically he is cured but will continue his course of medicine,” Taklha added.

The Nobel peace prize winner is based in the northern Indian hill station of Dharamsala and has been in permanent exile there for some 60 years along with thousands of others.

He fled the Tibetan capital Lhasa in 1959 and across the frozen Himalayan border to India at the age of 23, disguised as a soldier, as Chinese troops poured into the region to crush an uprising.

In India he set up a government-in-exile and launched a campaign to reclaim Tibet that gradually evolved into an appeal for greater autonomy — the so-called “middle way” approach.

The self-described “simple Buddhist monk” has spent decades criss-crossing the globe mixing with monarchs, politicians and Hollywood actors pressing his case.

His status as a global symbol of peace whose message transcends faith earned comparisons to visionaries like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

But it also drew the fury of an increasingly assertive China, branding him a “wolf in a monk’s robe” and accusing him of trying to split the nation.

Although still a hugely popular speaker, he has cut back on his global engagements and has not met a world leader since 2016 — while governments have been wary of extending invitations to him for fear of angering Beijing.

Even India, which gave him asylum in 1959, has turned its back, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s the government reportedly warning officials against attending events featuring him, citing diplomatic sensitivities.

– Succession –
The Dalai Lama has sought to pre-empt any attempt by Beijing, which has effectively wiped out any organised opposition to its rule in Tibet, to name his reincarnated successor, even announcing in 2011 that he may be the last in the lineage.

The Tibetan spiritual leader enjoys wide support across the partisan divide in Washington, where a senator raised the issue of his succession at a hearing Tuesday.

Senator Cory Gardner, the Republican who heads the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Asia, said that the United States should follow the Dalai Lama’s lead on how to choose his successor.

“Let me be very clear — the United States Congress will never recognise a Dalai Lama that is selected by the Chinese,” Gardner said.