The Dalai Lama, the head monk in Tibetan Buddhism, said he'd welcome a female as his successor because women are more compassionate than men.
In an interview with a British television station, the current Dalai Lama said he favored a woman filling his slot.
Women are more "sensitive," he said.
"I think [it would be] good because you see, biologically, female[s] have more potential to develop affection or love to other.
"Some scientists, they tested two person, one male, one female looking at one sort of movie," he said. "Female [was] more sensitive: response is much stronger. So therefore … now we are 21st century … female have more potential so should take more active role regarding promotion of human compassion."
So far, no woman has ever held the top spot, but Buddhism — unlike Catholicism — doesn't have strict mandates against female leadership.
The Dalai Lama, however, has no say in who might fill the role.
Dalai Lamas are selected in a somewhat mysterious process. They serve until death, and then the next one is identified by dream, by the direction of wafting smoke during the cremation ceremony, by sign from the religious order's holy lake — in other words, by spiritual beckoning, rather than man-made order.
The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, 77, is the 14th and the longest-serving head of the religious order.
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