New Delhi: The United States has said that China alone can’t decide the next Dalai Lama. International bodies should take up the issue. “There are many people who follow the Dalai Lama and don’t live in China. He is a well-known spiritual leader throughout the world and deserves the succession process picked by his faith community, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback said.

The 14th and the present Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is 84 now. Search for his successor is on. In 2011, the Chinese foreign ministry had declared that only the government in Beijing can appoint the Dalai Lama.

The 14th Dalai Lama was born in Tibet. He was selected by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 when he was only two years old. When he was four, he was formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

Since the Dalai Lama is not anymore an only religious post, there is a tension between the US, China and the selection of the Dalai Lama. Last month, China protested a meeting between a senior US diplomat and the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

In the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy, the Panchen Lama is the second-most important figure. In 1995, the present Panchen Lama mysteriously disappeared. It’s believed that he was taken into protective custody.