Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama—the spiritual leader of Tibetans, who lives in exile in India—turns 86 in July. The choice of his successor is shaping up to be a struggle between India and the U.S. on the one hand and China on the other.
The Dalai Lama is believed to be a living Buddha who is reincarnated after his death. Traditionally a search for a child reincarnation is conducted, and once a boy is confirmed, he studies to prepare for his role. The current Dalai Lama was identified at the age of 2. There’s no single method of choosing a Dalai Lama, and the process can be long and complicated.