23:31 GMT22 February 2020
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    The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, brought up the requirement of physical beauty for a potential successor back in a 2015 BBC interview, when he noted that a female Dalai Lama should be attractive, otherwise she would be of "not much use."

    Ahead of his 84th birthday, the Dalai Lama has once again insisted that if his successor is a woman, she must be physically attractive, as he spoke with his typical quirky, down-to-earth humour in a BBC News interview on 27 June.

    "If a female Dalai Lama comes, she should be more attractive," the 14th Dalai Lama told the host. If not, "people, I think prefer, not see her, that face."

    When the host probed: "It's about who you are inside, isn't it?" the spiritual leader responded:

    "Yes, I think both. Real beauty is inner beauty, that's true. But we're human beings. I think the appearance is also important."

    ​This isn't the first time the Tibetan religious leader has brought up the physical beauty of a potential successor. In a 2015 BBC interview, he made similar comments, noting that a female Dalai Lama should be attractive, otherwise she would be of "not much use."

    His comments immediately sparked a response online, with some social media users outraged, while others claimed that the Dalai Lama implied that one needs to be more attractive to be accepted by society.

    The Dalai Lama "formally" stepped down from political responsibilities in 2011, yet continues to be the figurehead of the Tibetan people as their spiritual leader.

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    Tibet, Dalai Lama
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