The declaration of fatigue should come as no surprise to anyone aware of the rigorous schedule that the 73-year-old Dalai Lama keeps. In the months leading to the Beijing Olympics, he kept up an especially grueling travel schedule, meeting world leaders to drum up support for the Tibetan cause and conducting teachings on Tibetan Buddhism.
But his need for a break may raise an alarm for both the Chinese authorities and the millions of Tibetan Buddhists worldwide who consider him their spiritual leader since time is on the side of neither camp.
Only half in jest in an interview last May, the Dalai Lama said he had promised senior clerics that he would try to live for a long time — “at least another two, three decades,” he put it. There is no chosen successor.