For half a millennium, since the Mongol ruler Altan Khan, descendant of Genghis and Kublai Khan, bestowed the title of Dalai Lama on the first ruler of the Yellow Hat Buddhists, the Dalai Lama has represented the spiritual and temporal states of the Buddhist nation that dominates Tibet and Mongolia. This summer, the 14th Dalai Lama stepped down from his role as secular ruler to focus on his functions as religious leader. For the first time, Tibetan Buddhists in Asia and around the world have a new political leader—the Kalon Tripa, or prime minister, who hopes one day to be able to return to rule the nation of Tibet, now firmly under Chinese control. Lobsang Sangay was chosen last summer—elected by all Buddhists able to cast ballots (largely outside of tightly-controlled Tibet itself). From his headquarters in Dharamsala, India, he spoke...

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