This blend of ancient spiritual authority and modern-day tastes is fueling expectations that the 23-year-old monk, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the No 3 lama in Tibetan Buddhism, will emerge as the public voice for the next generation of Tibetans in their struggle for freedom from China.
The Tibetans desperately need somebody. Their relations with the Chinese have, over the past year, gone from bad to terrible amid outbreaks of violence and deadlocked talks.
And with the Dalai Lama now 73 and increasingly frail, Tibetans must face that he will eventually die Ã‚Â— leaving them without an icon to plead their case before the world and keep them united.
Image: The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa looks on during a ceremony to commemorate 50 years in exile on March 10, 2009 in Dharamsala, India. Copyright Getty Images. Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.