Dalai Lama to have surgery

October 9, 2008 9:10:40 PM PDT
The Dalai Lama will undergo surgery to remove a gallstone, a spokesman for the Tibetan spiritual leader said Friday. The Dalai Lama was hospitalized in New Delhi early Friday, days after a medical checkup cleared him to resume foreign travel. His spokesman, Chhime R. Chhoekyapa, declined to provide further details, including when the surgery would take place, saying only "a gallstone will be removed."

In August, the 73-year-old Dalai Lama was admitted to a Mumbai hospital and underwent tests for abdominal discomfort. His aides said at the time that he was in good condition but that doctors had advised him to cancel a planned trip to Europe and rest, saying he was suffering from exhaustion.

The Dalai Lama normally spends several months a year traveling the world to teach Buddhism and highlight the Tibetans' struggle for greater freedom in China.

The Dalai Lama arrived in the Indian capital Monday from Dharmsala, the north Indian hill town where he set up his government in exile after fleeing Tibet in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He was originally scheduled to be back in Dharmsala on Thursday.

After a March outbreak of violence in Tibet, China stepped up its campaign to vilify the Dalai Lama, blaming him for the unrest, which Beijing says was part of a campaign to split the Himalayan region from the rest of China.

The Dalai Lama has denied the allegations, saying he is only seeking greater autonomy for Tibet to protect its unique Buddhist culture.