The Dalai Lama is deeply sorry about comments he made about a possible woman successor in a recent BBC interview, his office has said.
"While responding to a question about whether his own rebirth could be a woman, and suggesting that if she were she should be attractive, His Holiness genuinely meant no offence," the Dalai Lama's office said, in a statement, on Tuesday.
The statement added, "He is deeply sorry that people have been hurt by what he said and offers his sincere apologies."
The comments were made in an interview with the British broadcaster aired last week from the Nobel peace prize winner's exile in Dharamsala in India.
"If female Dalai Lama comes, then she should be more attractive,".
"If female Dalai Lama, oh, oh... that people, I think prefer, not see her, that face,'' he had said.
"His Holiness, a monk now in his mid-eighties, has a keen sense of the contradictions between the materialistic, globalized world he encounters on his travels and the complex, more esoteric ideas about reincarnation that are at the heart of Tibetan Buddhist tradition," the new statement said.
"However, it sometimes happens that unplanned remarks, which might be amusing in one cultural context, lose their humour in translation when brought into another. He regrets any offence that may have been given.
"For all his long life, His Holiness has opposed the objectification of women, has supported women and their rights and celebrated the growing international consensus in support of gender equality and respect for women," it added.
The statement also said that the original context of his referring to the physical appearance of a female successor was a conversation with the then Paris editor of Vogue magazine.
"She asked if a future Dalai Lama could be a woman. His Holiness replied, 'Certainly if that would be more helpful,' adding, as a joke, that she should be attractive. He was at least partially responding to the unfamiliar ambience of working with a team whose prime focus was the world of high fashion," the statement said.