Attractiveness a job requirement for future female Dalai Lamas, says current male Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is facing online criticism after telling a journalist that a future female Dalai Lama should be attractive.

'Otherwise not much use,' says the holy man

The Dalai Lama laughs during his three-day Global Compassion Summit at the University of California Irvine, in July, when he celebrated his 80th birthday. (The Associated Press)

The Dalai Lama has come under fire online for remarks some consider sexist.

The Tibetan Buddhist leader is in England this week, and in an interview with BBC journalist Clive Myrie, he urged European countries not to turn away refugees and to help bring peace to troubled regions, amongst other totally reasonable topics. 

Five minutes into the interview, Myrie asked him if there will be a 15th incarnation of the Dalai Lama after his death, and whether that incarnation could, conceivably, be female.

He said yes, and went on to describe how he once explained to a female reporter that women should take a "more important role" in the world.

Then he dropped the bomb. 

"And then, I told that reporter, if female Dalai Lama come, the face should be very attractive," he said.

"So you can only have a female Dalai Lama if they're attractive?" Myrie asked. "Is that what you're saying?"

The holy man doubled down.

"I mean, if female Dalai Lama come, then that female must be attractive, otherwise it is not much use," he said.

Emotions are running high online.

Some seem to be in shock at the Dalai Lama's out-of-touch remarks.

Others have found a trace of irony in his words.

Some have come to his defence. 

Many just seem disappointed.

We've obviously still got a long way to go.