The Dalai Lama has apologised for saying that a future female successor would need to be attractive.
The Tibetan spiritual leader was reiterating previous comments on the benefits of female physical appearance, at a BBC interview last month, revealing that a female Dalai Lama would be "not much use" if she was unattractive.
His office issued a statement on Tuesday in hope to clarify his words as a joke that got lost in translation between languages and cultures.
The statement said that "it sometimes happens that off the cuff remarks, which might be amusing in one cultural context, lose their humour in translation when brought into another".
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Continuing on, it said, "His Holiness, a monk now in his mid-eighties, has a keen sense of the contradictions between the materialistic, globalised world he encounters on his travels and the complex, more esoteric ideas about reincarnation that are at the heart of Tibetan Buddhist tradition."
The statement shared that the Dalai Lama had long opposed the objectification of women and supported gender equality.
The office finished by revealing he was "deeply sorry that people have been hurt by what he said".
Regardless of the 83-year-old leader's apology, his remark has sparked banter online about his physical attractiveness.
One person tweeted "15 beautiful monks stand before me, but I only have 14 photos in my hand. And these photos represent the girls that are still in the running toward becoming America's Next Top Dalai Lama".