Red China Mischief in Tibet
REALITY OF DALAI LAMA REINCARNATION vs RED CHINA’S MISCHIEF IN TIBET
Reality of Dalai Lama Reincarnation becomes Self-Evident after fully accounting for Red China’s Mischief in Tibet.
DOOM DOOMA DOOMSAYER
DALAI LAMA GETS MISCHIEVOUS – THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Dalai Lama a week before his 80th birthday. Credit Will Oliver/European Pressphoto Agency
The Dalai Lama, who may be the only octogenarian spiritual leader with a profoundly mischievous streak, has a suggestion for China’s Communist leaders: Take up reincarnation.
I’m interviewing him in his hotel room in Manhattan, at the end of an overseas tour marking his 80th birthday, and we’re talking about what happens after he dies. He is the 14th Dalai Lama, each considered a reincarnation of the previous one, and usually after one has died a search is undertaken for an infant to become the next. But he has said that he may be the last of the line, or that the next Dalai Lama might emerge outside Tibet — or might even be a girl.
This talk infuriates Beijing, which is determined to choose the next Dalai Lama (to use as a tool to control Tibet). So, startlingly, the atheists in the Chinese Communist Party have been insisting that Buddhist reincarnation must continue.
“The Chinese Communist Party is pretending that they know more about the reincarnation system than the Dalai Lama,” said the Dalai Lama, laughing. “The Chinese Communists should accept the concept of rebirth. Then they should recognize the reincarnation of Chairman Mao Zedong, then Deng Xiaoping. Then they have the right to involve themselves in the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation.”
The Dalai Lama hinted that he would hold some kind of referendum among Tibetan exiles, and consultations among Tibetans within China, about whether a new Dalai Lama should succeed him. The issue will be formally resolved around his 90th birthday, he said.
One reason to end the line, he suggested, is that a future Dalai Lama might be “naughty” and diminish the position. His biggest concern seems to be that after he dies, China will select a new pet Dalai Lama who may act as a quisling to help the Chinese control Tibet and to give legitimacy to their policies there.
“Sadly, the precedent has been set,” he said, referring to the Panchen Lama, the second most important reincarnated lama in Tibetan Buddhism. After the 10th Panchen Lama died in 1989, China kidnapped the baby chosen by Tibetans as his successor and helped anoint a different child as the 11th Panchen Lama. Nobody knows what happened to the real Panchen Lama.
I admire the Dalai Lama enormously, and in 2007 he bravely used my column to send an important olive branch to Beijing — only to be criticized by fellow Tibetans as too conciliatory, and rejected as insincere by China. But I told him that I also thought there were times when he had been too cautious and had missed opportunities for rapprochement with Beijing. My examples: In the 1980s, when the leaders Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang sought compromise on Tibet; after the 10th Panchen Lama died; and in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.
The Dalai Lama was having none of that — he doesn’t think he missed opportunities. But he acknowledged that Zhao had been sympathetic and added that if Zhao and Hu had not been ousted, “the Tibetan issue would already be solved, no question.”
To my surprise, the Dalai Lama was also enthusiastic about Xi Jinping, the current Chinese leader. He spoke admiringly of Xi’s anticorruption campaign, said Xi’s mother was “very religious, a very devout Buddhist,” and noted Xi himself had spoken positively of Buddhism.
So, President Xi, if you’re reading this, the Dalai Lama would like to visit China. How about an invitation?
I had asked my followers on Twitter and Facebook to suggest questions for the Dalai Lama, and here are his responses to some of the issues they raised:
• On the Myanmar Buddhists who have murdered, raped and oppressed Muslims: As he has before, the Dalai Lama strongly condemned the violence. He added: “If Buddha would come at that moment, he definitely would save or protect those Muslims.”
• On eating meat: The Dalai Lama said he had been a pure vegetarian for 20 months but then developed jaundice, so his doctors told him to start eating meat again. He now eats meat twice a week and is vegetarian the rest of the week, he said, but added that he thinks vegetarianism is preferable.
• On Pope Francis: “I admire his stance,” the Dalai Lama said. “He dismissed one German bishop [for too luxurious living]. I was so impressed. I wrote a letter to him. I expressed my admiration.”
• On gender: The Dalai Lama says he considers himself a feminist and would like to see more women leaders because he thinks women are often innately more sensitive and peaceful. “I insist that women should carry a more active role,” he said. “If eventually most of the leaders of different nations are female, maybe we’ll be safer.”
NO DALAI LAMA REINCARNATION WITHOUT FREEDOM IN OCCUPIED TIBET
As Tibet remains under Red China’s military occupation without Freedom, Dalai Lama “REINCARNATION” remains Impossible. To restore normalcy in Tibetan National Life, Military Occupier must be evicted from Tibetan Territory. The Disease called ‘Occupation’ is the Cause and no Reincarnation is its Effect.
WHY THE DALAI LAMA SAYS REINCARNATION MIGHT NOT BE FOR HIM – LA TIMES
Adherents of Tibetan Buddhism believe the Dalai Lama, the religion’s highest spiritual authority, has been reincarnated in an unbroken line for centuries. But the current Dalai Lama says he may be the last.
In an interview with the BBC this week, the 79-year-old Nobel Peace Prize recipient said that he may not reincarnate after he dies.
“There is no guarantee that some stupid Dalai Lama won’t come next, who will disgrace himself or herself,” he said. “That would be very sad. So, much better that a centuries-old tradition should cease at the time of a quite popular Dalai Lama.”
But what does reincarnation mean, and why would the Dalai Lama not want to have a successor?
How do Tibetan Buddhists believe reincarnation works?
Tibetan Buddhism teaches that after death, nearly all of us are flung back into the world of the living under the influence of harmful impulses and desires. But through compassion and prayer, a few can choose the time, place and the parents to whom they return. This affirms Buddhist teachings that one’s spirit can return to benefit humanity; it also serves to maintain a strong theological and political structure based around monasticism and celibacy.
The process through which reincarnated Buddhist masters, known as “tulkus,” are discovered is not uniform among the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. But generally, through dreams, signals, and other clues, senior monks identify candidates from a pool of boys born around the time the previous incarnation died. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th in the line of the Gelug school. The son of a farmer, he was recognized in 1950 after he correctly picked out objects owned by his predecessor, such as a bowl and prayer beads, jumbled among unfamiliar items.
So why would the Dalai Lama refuse to reincarnate?
Almost certainly to prevent the Chinese government from inserting itself into the process for political ends. Tibet was incorporated into China more than 60 years ago; the Dalai Lama went into exile in India in 1959 amid a revolt. China’s government has denounced him as a separatist, but the Dalai Lama currently says he only seeks a high degree of autonomy for Tibet.
In the mid-1990s, the Dalai Lama identified a 6-year-old boy as the Panchen Lama, a position second only to the Dalai Lama himself. But Chinese authorities took custody of the child, and his whereabouts remain unclear. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities identified another youth as the Panchen Lama, but he never won the trust of Tibetans.
In 2011, the Dalai Lama wrote: “Should the concerned public express a strong wish for the Dalai Lamas to continue, there is an obvious risk of vested political interests misusing the reincarnation system to fulfill their own political agenda.” He said then that he would reevaluate whether the custom should go on when he was in his 90s.
Why the statement now?
In fact, the Dalai Lama has claimed that as early as 1969 he made clear that the Tibetan people should decide whether reincarnations should continue. He has previously stated that he would not reincarnate in Tibet if it were not free, and he has mused that the Tibetan people should select their religious leaders democratically. To that effect, he has already divested the political power of his role to an elected official, based in India.
In September, the Dalai Lama stepped up his rhetoric on this point, raising the suggestion that he might be the last of his line. “If a weak Dalai Lama comes along, it will just disgrace the Dalai Lama,” he told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
What do Chinese authorities say?
After the Dalai Lama’s statement in September, the Chinese government issued a firm rebuttal. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters, “The title of Dalai Lama is conferred by the central government.” China, which is officially atheist, will follow “set religious procedure and historic custom” to select a successor, she said.
Other officials have followed suit. “Only the central government can decide on keeping, or getting rid of, the Dalai Lama’s lineage, and the 14th Dalai Lama does not have the final say,” Zhu eiqun, chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs committee of a high-ranking advisory body to China’s parliament, told the state-run Global Times newspaper this week. “All [the Dalai Lama] can do is use his religious title to write about the continuation or not of the Dalai Lama to get eyeballs overseas.”
What happens next?
It’s unclear what will happen when the Dalai Lama dies, but the decision is a sensitive one that will put pressure on the Chinese government.
If the Chinese government does select a successor, its choice could be rejected by Tibetans, and that could exacerbate strained relations.
But the Dalai Lama has made nonviolence a key tenet of his teachings, and losing him – and any reincarnation – could also be risky.
Wu Chuke, a professor of social science at Beijing’s Ethnic Studies University, said that if the position is left empty, “many of the Tibetan Buddhists in China will feel like that the not being able to be reincarnated will be due to restrictions from the government and will further damage the relationship between them. This will put new pressure on the Chinese government in how they will deal with this problem.”
Silbert is a special correspondent.