No reincarnations without approval
January 23, 2008 02:12pm
Article from: Reuters
The rules are apparently aimed at empowering China to name the next Dalai Lama when the 14th and current Dalai Lama dies.
Last July, China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs issued regulations banning reincarnations of living Buddhas, or holy monks, who failed to seek government approval, ostensibly to manipulate the centuries-old practice and legitimise future appointments by the atheist Communist Party.
Tibetan lama Tubdain Kaizhub, himself a living Buddha and vice-chairman of Tibet’s Political Consultative Conference – an advisory body to the regional parliament – affirmed the regulations on Monday, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.
Xinhua quoted Soi’ham Rinzin, a member of the advisory body, as saying the 14th Dalai Lama ignored religious ritual and historical convention to unilaterally decide reincarnations, disturbing religious order.
The Dalai Lama, 72, fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Communist rule, but remains the single most important influence in Tibetan life.
Critics say China continues to repress Tibetans’ religious aspirations, especially their veneration for the Dalai Lama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner whom China denounces as a “separatist”.
The rules, which came into force on September 1, bar any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation for himself or recognising a “living Buddha”.
Reincarnations of about 1000 living Buddhas have been approved in Tibet and Tibetan populated areas of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan since 1991, according to a government website.
In 1995, the Dalai Lama and China’s Communist authorities chose rival reincarnations of the 10th Panchen Lama, who died in 1989. The Panchen Lama is the second-highest figure in Tibet’s spiritual hierarchy.
The boy anointed by the Dalai Lama, then aged six, swiftly disappeared from public view, prompting international rights groups to call him the “world’s youngest political prisoner”.
DR. WEEKS’ COMMENT:
China has a serious “separation of church and state” problem…