China Tells Living Buddhas To Obtain Permission Before They Reincarnate

Dalai LamaIn china, the athiest government has banned reincarnation. Beginning next month, the State Administration for Religious Affairs will start establishing conditions regarding “the procedures by which one is to reincarnate.” It will be illegal “to identify the child reincarnation of the Dalai Lama” without the approval of Chinese authorities, according to the Washington Post.

This action is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled Dalai Lama, and at restricting the reincarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing. This is one of many measures by the Communist authorities to tighten their grip over Tibet.

Lamas r eincarnate, known as tulkus, often lead religious communities and watch over the training of monks. This gives them a very heavy influence over religious life in the Himalayan area. Anyone outside of China is banned from taking part in the process of finding and identifying a living Buddha, except for the Dalai Lama. He traditionally plays an important role in giving recognition to potential reincarnates.

China, for the first time, has given the Government the power to guarantee, through an iron fist, that no new living Buddha can be recognized, sounding a possible end to a “mystical system that dates back at least as far as the 12th century. “ Times

“China insists that only the Government can approve the appointments of Tibet’s two most important monks, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. The Dalai Lama’s announcement in May of 1995 that a search inside Tibet had identified the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, who died in 1989, infuriated Beijing.

The boy chosen by the Dalai Lama has disappeared. The abbot who worked with the Dalai Lama was jailed and has since vanished. Several sets of rules on seeking out “soul boys” were promulgated in 1995, but were effectively in abeyance and hundreds of living Buddhas are now believed to live inside and outside China.

All Tibetans believe in reincarnation, but only the holiest or most outstanding individuals are believed to be a tulku, or apparent body. The search for a reincarnation is a mystical process involving clues left by the deceased and visions among leading monks on where to look. The current Dalai Lama, who is the fourteenth of the line, was found in 1937 when monks came to his village.

China has long insisted that it must have the final say over the appointment of the most senior lamas. The new regulations may also be aimed at limiting the influence of new lamas. ” Times

Sources: Times, Washington Post >

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by Dena Ventrudo (Reviewed by)
Dena Ventrudo is the Assistant Editor of Merlian News. She is a published poet and creative writer. Dena volunteered as an environmentalist with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) for three years serving as a project leader, an intern, and a board representative. She has a BA in Liberal Studies.