Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Dalai Lama in China?

Communist Party officials 'recognizing' the Panchen Lama: a rehearsal?
My article Dalai Lama in China? appeared in Mail Today.

China, though constantly preaching Communist orthodoxy, today believes in reincarnating souls. Hours after the Dalai Lama had told Reuters that it was possible that his incarnation could be found in India, Beijing reiterated its knowledge on the subject.
This comes 60 years after the momentous event which took place in the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), today’s Arunachal Pradesh, on March 31, 1959; the 24-year old Dalai Lama crossed the Indo-Tibet border at Khenzimane in the Kameng Frontier Division, north of Tawang. Since then, he has lived in India as an honoured guest.
In a recent interview with Reuters, “pondering what might happen after his death, the Dalai Lama anticipated some attempt by Beijing to foist a successor.”
The Tibetan leader jokingly told the news agency: “China considers Dalai Lama’s reincarnation as something very important. They have more concern about the next Dalai Lama than me,” but more seriously, he added: “In future, in case you see two Dalai Lamas, one from here [India], a free country, [and] one chosen by Chinese, then nobody will trust, nobody will respect [the one chosen by China]. So that’s an additional problem for the Chinese! It’s possible, it can happen.”
Beijing did not appreciate his point.
The Dalai Lama further commented: “If the majority of [Tibetan people] really want to keep this institution, then this institution will remain.  …Then comes the question of the reincarnation of the 15th Dalai Lama.”
The Chinese Government was quick to counter; Geng Shuang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, immediately relayed by The Global Times, the Communist tabloid, stated: “The reincarnation of Living Buddhas, including the Dalai Lama, should abide by the laws and regulations of the state, as well as religious rituals and historical conventions.”
‘Living Buddha’ is a term invented by Beijing to describe the reincarnated Lamas. Whether, Karl Marx believed in reincarnation suddenly become irrelevant; the political stakes, i.e. the control of the Roof of the World, is politically too vital for the Communist regime, whose mouthpiece proceeded to explain: “The reincarnation of Living Buddhas is a special inheritance of Tibetan Buddhism. It follows fixed rituals and procedures. The Chinese government respects and protects it. The system of reincarnation has a history of several hundred years and the title of the 14th Dalai Lama itself also follows religious rituals and historical conventions, and was granted by the then China central government.”
According to a Chinese ‘expert’ quoted by The Global Times, the Dalai Lama’s only interest is to sabotage Tibet’s regional stability; it was “reflecting the Dalai's anxiety and fear of losing his influence in the world.”
Another ‘expert’ affirmed that it is so ridiculous to talk about reincarnation “when the 14th Dalai Lama is still alive.”
It might be ridiculous, but Beijing since year has been obsessed to put everything in place for when the day comes.
Already in 2007, the stage was set for the tragicomedy when China decided to implement the 'Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism.'
The ‘measures’ stipulated that “the Dalai Lama should follow the religious rites, historical mechanism and the national laws and regulations” and the present Dalai Lama had “no authoritative power on his own reincarnation issue.”
When the Dalai Lama objected, an article in China’s State media called the Tibetan leader’s statement “a blasphemy towards the religious rites and historical mechanism of Tibetan Buddhism, a great disrespect to the followers of the religion, and an absolute provocation towards the authority of the central government.”
Pointing a finger at the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the Chinese media stated: “Reincarnating living Buddhas shall not... be under the dominion of any foreign organization or individual;” in other words, no reincarnation in the Land of the Buddha, i.e. India.
China watchers already knew that Beijing was 'preparing' for the Lama’s succession and that the Chinese government was keen to use the Manchu-favorite type of selection, the Golden Urn, which can easily be manipulated.
In his book Forging the Golden Urn, Max Oidtmann explained that it is only in 1995, that “China resurrected a Qing-era law mandating that the reincarnations of prominent Tibetan Buddhist monks be identified by drawing lots from a golden urn. The Chinese Communist Party hoped to limit the ability of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile to independently identify reincarnations.”
China would like to use a Golden Urn lottery which was first used in 1792, at a time the Tibetan State was extremely weak; forgetting that the Dalai Lama’s institution dates from the 15th century; further the Golden Urn was not used for the present pontiff.
Today, China is actively preparing for the post-Dalai Lama period.
On March 7, 2019, a panel discussion took place during the People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing; the Chinese-selected Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu presided. Apart from the young lama considered as ‘fake’ by the Tibetans, a few Lamas, mostly unknown to the Tibetans, met to discuss the future of Buddhism; it included, Dupkang Thupten Kedup, vice chairman of the Buddhist Association of China, Tsemonling, a former Regent of Tibet in his previous reincarnation, Gomangtsang Rinpoche, Rinchen Namgyal Rinpoche, from Qinghai province and Lodro Gyatso Rinpoche from Sakya Monastery. China would like these lamas to lead the process to find the next incarnation.
Incidentally, during the ‘sensitive’ month of March, the authorities organized mass rallies in Tibetan cities. According to Human Rights Watch, on March 7, thousands of armed police and other security forces from across the region gathered to pledge loyalty to the Party and its political objective of ‘comprehensive, long term stability’.
Ding Yexian, the Party’s Deputy Secretary responsible for law and order in Tibet, called on the people to “intimidate and terrify hostile forces and splittist forces, giving them nowhere to hide.”
This does not denote a compassionate Buddhist attitude.

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