Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Lamas who will select the Chinese 15th Dalai Lama

China is working hard to prepare the post-Dalai Lama era.

Interview with Reuters

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.”

Wu Yingjie: "The Dalai Lama has not done a single good thing"
Buddhism and the Dalai Lama at the Center Stage in Beijing
During the recently-held 'Two Meetings', Tibetan Buddhism was at the centre stage of many discussions.
In an interaction with the Tibetan delegation to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), the Party Chief of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), Wu Yingjie came down heavily on the Dalai Lama.
Wu said, "The Tibetan people have more affection for the government. The Dalai Lama has not done a 'single good thing' for Tibet since he left."
The Hong Kong newspaper also quoted Go Khok, deputy Party chief and mayor of Lhasa, as saying that maintaining stability would be a key task for the city government this year, which marks the 60th anniversary of the departure of the Dalai Lama for exile.
According to the ‘political advisors’ who attended the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing beginning of this month, Buddhist religion is well-respected and well-preserved in Tibet.
China displayed a collection of Tibetan ‘Living Buddhas’ as the Communist atheists term the reincarnated lamas; all are known for their loyalty to the Communist Party.
Xinhua reported: “Chinese religious figures serving as political advisors at this year's ‘Two Sessions’ [or Two Meetings] are pleased with the country's protection of Tibetan Buddhism in southwest China's TAR.”
Several of the Tibetan lamas were quoted by the news agency.

The Use of Tibetan Lamas for Communist Propaganda
The use of ‘Living Buddhas’ for political purposes is not new, but it appears that it has intensified since the Chinese State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) issued a State Order No.5 for the “Management Measures For the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism” in 2007 and the unrest on the plateau in 2008.
It is done in a very systematic way mainly in view of the hopefully not too soon, departure of the Dalai Lama and in preparation for his reincarnation.
I am compiled a list of the Communist ‘lamas’ who will be co-opted to find the Chinese reincarnation of the 15th Dalai Lama.

Phagpala Gelek Namgyal
Phagpala is presently the Vice-chairman of 13th CPPCC National Committee; he is also honorary president of Buddhist Association of China and chairman of CPPCC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee.
The CPPCC’s vice-chairmanship gives him a Central Minister rank.
He was born in February 1940 in Litang, presently in Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province. He is known as the 11th Chamdo Phagpala Hutuktu, (Hutuktu is a Mongol title for a high incarnated lama).
He formerly served as a Vice Chairman of the National People's Congress, Vice Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and Vice President of the Buddhist Association of China; he was vice chairman of 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th, 11th and 12th CPPCC national committees.
He was one of the first Tibetans to join the Communist Party soon after the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1950/51.
Incidentally, Phagpala is one of the senior member of the 'Chamdo Clique' as the reincarnation of the head lama of the Jampaling Monastery in Chamdo - he is also known as Chamdo Phakpalha.
Lobsang Gyaltsen, the head of the TAR Government, a member of the Central Committee, is also from Chamdo.
On March 14, 2013, Jampa Phuntsok, also from Chamdo, was appointed as Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress.
At that time, Pema Thinley (alias Padma Choling) became Chairman of the TAR People’s Congress; further, he was the only ethnic Tibetan, seating as a full member in the 18th CCP’s Central Committee.
Phagpala, Jampa Phuntsok, Pema Thinley, and Lobsang Gyatsen are the highest ethnic Tibetan cadres in the Communist hierarchy in Tibet today; all from the Chamdo Prefecture.
It is also rumoured that they all support the Shugden cult, against the Dalai Lama.
Can you guess from where the Chinese 15th Dalai Lama will come from?

Gyaltsen Norbu, 11th Chinese Panchen Lama
This is the Panchen Lama ‘found’ by China.
He is presently Vice President of China Buddhist Association (BAC) and Member of the Standing Committee of the 13th CPPCC.
Gyatsen Norbu was born in Lhari County, Nagchu Prefecture on February 13, 1990.
On November 29, 1995, he was recognized by Beijing as the 11th Panchen Lama in front of the statue the Buddha Sakyamuni in the Jokhang cathedral in Lhasa. 
The Golden Urn was used; later the outcome was approved by the State Council.
He is the person who ultimately will 'recognize' the 15th Dalai Lama.

7th Drukhang Rinpoche Thubten Khedrup
He was born in December 1955 in Naqu. He joined the Party in July 1980.
He is presently the Vice Chairman of the TAR’s Political Consultative Conference, BAC’s Vice President, President of the Tibet Branch and Dean of the Tibetan Buddhist College.
He is regularly used by the Communist regime when senior Party cadres visit Tibet.
See The Ethnic Religious Faces of China.
See also China lacks 'Buddhist' credibility.

Tsomoling Rinpoche
Vice Chairman of the TAR’s Political Consultative Conference and BAC’s Vice President.
Tsemonling Tenzin Trinley Rinpoche was born in 1950 in Lhasa; he was one of the Four ‘Lings’, who from time to time acted as regents of Tibet (mostly when the Tibetan state was weak; particularly during the 19th century).
The Four 'Lings' (Ling Shi) were Kundeling, Demoling, Tsemonling and Tsechokling. They had their estates in Lhasa and around Lhasa.
Like his colleagues Reting, Phagphala or Dorje Phagmo, Tsemonling also  shoots for the Party from time to time.
Tsomonling has been a deputy in the National People’s Congress (NPC) from the 7th NPC (1988) to the 13th (2017).
He once declared that he was most impressed by the last report of Premier Wen Jiabao in the National People’s Congress. He found it inspiring and truth-reflecting. According to him, despite difficulties and challenges, the Chinese government has behaved well and there can be no development and innovation without Beijing’s support. This is what the Party wants to hear.
He has undertaken the task of re-carving (on wooden blocks) the Kangyur, which is a collection of Buddha’s sayings.
A few years ago, he spoke about self-immolation which, for him, is an insane act and violates Buddhist doctrine. He believed that the Xi Jinping's Chinese Dream is ‘related’ to the improvement of people’s livelihood, maintenance of social stability and steady economic development. Once again, the Lama is used by the Party to pass on its messages to the masses.
Also read A Battery of Rinpoche guns for China.

Drikung Chungtsang Rinpoche
The Drikung Kyabgön Chungtsang, the 36th throne holder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage and the 8th reincarnation of the Chungtsang Rinpoche; he is said to be a manifestation of Manjushri.
He was born in the Water-Horse-Year 1942 in Lhokha as the youngest of five sons into the prominent aristocratic Lhagyari family, one of the oldest noble houses of Tibet descending from the ancient royal dynasty. The family branch is called Dewa Lhagyari Trichen.

Gomatsang Rinpoche, Lobsang Jampa Gyatso
He is from the important Labrang Tashikyl Monastery in Gansu; he is Vice President, Chinese Academy of Tibetan Buddhism.

Samding Dorjee Phagmo
Born in 1942, at the age of five, the Lady Lama was chosen as the incarnation of the abbess of Samding monastery, near Lhasa.
Deputy Director of the TAR’s Standing Committee of the People's Congress and Director of the China Tibet Cultural Protection and Development Association.
Dorje Phagmo was the only female reincarnation in Tibet.
In 2008, she declared that she was upset and angered by riots in Lhasa and accused the Dalai Lama of violating Buddhist teachings. She publicly affirmed that before Tibet’s incorporation into Communist China, Tibet was a backward feudal society. People were largely illiterate serfs with no medical care. The female ‘Living Buddha’ remembered that when she was a child, Tibet was dark and cruel; the so-called serfs lived worse than horses and cattle. Today, Tibet is transformed, thanks to the Party.
Her statement regarding Tibet needing to be ‘incorporated’ nonetheless shows that it was earlier a ‘separate’ entity.

After the unrest of 2008 and a few months before the Olympic Games, she was extensively used by the Party for propaganda. She was quoted as saying that the acts of the Dalai Lama and his followers seriously violate the basic teachings and precepts of Buddhism and damage traditional Tibetan Buddhism’s good reputation.

He is born in August 1967 in Drung Dechen District. He joined the Party in June 2016. He is currently the vice chairman of the Lhasa CPPCC Vice Chairman of the Lhasa CPPCC, Vice President of the TAR’s Buddhist Association, Vice President of the Lhasa City Buddhist Association and Executive Deputy Director of the Jokhang Temple Management Committee.
He was used by the Chinese propaganda during the 'Two Meetings' (see interview quoted below).

Jewan Koondor Tulku
67 year old tulku originally from Champa Ling Monastery in Chamdo which has strong Dorje Shugden connections and has been present at every CPPCC in last 15 years. When 8 years old, his parents took him and followed the Dalai Lama to India. He eventually ended up in Switzerland. In 2011 he returned to China. Today he was made Vice Chairman of the TAR Overseas Friendship Association.

7th Taksang Tulku,Garang Thubten Lashay Gyatso
The 51-year old Tibetan tulku is from Taksang Monastery in Dzoege, Ngaba county.
He was born in July 1967 in Sichuan province. He joined the Party in November 2006 after graduating from the Chinese Department of Tibetan Languages.
He is currently a member of the National Committee of the CPPCC and the president of the Ngaba Prefecture Buddhist Association.

3rd Shangen Tulku, Phalden Dorje
He was born in April 1949 in Litang, Eastern Tibet (today Sichuan province). The-69 year old Tibetan Rinpoche is Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of Garze Prefecture People's Congress, Deputy Director of the National Committee of the National Committee of the CPPCC.

Lobsang Samten Rinpoche
Vice Chairman of the CPPCC Ngari National Association, Honorary President of the Regional Buddhist Association, Rinpoche from Trugo monastery near Purang in Ngari prefecture.

Rinchen Namgyal
In 1994, he graduated from the Higher School of Tibetan Languages. He is currently the deputy chairman of the 12th Qinghai Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Consultation Conference, the vice president of the China Interpretation Association, and the deputy director of the National Tibetan Buddhism Teaching Committee, and the president of the Qinghai Provincial Interpretation Association.
On January 29, 2018, the 12th Committee of the CPPCC Qinghai Province was held for the first time; Rinchen Namgyal was elected Vice President of the Provincial Political Consultative Conference.

Lhodro Gyatso Rinpoche
He is the Executive Director of the Tibet Branch of the Buddhist Association, member of the TAR’s Political Consultative Conference, Vice President of the Buddhist Association of Shigatse City, and Executive Deputy Director of the Sakya Monastery People's Management Association.
On January 24, 2018, the 24th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th CPPCC National Committee, he was  appointed as a member of the 13th CPPCC National Committee.

17th Dongbo Jampa Tulku
He was born in December 1968 in Gyezur, Garze in Sichuan; he joined the Party in November 1983.

Dongbao Jampa Hutuktu, the 49-year old Tibetan tulku belongs to the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism; he has been recognized by Tai Situ Rinpoche in India.
He is presently the Deputy Head of the China Buddhist Association, Vice Chairman of the CPPCC’s Shangri-La County in Dechen Prefecture of Yunnan Province and the vice president of the China Interpretation Association.

The 7th Reting Rinpoche
Tough not seen in Beijing during the Two Meetings, another lama Beijing is banking upon is Reting Rinpoche.
In January 2013, a 16-year old boy, recognised by the Communist Party as the 7th Reting Rinpoche was made the youngest member of Tibet’s CPPCC.
The Fifth Reting was the Regent of Tibet during the minority of the present Dalai Lama.
See 'Reting and the Dalai Lama's Incarnations'.

Hu Xuefeng (Mongolian)
Hu is abbot of the Yonghe Temple, also known as the Lama Temple in Dongcheng District of Beijing, China. The building and artwork of the temple is a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles.
Though not Tibetan, Hu is very influential.
He was born in 1966 in the township of the Fuxin Mongolian Autonomous County. In 1981, he joined the Lama Temple and two years later was awarded a Masters degree.
In 1990, he was enrolled in the Senior High School of the Chinese Department of Tibetan Languages and in 1992, he graduated with honor. In 1994, he was elected as the deputy abbot of the Lama Temple. In January 2010, he was promoted to the abbot.
From 1995 to 2000, he was elected as the vice president of the Municipal Interpretation Association and the CPPCC member. In 2009, he was elected as the vice president of the Municipal Interpretation Association.

Beijing is trying its best to increase its control over the reincarnations of Tibetan lamas (and ultimately the Dalai Lamas), thus legitimising Communist rule in the Himalayan region. China has even revived the ancient title of Hutuktu, which was given by the Mongols and later the Manchus to Lama-rulers. Reting, like Pagphala, has also been styled as Hutuktu by Beijing.

Jamyang Shepa
Lamas like Jamyang Shape and Amchok Rinpoche should be added to this list.
Lobsang Jigme Thubten Chökyi Nyima, the present incarnation (the 6th) of the Jamyang Shepa, the head lama of the Labrang Tashikyl Monastery, in today’s Gansu province. He was born in 1948 and currently lives in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. During the Cultural Revolution, Jamyang Shepa became a layman but retained a high degree of prestige in the area. The Jamyang Shepas have traditionally been the most prestigious teachers at Labrang Tashikhyil monastery.
The case of the Jamyang Shepa shows that the Chinese are keen to use the traditional hierarchy to put across their message.
In 2013, when Yu Zhengsheng of the Standing Committee of the Politburo visited Labrang, he met the Jamyang Shepa. At that time, Xinhua affirmed that the famous Monastery was 'one of the six great temples of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism', Yu was received by the Jamyang Shepa as the traditional head of the monastery.

Amchok Rinpoche
A recent returnee from Dharamsala.
According to The Global Times, Amchok Rinpoche (written Achok by the Chinese): “the living Buddha, returned to China in May [2015] and has settled down in the Aba [Ngawa] Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China's Sichuan Province after he gained approval from Sichuan in April.” The Communist tabloid commented: “Move indicates futureless end of the Dalai Lama group”.
He may also play a role in finding the reincarnation …in China.

It seems that Beijing has now decided to bring forward its entire collection of ‘Living Buddhas’ to ‘spiritualize’ the Roof of the World; this, at a time when the Dalai Lama is working towards ‘secularising’ Tibetan society.
Moreover, their role will be to find the reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama.

The Propaganda battle has started
One of the ‘political advisors’ mentioned above, Lhakpa spoke at length to Xinhua about the progress of the religious freedom and the Jokhang Temple, “in downtown Lhasa, the regional capital of Tibet, is a must for visitors to Tibet and a sacred site for Tibetan Buddhists. It attracts about 800,000 tourists and receives over three million Buddhist followers each year.”
The Jokhang cathedral is “home to plenty of historical relics and typical Tibetan architecture. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000,” noted the agency.
Lhakpa is quoted saying that Beijing attaches “great importance to the protection and preservation of the temple. Five years ago, for example, the government invested over 60 million yuan (8.94 million U.S. dollars) in gilding the five golden roofs of the temple. The Buddha figures, thangka and murals in the temple have also been well preserved. To better protect these precious cultural relics, a database for Buddha statues and thangka in both Mandarin and Tibetan languages, launched in 2015, will be completed next year,” said Lhakpa.
According to the monk administrator, “more than 6,000 Buddha statues and over 600 thangka have been included in the database. The government has invested 100 million yuan in protecting the cultural relics."
Lhakpa concluded that as a political advisor, his job was “to serve all the people, including tourists, believers and researchers who visit the temple. We have personnel working 24/7 in the halls of the temple, including monks, firefighters and police officers to prevent the cultural heritage from being destroyed or stolen, and to ensure tourists' safety. …On the Lamp Festival, we have Dharma assembly here and the butter lamps are lit on top of the temple. Believers come to pray for happiness and health," he added.
It is clearly said that the monks’ duty is to serve the millions of Chinese tourists.
According to Lhakpa, like the Jokhang Temple, almost all the temples and monasteries in Tibet are under national or regional protection.
Incidentally, according to the official Tibet Daily, a fire broke out at 6:40 pm on February 17, 2018 in part of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. It was eventually put off in the evening; the News Agency said: "Located at the center of old Lhasa, Jokhang Temple is a renowned temple for Tibetan Buddhism. It has a history of more than 1,300 years and houses many cultural treasures, including a life-sized statue of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old."
This inauspiciously occurred on the second day of the Losar, the Tibetan New Year (Earth Dog Year).
During the Two Meetings, another ‘Living Buddha’, the Drigung Chungtsang stated that today's Tibet observes many traditional folk and religious activities: “The Shoton [yoghurt] festival at Drepung Monastery and the worship activities at Sera Monastery are among the most popular ones.”
The Drikung Lama added: "Tibetan Buddhists, young and old, would sway their praying wheels and chant sutras when significant activities are launched."
As vice chairman of the Tibet branch of the Buddhist Association of China, Drigung Rinpoche is in charge of the Kangyur printing: “The precious wooden templates of the Kangyur have been well preserved and printing is suspended in winter because cold weather may cause damage to the templates.”
Another ‘political advisor’ Lodro Gyatso, a senior monk from the Sakya Monastery told Xinhua that the monastery has two Buddhist colleges, “offering various classes including Tibetan language, Tibetan calligraphy, Buddhist texts, astronomy, calendrical calculation and philosophy to monks and lamas.”
A ‘returnee Living Buddha’ Jewan Koondhor is also one of ‘political advisors’. Xinhua noted that he spent most of his life outside (in Switzerland) and when he was 60 in 2011, he returned to his hometown, Chamdo in Tibet: “My hometown Chamdo has changed a lot and is continually improving. The traffic there today is much more convenient. I'm happy to be back," he told the agency.
He is a proponent of Shugden cult, and therefore violently anti-Dalai Lama.

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