In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country. By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.
At 72, the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959, is beginning to plan his succession, saying that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it's under Chinese control. Assuming he's able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks.
James: Well, for a communist state, China sure is interested in religion!! That of course is because they fear the Dalai Lama as he represents peace and freedom of not only religion but of thought as well. This law is just plain silly. Seeing how it is believed by many that the Dalai Lama can control his own rebirth he will simply be reborn in Dharamsala, India (where the current Dalai Lama lives) or elsewhere in the Tibetan diaspora. The Chinese government simply does not understand Buddhism and the fact that change is inevitable. The idea of banning reincarnation by a human law is as absurd as passing a law making winter illegal.
The Tibetan people will never recognize an impostor Dalai Lama chosen by a non-Tibetan Buddhist body. It would be like the Tibetan Buddhist leader saying that he would choose the next Pope of the Catholic church and only that "Pope" would be the "real" one. Of course no one would take that seriously and this law of the Chinese government is just as laughable.
PHOTO CREDIT: The Buddhist Channel News
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