By Tenzin Dharpo
The Dalai Lama took off his glasses and playfully replied, “Look at my face, is the need to address the question of my reincarnation urgent_” in Yokohama, Japan on November 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 13: Exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness who is on a 10-day tour of Japan dismissed the urgency for his reincarnation during an interview with a Japanese television channel on Tuesday in Yokohama.
Responding to a question from Rina Yamasawa from Japan’s public broadcaster channel NHK over his reincarnation, the Dalai Lama playfully took of his glasses and retorted, “Look at my face, is the need to address the question of my reincarnation urgent?”
The Tibetan leader who is 83 years old has reiterated publicly that matters surrounding his reincarnation are not urgent and that he is confident of living at least 100 years. The Dalai Lama voluntarily devolved his political authority in 2011 to an elected leadership to offset the overwhelming reliance of the Tibetan people on him and to usher in democracy for the Tibetan people in the long run.
Politically, China is poised to manoeuvre the reincarnation issue of the octogenarian leader to claim legitimacy over Tibet, its Buddhist majority mass and the growing number of Buddhists in China estimated to be around 245 million. However, such moves are denounced by the international community and the Dalai Lama himself who in an interview with talk show host John Oliver last year said, “The final authority over my reincarnation process is me and certainly not the communist government of China.”
Earlier in April, the United States Senate passed a resolution that supported the right of the Tibetan Buddhists to hold sole authority over the reincarnation process of spiritual leaders, including the Dalai Lama.
While the Dalai Lama has downplayed the urgency over the matters surrounding his reincarnation, he has publicly said that whether he should reincarnate or not is up to the Tibetan people.
Starting November 29, the religion and culture wing of the exile Tibetan government known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration is set to convene a three-day meeting of Tibetan Buddhist leaders here where the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan lamas will attend. Sources say, one of the key agenda is to deliberate on the reincarnation issue of the most prominent Tibetan religious figure, the Dalai Lama.