By Sherab Woeser
His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the 11th Tibetan biannual conference of religious heads and representatives of the four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon, here in Dharamshala on September 23, 2011. (Phayul Photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, September 26: In a most comprehensive statement yet over his reincarnation, the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that he has the “sole legitimate authority” over his reincarnation.
In a declaration
released Saturday following a three-day meeting of top Buddhist teachers and practitioners, the Dalai Lama explicitly rejected China’s “enforcement of various inappropriate methods for recognising reincarnations” calling them a “detailed strategy to deceive Tibetans, followers of Tibetan Buddhist tradition and the world community.”
“Today, the authoritarian rulers of the People’s Republic of China, who as communists reject religion, but still involve themselves in religious affairs, have imposed a so-called re-education campaign and declared the so-called Order No. Five, concerning the control and recognition of reincarnations, which came into force on 1st September 2007. This is outrageous and disgraceful,” the Dalai Lama said.
Taking note of China forcing their own selection over the 6-year old boy Gedhun Choekyi Nyima recognised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1995 as the XIth Panchen Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader declared that it is particularly inappropriate for Chinese communists, who explicitly reject even the idea of past and future lives, let alone the concept of reincarnate Tulkus, to meddle in the system of reincarnation.
"Such brazen meddling contradicts their own political ideology and reveals their double standards," the statement said.
Describing reincarnation as “a phenomenon which should take place either through the voluntary choice of the concerned person or at least on the strength of his or her karma, merit and prayers,” the Dalai Lama said that “no one else can force the person concerned, or manipulate him or her.”
The 14th Dalai Lama, who recently devolved all political authority of the nearly four centuries old Dalai Lama institution to the democratically elected Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister), further sought to democratise the reincarnation process by leaving the decision on whether there is need for a next Dalai Lama on the Tibetan public and other concerned people.
“When I am about ninety I will consult the high Lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other concerned people who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not. On that basis we will take a decision,” the 76-year-old Tibetan leader said.
Following the age-refined Tibetan traditional system of reincarnation and recognition of Tulkus, the Tibetan spiritual leader declared that he “shall leave clear written instructions” about his reincarnation “if it is decided that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama should continue.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama while entrusting the concerned officers of the Dalai Lama’s Gaden Phodrang Trust to “carry out the procedures of search and recognition in accordance with past tradition” in consultation with the “various heads of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions and the reliable oath-bound Dharma Protectors” also issued a stern warning to China.
“Bear in mind that, apart from the reincarnation recognised through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People’s Republic of China,” the Dalai Lama declared.