By Choekyi Lhamo
phayul photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, NOV. 27: 14th Tibetan Religious Conference began today in the T-building at Gangkyi where the seat of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) resides. The Kalon (minister) for Religion and Culture, Karma Gelek Yuthok, addressed the meeting attended by 117 monks and nuns including prominent religious heads of different sects in Tibetan Buddhism. The participants will discuss problems, possibilities, courses of action with regards to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. It aims to achieve a proper plan of action by the end of the conference. The religious heads also discussed harmony among different sects and regions in our community, preservation of our religion and rich culture, and also about exile as a possibility of change and growth for our people.
The three-day conference has been administered by the heads and important figures of Tibetan Buddhist tradition including the Sakya Trizin, Gaden Tri Rinpoche, Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche, Menri Trizin Rinpoche, Tsurphu Gorshi Gyaltsab Rinpoche (Representative of Gyalwa Karmapa), Taklung Matrul Rinpoche, (Representative of Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche), Namdroling Tulku Choedhar Rinpoche, Khenpo Ngedhon Tenzin (Representative of Gyalwang Drukchen) and Jonang Gyaltsab Rinpoche. Many other representatives and lamas from the Himalayan region, Rinpoches of major Buddhist institutes in exile, and members, heads and representatives of Tibetan nunneries were also in attendance. Moreover, Sikyong (President), Kalons (Cabinet members), Chitues (members of Tibetan parliament-in-exile) and the Chief Justice Commissioner were also present at the inaugural ceremony.
Sikyong Lobsang Sangay mentioned the recent visit by US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, Samuel Brownback, and asserted that the US government has always consistently disregarded China’s claim to power in the traditional process of reincarnation. Sikyong showed his disapproval of China’s rampant willingness to control the future reincarnation of the spiritual leader by saying, “China’s extreme hostility towards religious freedom in Tibet is no longer admissible to us and likewise, we vehemently reject any advancement of China’s interferences in the reincarnation process. If any, it should be for the Tibetans to decide and defend.” He also shared his gratitude towards India as he said, “Though China continues to put pressure on India, India’s consistent generosity and kindnesses towards Tibetans have always been the same.”
In the resolution declared by the officials at a press conference today, it was clearly stated that the matter of the next Dalai Lama would be entirely in the hands of the Tibetan people. In the Special resolution, the first point reasserts the “karmic bond” between the Dalai Lamas is inseparable whereby the “Tibetans genuinely wish for the continuation of the Institution and Reincarnation of the Dalai Lama in the future.” The second point entrusts the authority of decision concerning the reincarnation to solely rest on His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It furthers reminds that no other authority can claim the right to appoint any other candidate for the same. The last point suggests that the due process of appointing a reincarnation will follow “the same unique traditional method which has been continuously used until now” for 800 years since the emergence of the Dalai Lama institution.