While it may read like something from a satirical site, Chinese Communist Party leaders have ordered the Dalai Lama to reincarnate.
The news follows recent comments made by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama that he may not reincarnate thus ending the lineage of Dalai Lamas.
The Chinese Communist Party is committed to atheism, but allows the public to accept religious beliefs. For the past 20 years, China has taken an active role both in the succession of the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist leaders.
For example, in 1995 following a declaration by the Dalai Lama that a Tibetan boy was the next incarnation of the Panchen Lama, the government hid the boy and his family away and picked another successor of their own liking. Even though he has yet to speak to these recent comments, this may well have influenced the Dalai Lama’s recent statements as to whether or not the line would end with him.
Per The New York Times, the Dalai Lama’s decision not to reincarnate is seen as a act of defiance by the exiled spiritual leader and would thwart “the government’s plans to engineer a succession that would produce a putative 15th Dalai Lama who accepts China’s presence and policies in Tibet.”
Comments by Zhu Weiqun, a Communist Party official who heads leads the ethnic and religious affairs committee echo this. Zhu publicly blasted the comments and accused His Holiness of having a “frivolous attitude toward his own succession.”
While it’s still unclear whether or not there will be another Dalai Lama or not to succeed the current one who turns 80 later this year, one thing is clear: tensions between China and the Dalai Lama will probably continue for some time.
For those curious about Tibet today-especially for the ordinary people who live there-there is an excellent BBC documentary called A Year in Tibet which also briefly covers the history of China and Tibet.
No matter what happens, here’s hoping the culture and religion of Tibet survives regardless of whether there is another Dalai Lama or not.
Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Christopher Michel