BY VISHAL GULATI
Dharamsala, July 16 (IANS) China’s insistence on appointing the next Dalai Lama is just showcasing of power, according to the Tibetan ‘government in exile’.
On China’s warning that India should not interfere in the process of appointing the next Dalai Lama, the Dharamsala-based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on Tuesday said the Chinese functionaries were in the habit of issuing forewarnings just to keep the issue alive.
“The cause of this provocation is that His Holiness (the Dalai Lama) has recently slammed Chinese interests in (appointment of) his successor,” a CTA official told IANS.
The spiritual leader has said his successor would never come from Chinese-controlled regions but from a “free country”.
The reaction came on the recent remarks by Wang Neng Sheng, Director General of the People’s Government Information Office of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, that the Dalai Lama’s successor should be approved by the Chinese government.
Wang has said the reincarnation cannot be decided by the Dalai Lama’s personal wish or by some group of people living in other countries.
The CTA said the Dalai Lama himself has on several occasions asserted that the authority over his reincarnation rests solely upon himself.
The Dalai Lamas have functioned as both the political and spiritual leaders of Tibet for 369 years since 1642.
What is reincarnation?
It is 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.
Therefore, the person who reincarnates has sole legitimate authority over where and how he or she takes rebirth and how that reincarnation is to be recognized, says a post on the official website of the Dalai Lama.
“When I am about 90, I will consult the high Lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other people concerned who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not,” said a post quoting the spiritual leader dated September 24, 2011.
“On that basis we will take a decision. If it is decided that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama should continue and there is a need for the 15th Dalai Lama to be recognized, responsibility for doing so will primarily rest on the officers of the Dalai Lama’s Gaden Phodrang Trust.”
At the same time, the Dalai Lama had clarified 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 China.
Washington based pro-Tibet group, the International Campaign for Tibet, in March said: “Not only do the Chinese government’s claims completely disregard centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist religious tradition, they also obviously violate the universal principle of religious freedom.
“The regulations invoked by Beijing clearly do not meet international standards, as they openly deny the fundamental right of Tibetan Buddhist communities to follow their own spiritual process without government interference.”
Questioning the basis of China’s claim on the incarnation issue, Tibetan activist and poet Tenzin Tsundue said there is nothing Chinese about the Dalai Lama as the title is Mongolian and the leader is Tibetan.
“Like India, China too was under foreign occupations. The Mongols and Manchus terrorized the rice-eating Chinese for over 400 years until 1911 China’s independence. The Republic of China was founded under the first President Sun Yat-sen in 1912,” he told IANS.
“Today, China-occupied countries: Tibet, East Turkestan, Mongolia and Manchuria make 60 per cent of China’s landmass. China has colonized the histories of these occupied countries and owns them as history of China,” he added.
He said the institution of the Dalai Lama is 400 years old, while the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949.
“How can agnostic communists even pretend to have any faith in reincarnations?” Tsundue asked.
Sadly, the international community, lured by cheap ‘Made in China’ products, accepts Chinese sovereignty on these occupied countries, added Tsundue, known for his trademark red headband.
On his birthday on July 6 this year, the Dalai Lama had said: “I am now 84, but I hope to be able to celebrate the occasion with all of you for many more years to come.”
(Vishal Gulati can be reached at [email protected])