BY VISHAL GULATI
Dharamsala, Nov 29 (IANS) Elderly Buddhist monk the Dalai Lama, revered by millions across the globe as the living god, on Friday once again clarified that “he is in excellent health” at the age of 84 and he “is not in hurry to announce his reincarnation”.
His assertions came a day after a gathering of senior Tibetan religious leaders adopted a resolution, urging the Dalai Lama to reincarnate according to Tibetan traditions and declared that the Tibetans will never accept a spiritual leader appointed by China.
The resolution that emerged at the 14th Tibetan Religious Conference that concluded here also says the Dalai Lama alone has the authority to decide how his reincarnation will occur and that no government has the right to interfere in that sacred process.
The three-day conference, which brings together the heads of major Tibetan Buddhist and Bon traditions, began on Wednesday in Dharamsala, the exile home of the Dalai Lama.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner’s hour-long address in his Tibetan dialect at the conference was primarily focused on practicing more Buddhist traditions and advocating policies of non-violence.
He spoke briefly about his reincarnation and did not say when his successor will be chosen, a spokesperson for the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) told IANS.
Addressing the inaugural session of the Tibetan religious conference, once in three years, CTA President Lobsang Sangay slammed interference by China.
“China’s extreme hostility towards religious freedom in Tibet is totally unacceptable to us and likewise, we vehemently reject any advancement of China’s interferences in the process of the reincarnation system. If any, it should be for the Tibetans to decide and defend,” Sangay categorically said.
The Dalai Lama is currently on political retirement.
On March 14, 2011, the Dalai Lama wrote to the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, requesting it to relieve him of his temporal authority, since according to the charter of the Tibetans in exile, he was technically still the head of state.
He announced he was ending the custom by which the Dalai Lamas had wielded spiritual and political authority in Tibet.
Subsequently on May 29, 2011, the spiritual leader signed the document formally transferring his temporal authority to the democratically elected leader.
In so doing, he formally put an end to the 368-year-old tradition of the Dalai Lamas functioning as both the spiritual and temporal head of Tibet.
According to the Tibetan government-in-exile, China’s insistence on appointing the next Dalai Lama is just showcasing of power.
On China’s recent warning that India should not interfere in the process of appointing the next Dalai Lama, the Dharamsala-based CTA said the Chinese functionaries were in the habit of issuing forewarnings just to keep the issue alive.
The CTA said the Dalai Lama himself has on several occasions asserted that the authority over his reincarnation rests solely upon himself.
“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.
Questioning the basis of China’s claim on the incarnation issue, Tibetan activist and poet Tenzin Tsundue 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.
On his birthday on July 6 this year, the Dalai Lama 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])