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a born-again koan

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 21, 2007

Much as I sympathize with him, and commend his practical political insight, I question how the Dalai Lama can choose his own successor.

Sure, it makes sense for him to make the choice, rather than leave the decision in the hands of unsympathetic Communist bureaucrats in Beijing. Smart move. But...

If I understand properly, the man known to us as the Dalai Lama is in fact believed by his followers to be the 13th reincarnation of the original Dalai Lama, who died in 1474. In the past, each time the Dalai Lama has died, monks in Tibet have spent the next year or two locating the young man to whom the illustrious soul has allegedly migrated. Aided by modern means of transportation and communication, I can readily see how they might cut down on that response time. But how can the Dalai Lama be reincarnated in some young Tibetan John Doe, while still fully occupying the body of the current title-holder?

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 21, 2007 2:52 PM ET USA

    Unfortunately for Buddhists, this is the equivalent of the Pope saying that the Resurrection was not an actual event. I don't think the "spiritual" people who despise Western culture and look to the Orient for inspiration understand the import of this statement. It is very sad indeed that the perceived need to "save" the Tibetan culture from communism comes at the cost of abrogating a central tenet of its culture. IMHO, Beijing wins in the longer term if HH The Dalai Lama makes this move.