Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview
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Chinese government disputes Dalai Lama on reincarnation

September 11, 2014

The Chinese government has reacted sharply to the Dalai Lama’s comment that he might be the last in the long line of Tibetan Buddhist leaders.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that the Dalai Lama is continually reincarnated. But the current Dalai Lama told a German interviewer that his spirit would not be reborn in Tibet while the land remains under Chinese control. The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959, frequently protesting the Chinese rule over Tibet that was imposed in 1950.

Now that the 79-year-old Tibetan leader has raised questions about his reincarnation, the Chinese government insists that he must adhere to the Tibetan tradition, under which the government recognizes a new Dalai Lama. Since Beijing now controls Tibet, the Chinese regime claims that right, insisting that it is a matter of “set religious procedure and historic custom.”

The Dalai Lama, for his part, says that Tibetan Buddhism could survive without a reincarnation of his spirit. He also suggested that his spirit might be divided among several or many believers.

In 1995, the Dalai Lama recognized a 6-year-old Tibetan boy as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, the 2nd-most revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism. Claiming that the choice was politically motivated, the Chinese government prompted placed the boy under house arrest, and appointed another young man as the Panchen Lama.


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  • Posted by: Defender - Sep. 12, 2014 1:51 AM ET USA

    This is how the Chinese address all religions in their country and of Tibet, which they invaded in 1950. It's laughable, isn't it? A communist government trying to speak with authority about religion?