Reincarnation of “Living Buddhas” in Modern Chinese Legislation

Reincarnation of “Living Buddhas” in Modern Chinese Legislation

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Tibetan uprising. On March 10, 1959, a revolt erupted in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, which finally resulted in the flight of the 14th and current Dalai Lama. In the northern Indian town of Dharamshala, the Dalai Lama, the most important spiritual leader for many Tibetan Buddhists, established a Tibetan government-in-exile that still exists today.

Recently, the Dalai Lama accepted an exclusive interview with Reuters, where he once again talked about the issue of his potential successor — the most sensitive topic for the Tibetan government-in-exile as well as for the Chinese government.

During the interview, the 83-year-old Dalai Lama told Reuters that it was possible that once he dies, his reincarnation could be found in India, where he has lived in exile for 60 years. Read more (…

Attempts to control the tulku institution in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have started long ago. According to some data, only from 1991 to 2007 about 1,000 “living Buddhas” were “confirmed” by the government on Tibetan territories divided between the Tibetan Autonomous Region and provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan. Official agencies of thePRC stated that this was done for satisfaction of the followers’ needs of these “living Buddhas” and “based on past and present experience, thorough investigation, opinions from various circles and respect for the ways of living Buddhas’ succession”, which “is bound to have significant impact on standardizing governance on living Buddha reincarnation, protecting people’s religious freedom, maintaining the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism and the building of a harmonious society” Read more (PDF)…

The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation

The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of ReincarnationIn The Fourteen Dalai Lamas, author Glenn H. Mullin distinctly brings to life the tale and succession of all 14 Dalai Lamas in one volume for the first time. The book contains a chapter on each Dalai Lama (except Dalai Lamas 9-12, who are covered in a single episode). Each section features an illustration of the Dalai Lama who is the subject of that chapter. Mullin has also included exclusive excerpts from the Dalai Lamas’ teachings, poetry, and other writings that illuminate the principles of Tibetan Buddhism expressed in their lives.

The 14th Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetans in exile, is well-known, but the 600-year tradition to which he is an heir is less familiar. From the birth of the first Dalai Lama in a cowshed in 1391, each subsequent Dalai Lama has been the reincarnation of his predecessor, choosing to take up the burdens of human life for the benefit of the Tibetan people. For almost six centuries, the Dalai Lamas have served as the Tibetans’ spiritual leader and have held secular power for nearly half that time. All the Dalai Lamas are revered as incarnations of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist deity of compassion, but each has been a unique individual with different abilities and temperaments.

Over the ages, various Dalai Lamas have been poets, statesmen, builders, philosophers; most have been disciplined monastics, but one was a lover of women. The potential of some was tragically lost when their lives were cut short, possibly the victims of political intrigue, while others lived long enough to shape entire eras of Tibetan history.

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