Chinese Anxiety over the Dalai Lama’s Reincarnation
China may be an up and coming superpower. It can boast that economically it has the world on its knees. However, this world power is powerless to do anything when the Dalai Lama expands on his future incarnations. Hence in recent times we see increasing signs of worry coming from Beijing.
In the first half of March alone, three Tibetan officials, Pema Thinlye,
Jampa Phuntsok and Shintsa Tenzin Choedak, have been used by China to voice this anxiety in different ways.
China understands the important historical, religious and cultural bond
between the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama. China also knows that its
adherence to atheism as a state policy puts it in a weak spot at trying to
control a very distinctly spiritual process like the reincarnation of the
Dalai Lama. At least the Manchu Emperors of the past, whom the present
Chinese rulers trace their lineage on this (to use a religious metaphor),
were in a better place because they themselves were patrons of Tibetan
Buddhism and even practiced it.
The Tibetan people in Tibet and outside have shown time and again that they know that the Dalai Lama has the welfare of the Tibetan people at his heart.
The strong bond between the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama is something that the Chinese Government sees as a threat to its existence. Therefore, attempts are being made to make the Tibetan people choose between the Communist Party or the Dalai Lama with enough hints being given to make the “right” choice.
Even though His Holiness is in good health and despite their own
holier-than-thou pretension about waiting until this Dalai Lama passes away before talking about his reincarnation, Chinese officials are trying to
claim their right to select the next Dalai Lama. Given that they only have a
political agenda, the Chinese authorities are placed in difficulty when the
Dalai Lama talks about his reincarnation the way he has been doing. They
are not able to accept the reality that it is the present Dalai Lama who
will be calling the shot as far as his reincarnation is concerned.
At the most the Chinese Government can do is to select their own politicized boy when the time comes. If that happens, the Chinese will have far more difficulty in getting the Tibetan people’s acknowledgement, leave alone reverence, to such a person unless it has direct or indirect endorsement by the present Dalai Lama. Also, spiritually the Dalai Lama’s followers are not only in Tibet but also in the Himalayan region, Mongolia as well as internationally where there are increasing practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. Even if the Chinese Government feels it can use political muscle to make the Tibetans in Tibet accept its selection, how would it hope to get the acceptance from these Buddhists who live in the free world.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that when the historical Buddha took birth in the
specific place and time as he did, he did so after taking into
considerations five congenial environmental factors. If the Chinese rulers
are really concerned about the next Dalai Lama they ought to look to
creating the proper spiritual environment. Vilification of the present Dalai
Lama is a wrong choice and will only serve China’s short-term political
interest without creating the necessary environment for a future Dalai Lama.