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Not thinking of succession plan yet, says Dalai Lama

Not thinking of succession plan yet, says Dalai Lama


Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

Dharamsala, June 17

Keeping everyone guessing on who will be his successor, the 14th Dalai Lama on Monday said he was not “thinking” about reincarnation—a process to appoint the next Dalai Lama.

Must help people

I am not thinking of reincarnation (a process to appoint the next Dalai Lama). The important thing is as long as I am alive, I should use my energies to help as many people as I can. The Dalai Lama

Meanwhile, developments are being closely followed by Tibetans as the Dalai Lama is leading a fight seeking autonomy from China, which is trying to meddle in the appointment of a successor.

Speaking to a select group of mediapersons from Delhi, the Dalai Lama, who turns 89 in July, was asked how the Tibetan community would maintain the sanctity of reincarnation. “I am not thinking of reincarnation. The important thing is as long as I am alive, I should use my energies to help as many people as I can,” he said.

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, headquartered in Dharamsala.

Reincarnation is a traditional Buddhist method of anointing a successor. Before dying, a Dalai Lama leaves hints as to where his rebirth will be. These hints are followed by a religious committee to trace the child who is supposed to have been born as the next Dalai Lama. The present Dalai Lama was selected in 1940 when he was five years old.

A senior official of the Central Tibetan Administration said, “His holiness (the Dalai Lama) has kept an element of surprise. He has maintained uncertainty since China is an unpredictable entity.”

For years, the Chinese government has claimed that the Dalai Lama’s eventual reincarnation must comply with the Chinese law, which ignores Tibetans’ history of selecting the Dalai Lama without foreign interference.

Tibetans want to keep China out. CTA spokesperson Tenzin Lekshey says, “The Chinese have never thought about Tibet, but only about themselves. Beijing has no legitimate right, and there was no need to consult them on the appointment of the next Dalai Lama.”

The US also wants to keep Beijing out of this selection process and it has even passed “The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020”. It makes it the official US policy that the Dalai Lama’s succession is a strictly religious issue that only he and his followers can decide on. India also wants to follow the wish of the Tibetans.

The issue of reincarnation is being debated as the Dalai Lama had said in the past: “When I am about 90, I will consult the high Lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public and other people concerned and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not. If it is decided that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama should continue, the Dalai Lama’s Gaden Phodrang Trust will trace his successor. The procedure of search and recognition of the next Dalai Lama has to be in accordance with the past tradition.

On being asked if he would be keen on visiting his home province Amdo in Tibet, the Dalai Lama on Monday said, “I am not thinking of Amdo, neither I feel anything like that.”

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