The Tibetan government-in-exile has sought India’s support on this issue of the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation.
New Delhi: The Tibetan government-in-exile based in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, has rejected the suggestion that the next Dalai Lama should be chosen with the consent and involvement of the Chinese government. In an exclusive interview to this newspaper, a senior official of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said that lamas are born in places where they have the freedom to carry out their tasks without any hindrance, and China is a “repressive” state which does not allow that freedom.
“As said by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a lama is reincarnated on his free will to fulfill the incomplete task of the former. So, the reincarnated lama should be born in a place where he is free to complete the task. If he is born in a repressive country, where he cannot contribute, then the very purpose of the reincarnation is lost. The current Chinese regime is repressive and against religion. A Dalai Lama selected by the regime won’t be accepted by Tibetans and the freedom-loving international community,” Tsewang Gyalpo Arya, secretary of the CTA’s department of information and international relations, told this newspaper. He added that there was be no possibility of the next Dalai Lama living in Tibet at present. “If the situation in Tibet remains unchanged, there is no such possibility. His Holiness has said this clearly,” Mr Arya said.
This comes in response to the recent controversy stoked by the statements of a Chinese official and a member of Beijing-based think tank China Tibetology Research Centre, who told a group of visiting Indian journalists that China will reject any reincarnation of the Dalai Lama born among Tibetan exiles in India or elsewhere.
They also said China expects India not to recognise any successor of the Dalai Lama chosen by the Tibetan government-in-exile, and who is not endorsed by China, adding this will trigger a major political issue between the two countries. They further said that historically the Chinese government has played a leading role in picking the Dalai Lama, and a reincarnation of the present Dalai Lama had to be decided by choosing names from the Golden Urn. They added without China’s recognition, the Dalai Lama does not have any legal status.
Rejecting China’s role in issues relating to the Tibetan faith and choosing the next Dalai Lama, the top CTA official said: “China has no role in selection of the Dalai Lama. Historically, the Manchu Qing dynasty came only in 1644, the Chinese Republic in 1912, and the PRC in October 1949. But the history and institution of the Dalai Lama started when the first Dalai Lama was born in 1391, and his reincarnation was selected in 1475.”
“A Dalai Lama picked by the Chinese will not be accepted not only by Tibetans, but by all Buddhists along the Himalayan borders in India, Nepal, Mongolia, China and devotees around the world,” Mr Arya added.
Tibetans living outside China say that in case China tries to meddle in the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, nobody will recognise him, as happened with the Panchen Lama.
The Tibetan government-in-exile has sought India’s support on this issue of the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. “India should urge the Chinese leadership not to interfere in this spiritual domain of Buddhist. The concept of past and future lives is very sacred to the Buddhist and Hindu religion. Communist China trying to profane this belief will not be tolerated by believers around the world. This message should be conveyed to China for their sake,” Mr Arya said.
India has so far maintained a distance from the religious issues of Tibetans in India and that of the Dalai Lama’s successor, saying it was a matter of religion and of sentiments, in which the Indian government was in no way going to get involved.
The Chinese in May this year rejected an initiative by US ambassador Terry Branstad to engage Beijing in a dialogue with the present Dalai Lama to resolve their differences.