Dalai Lama's Reincarnation: China claims it will choose the successor

13 Apr 2017 | Written by Ramya Patelkhana; Edited by Gogona Saikia

China said it will traditionally select the next Dalai Lama by drawing lots from a sacred urn at Lhasa's Dachau Temple.

China dismissed the current Dalai Lama's assertion that it cannot choose the successor.

Responding to queries about the monk's comments made in Tawang, China's Foreign Ministry said the Dalai Lama's reincarnation had lasted for centuries and the process followed religious rituals and rules.

In context: Question of the next Dalai Lama

IntroductionWho is the Dalai Lama?

The Dalai Lama is a monk of the newest Tibetan Buddhism School founded by Je Tsongkhapa called Gelug.

The Dalai Lama is an important figure of Gelug tradition and a symbol of Tibet's unification.

He is considered to be the successor of Tulkus, who are believed to be incarnations of Avalokitesvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion.

Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th and current Dalai Lama.

Dalai LamaTenzin Gyatso was formally enthroned in 1950

The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso advocates Tibet's independence and other causes.

He was formally enthroned in November 1950, during the Battle of Chamdo with the People's Republic of China.

During a revolt in 1959, he fled to India and led a government in exile.

He said Tibet wants to be part of China but China should let Tibet preserve its culture and script.

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The Dalai Lama's successor

According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, when the Dalai Lama is aged around 90 he will decide in conjunction with other Buddhist leaders whether a successor (his reincarnation) should take on the role of being the 15th Dalai Lama.
China has no role in identifying the successor

SuccessorChina has no role in identifying the successor

When the time for Dalai Lama's week-long visit to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh in April was approaching, the question of his successor gained prominence.

He said China has no role in identifying the successor as they were atheists who don't believe in religion.

He added nobody knows where his successor will be born and the matter would be discussed before the end of 2017.

ReincarnationDalai Lama's soul reincarnates in the body of a child

In the past, spiritual leaders turned to visions/oracles to lead them to a child born just as the previous Dalai Lama died.

The method would leave Tibetan Buddhists without a leader for a year giving China a chance to promote its own candidate.

The current Dalai Lama hinted he may opt for a nontraditional process by selecting a successor when he is alive.

China's WorryWhy is China worried about Dalai Lama's Tawang visit?

As Dalai Lama's arrival in Tawang grew closer, Chinese statements turned aggressive, warning India the visit would hamper Sino-Indian ties.

Aging lamas have visited places where they would be reincarnated; China was worried the Tawang visit fell into the same pattern.

It reminded China that it may not select the successor or have control over the disputed area, where the next reincarnation may occur.

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13 Apr 2017Dalai Lama's Reincarnation: China claims it will choose the successor

ApprovalSelection of the successor needs approval from China

Chinese Foreign Ministry said the selection of the next Dalai Lama needs approval from the Chinese Government too, according to a 1793 rule.

It said the Living Buddha's reincarnation is a unique way of Tibetan Buddhism inheritance and China adopts religious freedom, including respecting and protecting Tibetan Buddhism.

It, however, added China issued Regulation on Religious Affairs and Management Rules of Tibetan Buddhism Reincarnation.

22 May 2017Dalai would himself pick his successor, probably soon: Taiwanese President

President of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay, said the Dalai Lama would himself pick his successor, probably "soon".

"(The next Dalai) can come through reincarnation, selection or emanation," he said, asserting China has no say on the matter.

He also termed the possible selection of his successor by Beijing "illegitimate".

The current Dalai, 81, had said he would decide on his successor at 90.