Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has mocked China’s Communist Party for “pretending” to know more about reincarnation than he does.
“The Chinese Communist Party is pretending that they know more about the reincarnation system than the Dalai Lama,” the Dalai Lama told the New York Times in an interview, laughing.
“The Chinese Communists should accept the concept of rebirth. Then they should recognize the reincarnation of Chairman Mao Zedong, then Deng Xiaoping. Then they have the right to involve themselves in the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation.”
The Dalai Lama hinted that he would hold some kind of referendum among Tibetan exiles, and consultations among Tibetans within China, about whether a new Dalai Lama should succeed him, the newspaper said.
He said the issue will be formally resolved around his 90th birthday.
Tibetans fear that the Chinese government will use the issue of the Dalai Lama’s succession to split Tibetan Buddhism, with one new Dalai Lama named by exiles and one by government after his death, according to Reuters.
Tibetan Buddhism holds that the soul of a senior lama is reincarnated in the body of a child on his death. China says the tradition must continue and it must approve the next Dalai Lama.
But the Dalai Lama has said he may be the last of the line, or that the next Dalai Lama might emerge outside Tibet — or might even be a girl.
Chinese officials insist that the government must approve the next Dalai Lama and the current Dalai Lama has no right to abandon reincarnation.
China, which regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist, has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since Communist troops took over the region in 1950, the news agency said.
The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.
In 1995, after the Dalai Lama named a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama, the second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, China put the boy under house arrest and installed another in his place.
Many Tibetans spurn the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama as a fake.
The Dalai Lama praised Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, the Times said.
He also said Xi’s mother was “very religious, a very devout Buddhist”, and noted Xi himself had spoken positively of Buddhism.
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