Tibetan Buddhist monks from around the world are gearing up to discuss whether the aging Dalai Lama should reincarnate — and, if he does, then how to prevent Beijing from claiming that Tibet’s next spiritual leader will reincarnate in China.The monks had been scheduled to congregate in the Himalayas of northern…to deliberate on the issue at the 13th Religious Conference on Tibetan Buddhism beginning Thursday (Nov. 29), but the three-day meeting was called off after a high-ranking Tibetan monk, Kathok Getse Rinpoche, died on Nov. 19.New dates are yet to be announced for the conference in Dharamshala, where the 83-year-old Dalai Lama and his followers have lived in exile since 1959, but the monks are prepared to deliberate on the steps, interpreted from ancient Buddhist texts, to recognize the reincarnated body if their spiritual leader decides to continue the office after his death. Tibetan Buddhists believe that karma directs a person’s reincarnation, but those who have achieved enlightenment can direct their own path, choosing the body of their rebirth.
In a major departure from 369 years of tradition, the 14th Dalai Lama relinquished all political power in 2011 to the Central Tibetan Administration... The move came four years after China’s atheist government decreed that all reincarnations of living Buddhas have to be approved by Beijing given that Tibet is officially part of China.
In 2011, the Dalai Lama also said preparations to determine how his successor would be found wouldn’t happen until he reached 90, in 2025, when he would first consult with Tibetan Buddhist authorities about whether to even continue the Dalai Lama institution. But then last year, the Dalai Lama said the process would begin as soon as 2018. He has in recent years mentioned that perhaps he would not reincarnate.
“There is no guarantee that some stupid Dalai Lama won’t come next, who will disgrace himself or herself,” the Dalai Lama told BBC in 2014. “That would be very sad. So, much better that a centuries-old tradition should cease at the time of a quite popular Dalai Lama.”
[TBC: In the August 2008 newsletter we wrote: We're told that Tibetan Buddhism may be beyond the ability of the Western mind to understand. That's an understatement: its utter complexity, contradictions, and confusion have no geographical boundaries….This man with the winning smile is a shaman. He refers to himself as a simple monk, although we're told he is a god-king, and he, like the pope, is to be addressed as "His Holiness." He mediates between humans and spirit beings, of which there are a multitude of varieties, from those who are considered helpful, to those who are unspeakably evil and malicious. The life of the average Tibetan is one of continually seeking rituals of appeasement directed at these nonphysical beings who play havoc with them by bringing about sickness, poverty, crop failure, livestock deaths, ignorance, possession, insanity, and so forth. No matter what philosophical or psychological spin the Dalai Lama puts on his theology and practices for his American audiences, the Bible clearly teaches that he is trafficking with demons and "the god of this world," Satan himself (2 Corinthians:4:4).]