Top Tibet official blasts Dalai

By Li Qian and Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-10 0:18:01

Ending reincarnation ‘blasphemous,’ door for talks open


Gyaincain Norbu, the 11th Panchen Lama and member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), attends the plenary session of the CPPCC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. Photo: AP

A top Tibetan official blasted the Dalai Lama's recent remarks that the Tibetan Buddhism tradition of reincarnation should cease with his death, adding that such claims are blasphemy against Tibetan Buddhism.

Padma Choling, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress, also stressed that the door for dialogue with the 14th Dalai Lama is "always open," but how the dialogue would be held and what to discuss totally depended on the Dalai Lama's attitude.

The Dalai Lama, 80, who has reportedly been struggling with illnesses in recent years, said in December that his traditional religious role should cease with his death.

According to Tibetan Buddhism tradition, the soul of a senior lama is reincarnated in the body of a child upon his death.

The reincarnation of the Dalai Lama should follow strict historical conventions and required Tibetan Buddhist religious rituals, Padma Choling said.

"It's not up to the Dalai Lama," he noted.

"He himself followed strict religious rituals and historic conventions and was approved by the then Kuomintang central government before he could enter Tibet from Qinghai Province to be enthroned in Lhasa. It was impossible for him to become the 14th Dalai Lama without the endorsement of the central government," Padma Choling told the media during a panel discussion by the Tibetan delegation as part of the National People's Congress in Beijing.

"What he said is blasphemy against Tibetan Buddhism," the official said.

The Dalai Lama's remarks are often used by the West against China, which has become his way to draw media attention. There has been a dialogue mechanism organized by the United Front Work Department to communicate with the Dalai Lama, said Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethnic studies with the Minzu University of China in Beijing.

"Padma Choling's response shows China's position on this issue - that we welcome dialogue and his return, on the condition that the Dalai Lama abandons his separatist activities and remarks," Xiong told the Global Times.

Qin Yongzhang, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told the Global Times that by religious tradition, the central government has the authority over the reincarnation and the 14th Dalai Lama would not be pleased to lose this initiative to the central government.

"The reincarnation system that has lasted for the past five centuries is never just a religious affair, nor is it a personal affair for the 14th Dalai Lama. Tibetan Buddhists are not just faithful to a specific Dalai Lama. Instead, they are believers of the Buddhism reincarnation mechanism," Qin noted.

"Ending the reincarnation would be self-denial for the Dalai Lama as doing so would mean abandonment of history and religious traditions," Qin said.

In January, 15 Tibetan officials were disciplined for colluding with the Dalai Lama after an inspection team from the Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection found the anti-separatist situation in Tibet to be "grave."

Wu Yingjie, vice secretary of the Communist Party of China Tibet Commission, warned on Monday at the panel discussion of the Tibet delegation of officials whose belief is not firm enough in the battle against separatism.

This year is expected to be eventful for Tibet. In September, China will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region. As an inland region with acute conditions of development, Tibet has been struggling to develop its economy and improve people's livelihood.

Tibet has been working on plans to adapt itself to the national scheme of the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road, and the autonomous region has unique advantages, said Lobsang Jamcan, Chairman of the government of Tibet Autonomous Region.

With a long border with India and Nepal, Tibet is on a frontline of building a "commodity passageway" to South Asia via the land route with infrastructure as a key part, said the chairman.

The regional government is also planning to extend the railway to border towns, and connect the railways in Tibet with those in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.

"Tibet has been relying on tourism as its pillar industry, which is still in its formative stage. Serving as a commodity passageway, Tibet will help fuel the economic growth of West China, as there is a huge demand in the neighboring South Asian countries," Zhaluo, another expert with CASS, told the Global Times on Monday.

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