Reincarnation convention of Living Buddhas to be continued: expert on Xizang affairs
Published: Jun 29, 2023 10:46 PM
A press conference on Xizang issues on June 29, 2023. Photo: Xu Keyue/GT

A press conference on Xizang affairs on June 29, 2023. Photo: Xu Keyue/GT

After hundreds of years of development and evolution, the reincarnation convention of Living Buddhas has gradually formed a set of strict and serious religious rituals and historical customization, including the norm that "the reincarnation of the Living Buddhas must be approved by the central government" and "the successor must be searched within China," said senior Chinese experts on Xizang affairs.

On Thursday, the China Tibetology Research Center and the All-China Journalists Association jointly held a press conference with attendance of Chinese and foreign journalists. Experts on Xizang affairs pointed out that massive misinformation about Xizang is circulated in the Western world, but the fact is that the human rights progress in China's Xizang Autonomous Region is of epoch-making significance in the history of human rights progress in the world, and many other developing countries in the world are very interested in and want to learn from the achievements of Xizang as they face the task of getting rid of absolute poverty.

The reincarnation convention of Living Buddhas has always been a hot issue hyped by Western anti-China forces and the 14th Dalai Lama clique. In response to a question from a foreign journalist that whether the reincarnation convention of Living Buddhas will continue, Zhang Yun, a researcher with the China Tibetology Research Center, said the convention will continue to exist as this is a historical tradition and China's religious administration has also issued the Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism in 2007. The convention should not be changed or suspended by certain individuals, Zhang noted.

In recent years, given that the 14th Dalai Lama is getting old, the 14th Dalai Lama clique has published various absurd statements such as "stop reincarnation," "reincarnate as a foreigner" or "blonde woman." The US government even in late 2020 signed the so-called "Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020," which grossly interfered in China's internal affairs by claiming that "the person who reincarnates has sole legitimate authority" over where and how he or she takes rebirth and how that reincarnation is to be recognized and if there is a need for a 15th Dalai Lama to be recognized."

Zhang told the Global Times that the reincarnation convention of Living Buddhas originated in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and the influence of the central government in Chinese history over the convention has not been interrupted, but constantly strengthened. Successive central governments in Chinese history have issued relevant management measures with the development of the times and social progress. Among the core contents are "Living Buddha reincarnations must be approved by the central government" and "Living Buddhas are not allowed to be looked for outside the country." But now the Dalai Lama clique feels that this convention is useless to them or restricts them, so they do not want to recognize this convention, Zhang noted.

"The 14th Dalai Lama has claimed that he could reincarnate as a foreigner, a bee and others, treating the convention as a joke," Zhang criticized. "But this is a very serious matter, it is not up to any one person," Zhang stressed. He noted that the 14th Dalai Lama himself should abide by this convention. "We can't say that once a convention works against me, I will not recognize it," Zhang said.

To follow and improve this convention is very beneficial to the majority of Tibetan Buddhists and all aspects of society, the expert believes.

In the past, some Xizang residents, deceived by the 14th Dalai Lama, fled to India and some other countries, and many found themselves deceived after going abroad and returned to the motherland.

Zhang said that many of them found themselves unable to make a living, so they returned to China. After returning home, they found that with the rapid development of the domestic economy, it is very convenient for them to study sutras, and that domestic conditions in many aspects are better than abroad. So in recent years, such illegal escapes have been getting fewer and fewer with more and more residents realizing that the Dalai Lama clique is unpopular.

In response to Western media's frequent hypes that "1 million Tibetan children are forced to separate from their families" and accept "forced assimilation" in boarding schools in Xizang, Xiao Jie, deputy director at the Institute of Contemporary Studies of the China Tibetology Research Center, said that some organizations abroad seem to be very persistent about the figure of 1 million, and like to hype how 1 million people in Xinjiang are like this and 1 million people in Xizang are like that, apparently in a bid to grab attention. In fact, many Western media reports are full of misunderstandings about boarding schools in Xizang.

"Boarding schools in Xizang first of all fully respect wishes of the students and their families. And the school boarding is a fluid concept. For example, students can choose to live in school for this semester and choose not to live in the school next semester. Also, the proportion of students living on campus varies in different areas in Xizang," Xiao said.

Zhang stressed that boarding schools in Xizang and those in some Western countries are not the same given that in the history of the US and Canada some local boarding schools witnessed "Indian genocide."

The purpose of boarding schools in Xizang, which has a large area and small population, is to develop education in a balanced way, and many Xizang scholars and talents have come out of boarding schools, the expert said, noting that there is absolutely no such thing as "destroying Tibetan culture and persecuting children."