By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 3 October 2019
More than 300 Tibetan leaders and activists from around the world have gathered in their exile capital McLeod Ganj, India, for three days of brainstorming sessions to discuss their future.
Organised by the Cabinet and the Parliament-in-exile of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the meeting will discuss the Five-Fifty Vision, which is about the prospects of Tibet and the Tibetans for the next 50 years, and the historic bond between the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lamas.
Setting the tone for the discussion, CTA President Lobsang Sangay said that the Dalai Lamas have been tremendously valuable for the Tibetan people.
“It goes without saying that the Tibetan people want a next Dalai Lama, and therefore it would be important for all those attending this meeting to voice their views in this regard,” Sangay said.
The Dalai Lamas have ruled Tibet since 1642 after the 5th Dalai Lama was accorded both temporal and spiritual authority over Tibet by the Mongol invader Gushir Khan. Since then the Dalai Lamas or his regents ruled Tibet.
The current 14th Dalai Lama, who escaped to India after the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959, ended the temporal rule by his lineage in 2011, and entrusted the political leadership to an elected leader.
The issue of the Dalai Lama’s succession tops China’s agenda today. Although an atheist government, it has been trying to meddle in the reincarnation process of the next Dalai Lama, with the motive of gaining full control of the Tibetan people. Reincarnation is a solely religious matter, however.
The Tibetan people have vehemently stood against Chinese rule, but any sign of dissent is met with violent crackdown.
Talks have taken place between the envoys of the Dalai Lama and the representatives of Beijing over the last few decades, but China has attempted to reduce the question of Tibet to a discussion of the Dalai Lama’s personal status. No concrete results have been produced, and the last round of talks was held in 2010. Since then the status quo has remained.
Speaker of the exile Parliament Pema Jungney, quoting the Dalai Lama, said that any future Dalai Lama recognised by other than Tibetans for political reasons shall not be accepted by the Tibetan people.
A declaration is likely to come out at the end of the three-day sessions, announcing that the Tibetan people would like to have a 15th Dalai Lama when the current, who at 84 shows excellent health, passes away. They may denounce the Chinese government for meddling in the issue of reincarnation, which is a traditional and spiritual matter of Tibetan people.
The declaration may then be submitted to the Dalai Lama when the 345 delegates from 24 different countries meet with him on Sunday.
The reincarnation issue of HH The Dalai Lama is an extremely important issue owing to the fact that our own legitimacy as the representative Government of the Tibetan people is under attack. Having alienated the Tibetan people through their brutal occupation and premeditated destruction of Tibetan Buddhism, they have now found that the only way to regain the trust and good will of the Tibetan people to their cause is to highjack the 15th Dalai Lama! While we can assume that such acts of spiritual vandalism may not succeed, we can’t remain complacent to the diabolical attempts of the CCP. There is much at stake for us just as the Chinese have realised it is for them. It is the Dalai Lama’s presence in exile that has kept the hopes of the Tibetan people alive despite the savagery of the occupation. We received legitimacy as the voice of the Tibetan people owing to the Dalai Lama’s leadership in exile. If the exiles have no iconic figure who commands the respect of ALL Tibetans like the Dalai Lama, will the Tibetans inside Tibet continue to hold to their hope of Tibet’s redemption is questionable. As it were, the very legitimacy of the Tibetan Exile Government would be threatened. Such development will severely handicap our capacity to sustain and win continued support for our cause. Therefore, we must do everything to make sure that the CCP’s sinister attempt to delegitimise the Tibetan Movement by highjacking the 15th reincarnation must be resisted with all our might. The US Government has made a significant gesture which is most welcome and hopefully other Governments also make similar declarations or endorsements in the future. Dharamshala must make sure that the reincarnation of the The great 14th Dalai Lama is safely in the hands Tibetan people supported by the world.
I apologize if I misunderstood, but I have had the impression that it is not impossible for HH the Dalai Lama to choose his successor now and grant apprenticeship – the best recognition of future Dalai Lama.