By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 5 October 2019
Exile Tibetans unanimously declared that any decisions on succession of the Dalai Lama will only be the prerogative of himself and his office, and opposed any other party meddling in the process.
The declaration was released at the end of the third Special General Meeting of the exile Tibetans convened by the administrative and legislative wings of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). Close to 350 leaders and activists participated in the three-day brainstorming session.
The delegates have appealed to the Dalai Lama to reincarnate to continue to guide the Tibetan people. This has reference to the Dalai Lama’s statement that whether the institution of the Dalai Lama continues or not depends entirely on the wishes of the Tibetan people.
In addition, the declaration said that the authority to decide his succession will rest only with the Dalai Lama and his office. No one else, whether a government, organisation, or individual, will have any role or power in the matter.
Beijing, on the other hand, insists that the reincarnation of any Tibetan lama, including the Dalai Lama, can only be approved by the Chinese government.
In 2007, China issued regulations to approve reincarnations of Tibetan lamas by the government; any other reincarnation would be declared invalid. Since then the Chinese government has said that the Dalai Lama does not have the right to alter the succession process, and must follow the “historical institutions and religious rituals of Tibetan Buddhism.”
CTA President Lobsang Sangay and Speaker of the exile Parliament Pema Jungney both expressed joy at the passing of unanimous resolutions in line with the aspirations of the Tibetan people — to have a continued lineage of the Dalai Lama.
Tibetans from various parts of the world — from Taiwan to even Ireland — participated in the meeting. Most of the delegates were from India, but very many also came from the US, European countries, and Nepal.
Member of Tibetan Parliament Mingyur Dorjee said, “The meeting has clearly shown the Tibetan people’s mandate, that we would like the continuation of the institution of the Dalai Lama.
“The meeting is significant because it has given a voice to the Tibetans in Tibet. We are the representatives of all the six million Tibetans, and tomorrow when we will meet the Dalai lama, we meet him on behalf of all Tibetans.”
Gonpo Dhondup, President of the largest exile organisation, the Tibetan Youth Congress, expressed a feeling of contentment at the convening of the meeting. “I feel that we have sent a strong message to the Chinese government that Tibetans are united, and our unanimous expression for the continuation of the lineage of the Dalai Lama is historic.
“Any Chinese interference in the selection of the next Dalai Lama will not have any legitimacy.”
Dhondup further said that it has been decided to urge the international community to support Tibetans regarding the succession issue, like the US government has shown support for the aspirations of the Tibetan people.
A bill introduced in the US Senate and House of Representatives, and likely to be signed into law, will make it official US policy to support the identification and installation of Tibetan lamas, including a future 15th Dalai Lama, as an exclusive right of the Tibetan people.
This legislation calls for sanctions on any Chinese official who interferes with Tibetan Buddhist succession practices, including potentially having their assets frozen and their entry to the US denied.
One of the attendees, Tsering Dolma, from Dublin, Ireland, speaking to Tibetan Sun said that her wishes were fulfilled. “I came with the idea to appeal for continuation of the Dalai Lama’s lineage, and I fully supported the idea that nobody will have the authority to recognise his reincarnation other than him and his office.”
The delegates will meet the Dalai Lama tomorrow to present the declarations.