By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 29 November 2019
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama briefly talked about the contentious issue of his reincarnation during a gathering of 117 Tibetan Buddhist and native Tibetan Bon religious leaders and representatives in the exiled headquarters of the Tibetan Diaspora in McLeod Ganj.
He indicated that there’s “no hurry” to talk about his reincarnation. The Dalai Lama quipped: “I am fine physically and mentally — is there any hurry to talk about my reincarnation?”
Describing an event in the US a few years ago, the Dalai Lama said, “A journalist asked me about my reincarnation. I took off my glasses and asked him how do I look? Is there any hurry for my reincarnation?”
The 84-year-old Buddhist leader appeared healthy and cheerful, but was helped by his attendants to walk past the gathering due to age-related knee problems, as he was escorted to the closing ceremony of the three-day 14th Tibetan Religious Conference by the President of the Central Tibetan Administration Lobsang Sangay.
He has said on a number of occasions that his intuition was telling him that he will live up to 113 years. He said he will then consult his advisors to decide on his reincarnation when he turns 90.
China is expected to pick a different 15th Dalai Lama despite Tibetan opposition, a move seen by Tibetans as to legitimise its control over Tibet. It has created new rules to control the reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism.
The conference adopted the following three-point resolution on the first day of the conference on Wednesday (27 November):
- The Karmic bond between the Dalai Lamas and the Tibetan people being unbreakable and the present status of the Tibetan people being extremely critical, all Tibetans genuinely wish for the continuation of the Institution and Reincarnation of the Dalai Lama in the future. We therefore strongly supplicate His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama for the same.
- The authority of decision concerning the way and the manner in which the next reincarnation of the XIV Dalai Lama should appear solely rests with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama himself. No government or otherwise will have such authority. If the Government of the People’s Republic of China for political ends chooses a candidate for the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan people will not recognise and respect that candidate.
- Regarding the method of recognizing the future reincarnations of the Dalai Lama, the same unique Tibetan traditional method, which has been continuously used until now, will be followed. This method conforms to the basic philosophy and tenets of the Buddhadharma and originated in Tibet over 800 years ago.
In early October, exiled Tibetan leaders and activists unanimously adopted a similar resolution recognising that the decision of Dalai Lama’s reincarnation vests solely in him and only he shall make decisions about his reincarnation.