By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 30 November 2019
Buddhists from the Himalayan region expressed their support for the ‘Dharamshala Declaration’ — a three-point resolution passed by the Tibetan clergy calling upon the Dalai Lama to continue with his lineage — and recognises that it will be his sole right to decide his reincarnation.
A three-day gathering of Tibetan religious leaders and monks and nuns from Buddhist as well as the native Tibetan Bon religious tradition, that ran from 27 to 29 November in the heart of the Tibetan Diaspora in McLeod Ganj, unanimously passed the resolution that opposed any interference in selecting the next Dalai Lama.
Members attending the religious conference resolved: “No government or otherwise can 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 or respect that candidate.”
Lamas and representatives of the Himalayan region from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, including Nepal, who were also in attendance, convened a meeting on the sidelines of the conference to craft their resolution expressing support of the Tibetan declaration.
“At a time when the religion and culture in the Himalayan region is passing through a difficult phase, we the people Buddhist of the Himalayan region unanimously urge for the continuation of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama,” the resolution in Tibetan said.
They have expressed full support as the Dalai Lama’s authority to decide on his reincarnation. “In case China interferes in order to serve their own political ends, the Himalayan Buddhists will reject any reincarnation imposed by China.”
It was also stated in the resolution that the Himalayan Buddhists support that the traditional and historical practice in selecting the next incarnation may be followed as suggested by the Tibetans.
The Himalayan Buddhists announced their support for the Dharamshala Declaration during a press conference on 29 November on the sidelines of the Tibetan Religious Conference, which was 14th in a series held every three years.
Eleven representatives from Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nepal attended the press conference, which was led by Jangchup Choeden, ex-Abbot of Ganden Shartse Monastery and Executive Director of Geluk International Foundation. He is a native of Garsha, a small village in Lahaul district in Himachal Pradesh.
The resolution was passed by 15 prominent trans-Himalayan Buddhist leaders, including Head of Thiksay Monastery, Thiksay Rinpoche Nawang Chamba Stanzin from Ladakh; Head of Drikung Kagyu lineage, Togdan Rinpoche from Ladakh; Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche from Spiti; Abbot of Gomang Monastery, Lobsang Gyaltsen from Ladakh; Abbot of Gyuto Monastery, Geshe Thupten Tenzin from Spiti; Abbot of Ganden Shartse Monastery, Jangchup Sangay from Nepal; Abbot of Tawang Monastery, Gyabung Rnpoche from Kinnaur; Lama of Tse Chok Ling Monastery, Tenzin Gelek from Sikkim.
Replying to a question from this journalist regarding the Indian government’s stand on the reincarnation issue, Lama Chosphel Zotpa from Ladakh said, “We have confidence that the Government of India understands our sentiments, and will give its support for the Tibetan choice of the next Dalai Lama that we support.”
Updated with names of some of the trans-Himalayan Buddhist leaders on 1 December 2019 at 11:20 am.