China: No reincarnation without permission
Give the Chinese government credit: when they aim, they aim big.
In what has been described as one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission.
According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month, strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate.
It is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation,” according to the statement.
However, it would appear much more is at work here than simply “institutionalizing the management of reincarnation,” even if such a thing were possible, according to The Huffington Post.
“But beyond the irony lies China’s true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region’s Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country,” the Internet publication writes.
“By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering,” The Huffington Post adds.
The Dalai Lama, is and has lived in India since 1959. He is planning his succession and says that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it’s under Chinese control.
“Assuming he’s able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks,” Huffington Post writes.
“It will be a very hot issue,” says Paul Harrison, a Buddhism scholar at Stanford. “The Dalai Lama has been the prime symbol of unity and national identity in Tibet, and so it’s quite likely the battle for his incarnation will be a lot more important than the others.”
The blog Questions and Observations says the entire affair underscores an important point: “The Chinese communists surface very visibly every now and then as if to remind everyone that China is far from a free country.
“And, in such a totalitarian country, no detail is too small for the government to ignore … even something in which it likely doesn’t even believe.”
(HT: Coyote Blog)