His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Saturday said he will begin holding meetings with senior lamas from this year to discuss the issue of reincarnation. Speaking to reporters about the institution of the Dalai Lama, he said, “In 1969, I left it on the people to decide whether the institution of Dalai Lama should continue,” adding that due to the problem in Tibet, the issue is “very sensitive”. The 81-year-old spiritual leader had earlier said he will begin discussions on the issue only when he turns 90. He added that he will include Mongolian devotees in his discussions. The Dalai Lama arrived in Tawang on Friday, after his visit was delayed due to bad weather. He is expected to hold close-door talks with senior lamas at the Tawang monastery on various issues.
He further added: “Whether the Chinese government admits it or not, there’s a problem. The Chinese people have every right to know the reality about the Dalai Lama.” The Dalai Lama is against the Chinese government’s intrusion in the decision of his successor. Tibetan Buddhists believe that after the death of a Dalai Lama, he is reincarnated as a child who is chosen as his successor.
The Dalai Lama on Saturday also spoke about the disputed Tibetan region. “We have 1,000 articles written by Chinese scholars that show the Chinese people support the middle-way approach,” he said, referring to a policy to achieve autonomy for Tibetans while living within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. “We just want to protect out culture and our language,” he added.
Earlier in the day while addressing the people of Tawang, the Dalai Lama had left it up to his followers to decide whether the position of a Dalai Lama should exist after him, reported PTI. Denying knowledge of where his successor may be born, he added that it ‘might’ also be a woman.
On a different note, he described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an ‘active’ leader, and recalled meeting him during his tenure as the Gujarat chief minister. He also spoke of senior BJP leader L K Advani, calling him a ‘great friend’. He remembered sending Advani, who has a sweet tooth, chocolates.
The Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh has been met with stiff resistance from China. China considers Arunachal a disputed region and claims parts of the state are southern Tibet. Ahead of his visit to the state, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said it will cause ‘serious damage’ to bilateral ties with India.
“India in disregard to China’s concerns obstinately arranged the Dalai Lama’s visit to the disputed part of the eastern part of China-India border causing serious damage to China’s interests and China-India relations,” she was quoted by news agency PTI. The country said it will take necessary action to protect its territorial sovereignty.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju responded to China’s threats last week saying it should not interfere with India’s internal affairs.