Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel laureate the 14th Dalai Lama Friday said he was “in good health” and thus there was no hurry for him to announce his “reincarnation”. The Dalai Lama was addressing over 200 Religious Heads (high Lamas) including heads of various monasteries across the globe and dignitaries of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) who have reached Dharamshala to attend the 14th Religious Conference from November 27-29 and discuss the issue of the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation.
In an hour-long address, while the spiritual head of Tibetans emphasised on the Buddhist practices and traditions, he also spoke about his reincarnation towards the end of his address.
Dalai Lama said, “Resolutions regarding my reincarnation have been adopted. But few years ago, I was in United States of America and I was asked about my reincarnation there. Then, I took off my spectacles and stated how do I look? What is the hurry for my reincarnation? Now, I am 84, but my health is good,” hinting that he was in good health and there was no hurry for his reincarnation.
A senior member of the CTA told The Indian Express that “His Holiness Dalai Lama had, a few years ago, said that he shall announce on his reincarnation plans either at the age of 84 or when he turns 90-year-old. The first Dalai Lama was the only one who had attained the age of 84 years, thus the incumbent one might have thought that he will decide on the reincarnation when he reaches the same age. But, since His Holiness today said that he was in good health, we are sure that he will live a long life and shall announce his reincarnation at the age of 90 years only”.
In the religious conference, which concluded today, all the Tibetan spiritual leaders unanimously passed a resolution that the decision of Dalai Lama’s reincarnation vests solely in him and he shall only decide about his reincarnation and the place and timing as well.
“The relationship between successive Dalai Lamas and the Tibetan people has been akin to that between head and neck, or, as it were, between the body and its shadow, and therefore never ever separable. Hence it is only to be expected that the tradition of the continuance of the lineage of the Dalai Lamas through successive reincarnations based on the Tibetan Buddhist tradition should remain for the sake of the Tibetan people,” the resolution adopted during the religious conference reads.
Titled as “Dharamshala Declaration”, the resolution added, “The Karmic bond between the Dalai Lamas and the Tibetan people have been inseparable 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 to His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama for the same – 1. 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 recognize and respect that candidate. 2. 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 be basic philosophy and tents of the Buddhadharma and originated in Tibet over 800 years ago.”
The conference, organised by Central Tibetan Administration’s Department of Religion and Culture focused on enabling extensive participation of the religious heads and other important figures of Tibetan Buddhism in the discussion and decision-making on the overarching significance of Tibetan tradition of recognising the reincarnation of scholarships with a particular emphasis on the discovery and recognition of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.
Before the spiritual heads passed this resolution in the religious conference, a Special General Meeting on Reincarnation that was held in Dharamshala on October 3 and attended by various heads of Tibetan community too passed a similar resolution and declared that the “exclusive right and the power regarding the discovery and recognition of reincarnations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama lies in His Holiness himself and the Gaden Podrang Trust of the Dalai Lama. And any effort being made by China via its Order No. 5 will be outrightly considered as invalid as per the resolution adopted”.
State Religious Affairs Bureau of Peoples Republic of China issued an Order No. 5 titled as “Measures on the Management of Reincarnation of Living Buddhas” in 2007, which stated that a “Reincarnation application must be filed by all the Buddhist temples in China before they are allowed to recognize individuals as Tulkus (reincarnated teachers)”.
In an interview to The Indian Express, on November 28, 2019, Dr. Lobsang Sangay, president of the Central Tibetan Administration, said, “Chinese wants to interfere in selecting the reincarnated Lamas. They are already selecting. They have already selected 300. Now, they say they have a list of 1300 that they have selected, given certificates as Lamas. So, the Communist Party is interfering in selecting the Lamas.”
The 14th religious conference and the resolution – Dharamshala Declaration – passed in it, is also being seen as a reply to Chinese Order No. 5.
While addressing the spiritual heads of four Tibetan sects, high Lamas and mediapersons, the Dalai Lama added, “Ahimsa (non-violence) and Karuna (compassion) are two great values preached in India for last so many centuries and are still very relevant at this age of modernity. We call ourselves Chela of our master India. We kept all these teachings of Nalanda tradition intact. We are reliable Chelas of our Guru India.”
Further describing Nalanda Buddhism in three categories, Dalai Lama said, “Buddhist science, Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist religion are three categories. We should emphasise on Buddhist science and philosophy as academic subject to serve the larger community. Buddhist religion is meant for Buddhist only.”
The three-day conference was attended by the heads and important figures of Tibetan Buddhist tradition including Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, Gaden Tri Rinpoche, Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, Kyabje Menri Trizin Rinpoche, Kyabje Tsurphu Gorshe Gyaltsab Rinpoche (Representative of Karmapa), Taklung Matrul Rinpoche (Representative of Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche), Namdroling Tulku Choedhar Rinpoche, Khenpo Ngedhon Tenzin (Representative of Gyalwang Drukchen), and Jonang Gyaltsab Rinpoche.
Other eminent representatives and Lamas from the Himalayan region, Khen Rinpoches (precious ones) of major Tibetan Buddhist institutes in exile, heads and members of Tibetan monastic institutes and representatives of Tibetan nunneries were present among the participants.