Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said no recognition or acceptance would be given to Dalai Lama appointed by the Chinese government for political ends and Tibetan would only recognise reincarnation recognised through legitimate methods.
In a statement, Dalai Lama remarked on the irony of Chinese attempts to seek to recognise his reincarnation and said it ‘is particularly inappropriate for Chinese communists, who explicitly reject even the idea of past and future lives.
Let alone the concept of reincarnate Tulkus, to meddle in the system of reincarnation and especially the reincarnations of the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas.’
He further said in no uncertain terms that “apart from the reincarnation recognised through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in China.”
A Tibetan government-in-exile official said during the period of 629-869, Buddhism from India was adopted in Tibet and the reincarnation system was adopted in the 13th century with the birth of ‘Tulku’ system. (Tulkus are considered principal standard-bearers of Tibetan Buddhist traditions and provide social and spiritual guidance for both ordained and laity and they are considered to be the reincarnation of Buddha.)
“The tradition of reincarnation is rooted in a Buddhist belief system wherein all sentient beings are bound through a cycle of birth and death. The cycle is broken when through rigorous training and practice one could attain enlightenment,” the official said.
Among the incarnation lineages recognized in the period, two incarnations became particularly significant and revered in Tibet. The Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Lamas are regarded by Tibetans as the ‘sun and moon’ owing to the special spiritual bond they share and their interchangeable role as teacher and disciple.
The Tashilhunpo monastery that was founded by the first Dalai Lama, Gendun Drupa (1391-1474) in 1447 and also was its first abbot, started this system.
But China since 1949 has tried to meddle into the affairs of Tibetan after the government developed its religious policy and the government purged tenth Panchen Lama, one of the towering figures in Tibet, criticizing the government’s policies in Tibet. After his death in 1989, the search for his reincarnation was pursued in Tibet with the list of probable candidates.
When the Dalai Lama made his choice and declared on 15 May 1995 that Gendun Choekyi Nyima had been recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama. This declaration was sharply rebuked by the Chinese government and declared it illegal and invalid. On 17 May 1995, the authorities abducted the child and his family.
Chadrel Rinpoche who led the search party for the reincarnation and his assistant Jampa Chung were then arrested and handed six-year and four-year sentences respectively for selling state secrets and colluding with separatist forces abroad.
Six months after his abduction, China announced that it had selected a Tibetan boy named Gyaltsen Norbu and he is currently being promoted by the government.
However, little is known about the fate and current state of the candidate that was declared by Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the tenth Panchen Lama.
“China has in the last few decades have strengthened control over religious institutions with party cadres effectively controlling these institutions. With the introduction of new measures, all reincarnating lamas must now seek approval of the state,” the official added.