Tibetan Buddhists are faced with the unusual possibility that after the death of the current Dalai Lama, the 14th reincarnation, the Chinese government will want to appoint a successor who is different from the successor found by Tibetan religious leaders. The current Dalai Lama proposes that a new process of selection may be introduced, including finding a successor who is not Tibetan, who is a woman, or who is alive before the Dalai Lama dies. In the past religious leaders selected the new Dalai Lama in Tibet by finding his reincarnation through various rituals and practices. Chinese officials argue that they must approve the selection to ensure that the new Dalai Lama is subject to traditional, historical processes and is sympathetic to the communist government. In the past the government has refused to recognize Tibetan leadership’s appointment of other incarnations of significant figures in Tibetan Buddhism, installing their own choices instead. Read more here.
The Dalai Lamas and State Power
By Derek F. Maher , East Carolina University
(Vol. 2, January 2007)
Labrang Monastery: Tibetan Buddhism on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier
By Paul K. Nietupski , John Carroll University
(Vol. 3, May 2008)