Dalai Lama retiring as leader of Tibet

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/10/india.dalai.lama/index.html?hpt=T2

Maybe he can join Palin and get a show on TLC or a job at Fox news.

He’s retiring as the political leader. He’ll still do the spiritual leader thing.

Presumably, he’s trying to transition the Tibetans to a non-religious political leadership, so that when he dies and the Chinese appoint a puppet child Dalai Lama a few years later, there will be a separate leadership structure available.

Didn’t the Dalai Lama already choose a successor outside of Chinese control (an anti-Lama?)

Looking at wikipedia, I was half right. Both the Dali Lama and the Chinese gov’t have chosen competing successors (or the Lamas that will choose the successors, anyways). But the Dali Lama’s choice was apparently inside Tibet and has since been disappeared by the gov’t.

Which seems like kind of a predictable outcome, you’d think the current Lama would’ve been smart enough to choose some kid outside of the reach of the Chinese.

The person who disappeared in China was the Panchen Lama. That is a separate job.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gedhun_Choekyi_Nyima

He has said in the past he might be the last Dalai Lama, the Tibetan people will decide whether or not they will have another.

I think we just found Charlie’s replacement.

Damnit, lost my post.

Long story short, the Dalai Lama has been modernizing the Tibetan Government in Exile almost since he fled to India in 1959. The democratization moves have gone on for decades. Obviously, as the big guy is getting on in years, he is preparing for an orderly transition.

traditionally the Dalai Lama has been the temporal and spiritual ruler of Tibet. Hence the not entirely accurate “god King” moniker.

If you buy that the Dalai Lama is a boddhisatva (an enlightended being that chose to reincarnate to help everyone else find their way to enlightenment), then it makes sense if he decides to reincarnate or not. And where he would reincarnate. The DL has said for decades that he may not reincarnate and be the last Dalai Lama.

It also seems pretty obvious that if one could choose where to reincarnate, it would not be in China given the treatment of the Panchen Lama. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is probably the youngest political prisoner if he is in fact still alive.

There is also a track record of Lama’s that were born outside of Tibetor Greater Tibet such as: In 1984, Lama Yeshe passed away on the first day of The Tibetan New Year. In 1985, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche assumed leadership of the FPMT organization and began a search for Lama’s reincarnation. A western child was born on 12 February 1985 in Bubion, Spain at O.Sel.Ling Dharma Center in the beautiful mountains of Granada. In 1986, after a series of tests and divinations, young Osel Hita, was recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be the reincarnation of Lama Thubten Yeshe. He was then named Tenzin Osel.

Then there is the case of the Action Lama. I never really followed this but the link to the Lama that recognized him as a tulku is pretty interesting.

Two and a Half Zen

(Yes, I know Tibetan Buddhism isn’t Zen Buddism. Shut up and laugh.)

The Chinese reaction to this is predictably over the top. There is a clip out there of a government mouthpiece saying “Well, we aren’t quite sure how, but this is certainly a part of his plot to destroy China.”

Many Chinese people take this very seriously. To my students, he was pretty much what Osama Bin Laden is to us- an international terrorist with enemy backing who has spent his life in the single handed pursuit of the destruction of all of China. My students sincerely could not fathom why anyone in the west would give him any credibility or have any interest in Tibet outside of it’s relations with greater China, and could only interpret meetings with him, etc. as an attempt to insult or provoke China.

That is very depressing.

It sure is.

The Chinese government for at least 6 decades have fed their views of Tibet to the masses. It’s not really surprising that the sheeple view within China is that the DL is a bad guy. This also feeds into the Han Chinese predjudice against minority groups like the Tibetans.