Next Dalai Lama?

I don’t know what the current Dalai Lama’s job description is, but who fills in (in whole or part) while the next Dalai Lamai goes through primary school, so to speak? And can the next Dalai Lama be selected by those in exile FROM among those in exile?

Thanks. (Gasho) :smiley:

IANA Buddhist, but I am interested in religion. I have read about the Dalai Lama, and I do follow what’s reported about him in the news.

After one of the high Lamas dies, a committee looks for a very young child, born shortly after the death date, who shows indications of recognizing objects which belonged to his predecessor. However, there are two hitches to this, now.

  1. The Chinese government asserts that nobody can select a successor without their approval. They selected a successor for one of the other high Lamas (there are three, altogether, but the Dalai Lama has the highest status), and the one who was selected by the normal search committee disappeared. They want to have at least some kind of handle on all religious authorities that worshippers in China look up to. They select bishops, etc., for the Catholic church in China, frex.

  2. The current Dalai Lama has threatened not to reincarnate, or to divide his soul or whatever between several people - possibly including a woman - or to reincarnate in a different part of the world. He has no intention of putting his successor under the thumb of the Chinese - not that they’d be likely to accept anyone chosen by the normal kind of search committee. So I expect that when he does die, there will be at least two successors; one chosen by the Chinese government, and another chosen/revealed/whatever via the normal kind of search committee.

I think you can find information about this stuff in Wikipedia. There are also religious sites that have some information. Forgive me, but I’m about to go to bed, and I’m not going to do your searching for you. At least, I’m pointing you in the direction(s) of answers. :slight_smile:

Here you have, in Spanish, a recent article about a Spanish lama.

The monks who were looking for Yeshe Lama’s reincarnation found Osel when he was 14mo and took him to India; a documentary I saw on him about the time of the linked article talked about him feeling lonely and asking for his family to go there as well, of the family finding that he was both subject to a lot of discipline for some subjects and a spoiled brat at any other time, of his decision to travel and learn about the world first hand.

I don’t want to translate the whole article due to the copyright rules, but google translations only mangles about 10% of it, the result is understandable.

The second highest lama in the Tibetan hierarchy is the Panchen Lama. The current Panchen Lama, (who was designated by the Dalai Lama-in-exile) was abducted / imprisoned at the age of 6 by the Chinese government in 1995 and hasn’t been seen since. The Chinese designated someone else to be the Panchen Lama.

According to the site Arnold linked to, there have been several reports of the Panchen Lama’s death while in Chinese custody. What happens to the Panchen lineage under these circumstances? If the fate of the Panchen Lama is never discovered, do the Lamas at some point look for a successor? How would they decide on the age and qualities to look for? Is it possible for the lineage to become lost?

Theoretically, the deceased Panchen Lama could reincarnate in yet another child, to be sought by the Buddhist leaders.

Right, but what if they don’t know whether or not he is deceased or when he might have died? They could go looking for a successor now, but what if it turnes out he’s still alive, as the Chinese claim? What if they never find out?

Thanks, all. Who does the duties of the Dalai Lama while he’s a kid?

The Panchen Lama. That’s the point of it. The current Panchen Lama should be at or nearing adulthood now, so that when the current DL dies, the PL can help the next incarnation reach adulthood. And so on.

Tibetan mythology has long predicted that this Dalai Lama is the last.

Ultimately the recognition of the next would fall to the Panchen Lama, who’s whereabouts and recognition cannot now be authenticated. I can’t see how there could be a another.

Really? I hadn’t heard that. Where could I read up on it?

Just guessing here, but I imagine that at some point the Dalai Lama or another Tibetan Buddhist monk will find someone else and declare that other person to be the new reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. If there is then a dispute because other pretenders appear claiming to be Gedhun Choekyi Nyima (the children originally said to be the Panchen Lama) then the Tibetan hierarchy will have to find ways to determine who is the true reincarnation.

Ace309, I didn’t actually read it in a book, but some years ago now, when I was traveling through the far northern regions of Kashmir, a small pocket of Tibetan culture (Ladakh), it was repeated to me by several Lama’s and Tibetan’s.

I was surprised to be repeatedly told two things that seemed to be common knowledge to them, the first was that some Nostradamus like oracle had long ago predicted the 13th would be the last Dalai Lama. The other thing I was repeatedly told, as though every child knew it but me, was that the next ‘Buddha’ would rise in the West. They were very surprised that I, from the west, was unaware of this.

I assumed it would be widely written about simply because of how they spoke of it, but I could be wrong, on reflection. Don’t know if any of that helps you or not.

No, they don’t. The Chinese government approves the naming/consecrating of bishops of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (PRC’s state-controlled version of the Catholic church). Most of these bishops are validly but illegaly consecrated.

The Catholic names/consercrates her own bishops, but it is an illegal action because they don’t answer to the government.

Sorry for the hijack.

I knew I should have been more careful about how I phrased that, but it was VERY late; sorry. There is a constant state of tension between the Chinese government and the Vatican over who has the authority to designate the bishops and holders of other higher positions in the Catholic church.

My intention was primarily to make it clear that the government there does not intend to allow any religion to function independently of its authority. Of course, the Catholic church can draw on its own history of times and places when it was partially or wholly an underground religion to help it find ways to cope with interference.


It took me too long to finish editing, apparently. :frowning: What follows is what was omitted when I accidentally hit “post”:
OTOH, I’m not aware of any time or place when/where Buddhism was repressed in any way, except for times and places in India (its place of origin) early in its history. It is also somewhat less organized/structured than Catholicism, which puts it at a disadvantage in coping with interference. And that’s not even taking into consideration the unique method of transmission of authority from one generation to another.

The information elbows offers about the 13th Dalai Lama being the last is something I’ve never heard before. Of course, as I said earlier, I am in no fashion whatsoever an authority on Buddhism in general or the high Lamas in particular, merely an interested observer (and practicing Christian) who sympathizes with any group of people who are oppressed or repressed in any way. I do not believe in their religion, but I believe people should have the right to hold and practice any set of religious beliefs that does not violate the rights of others.

Two factually incorrect ascertains above

  1. Panchen lama does not select, approve or is part of the recognition process of the DL.

  2. The Panchen and DL have often been mentors and spiritual guides during the other’s minority. The Panchen Lama does not ‘rule’ until the DL’s majority, rather there is a Regent.

read books by Sir Charles Bell, british envoy to Lhasa who personally knew the 13th DL. fee downloadable ebooks in the university of oregon asia collection.

So where does this place the current 14th Dalai Lama?

Since each Dalai Lama is technically the reincarnation of the first (or the third) considering some of the unsavoury things they got up to in their past lives, the Chinese could probably imprison them for war crimes or something. WHy do I think this has not already occured to them?