Dharamsala, Sep 25: Is Tibetan spiritual leader going to create another history of sorts by reversing the more than 600-year-old tradition of following the lineage of the Dalai Lama?
Political observers here believe the Dalai Lama is considering alternative scenarios.
One could be simply ending the system; another would see him leaving written instructions about the reincarnation process if a referendum did not favour its abolition.
‘He knows a culture of dependency has grown around him and wants to end it. And he does not want any chaos after his death,’ a senior functionary in the Dalai Lama’s office told IANS, a day after the Nobel laureate said ‘when he is about 90, he will re-evaluate continuation of the Dalai Lama institution’.
They said that most likely the Dalai Lama will try to abolish the 600-year-old practice of selecting a Dalai Lama through reincarnation. Even in his latest speeches he has been saying that rule by spiritual leaders or kings is an outdated concept.’
The 76-year-old Nobel laureate admitted on his official website while replying to a question: ‘Personally, I feel the institution of the Dalai Lama has served its purpose.
‘More recently, since 2001 we now have a democratically elected head of our administration, the Kalon Tripa (prime minister). The Kalon Tripa runs the daily affairs of our administration and is in charge of our political establishment.’
In May, the Dalai Lama formally stepped down as head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, ending the 369-year old tradition of the Dalai Lamas holding dual responsibility of spiritual and temporal powers.
Now most of the administrative and political powers rest with the elected, 43-year-old Harvard educated prime minister Lobsang Sangay.
‘At the present moment, the Dalai Lama’s institution is useful to the Tibetan culture and the people. Thus, if I were to die today, I think the Tibetan people would choose to have another Dalai Lama.
‘In the future, if the Dalai Lama’s institution is no longer relevant or useful and our present situation changes, then the Dalai Lama’s institution will cease to exist,’ the monk said.
On China’s assertions that the next Dalai Lama will be born in Tibet and chosen by them, the Dalai Lama, said: ‘If the present situation regarding Tibet remains the same, I will be born outside Tibet away from the control of the Chinese authorities.’
He warned that any candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including China, should not be recognised or accepted.
‘When I am about 90, I will consult the high lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public and other people and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not,’ he said.
His nearly 4,000-word statement on reincarnation came a day after he met the leaders of the four Tibetan Buddhist sects here.
The spiritual leader also hinted that the next Dalai Lama could be a woman. In Canada in October last year, the Dalai Lama said: ‘If a female reincarnation is more useful – why not?’
It was in 1959 that the Dalai Lama, whom China calls a separatist, fled Tibet after an anti-communist revolt. He then headed a Tibetan government-in-exile which never won recognition from any country.