In the 10 years since the Chinese government stepped into the business of choosing Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism, the state administration for religious affairs (SARA) has approved and provided training to 60 ‘Living Buddhas’.
Its purpose is to counter the influence of the Dalai Lama over monks and Living Buddhas of different sections in Tibetan Buddhism, a senior official said.
“The rule has successfully prevented the Dalai Lama from using the reincarnation of Living Buddha to conduct activities that threaten Tibetan Buddhism and national unity,” Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee told official media.
“Some Buddhist temples from some random area often appoint so-called Living Buddhas to serve their own purposes, and some people have been found to be using the guise of Living Buddha to swindle followers,” Zhu added.
The search for a Living Buddha takes place after the death of the leader of a Tibetan sect. There were 1,300 approved Living Buddhas in China in 2016, according to estimates drawn up by the government owned media. Seven more Living Buddhas below the age of 16 are undergoing training which includes education on issues like patriotism and the socialist political system practised by the Communist Party.
China has replaced the earlier practice which involved senior members of a Tibetan sect selecting and approving a Living Buddha to lead them. Tibetan monks are known to use wills, predictions or other clues such as dreams, divination, omens and celestial observations to determine a new Living Buddha after one of them dies.
The succession of a living Buddha is now carried out under the guidance of government backed Buddhist associations and religious groups who are expected to see that the process conforms to religious ritual and historical convention.
The China Buddhist Association is expected to report to SARA in case there is a conflict in the process of succession. This happens when more than one Living Buddha emerges in a sect and their respective families get into a quarrel, officials said. The succession must be approved by departments of religious affairs or governments above municipal level.
Zhu also said that the regulation has institutionalized the Chinese government’s management of the reincarnation of living Buddhas, and gives the government decisive rights on the matter.
SARA says in its website that government rules have helped protect people’s religious freedom, maintained the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism and helped to build a harmonious society.
“During the past 10 years, every living Buddha’s incarnate was found and approved according to the regulation, and is completely in accordance with the status quo of Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhists’ wishes,” Global Times quoted Dawa Tsering, a monk and president of the Buddhism Association of Shannan City of Tibet as saying.
More Information : http://ummahlink.org/