Are there any Living Buddhas among the enlightened readership of this blog? You have been informed: With immediate effect, all your reincarnations must receive government approval, and if not, they will be deemed “illegal or invalid” by the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA).
Thank Buddha for SARA because the latest regulations are all for the convenience of all the future Living Buddhas yet to come. As it tells us:
It is an important move to institutionalize management on reincarnation of living Buddhas.
It further adds that temples which apply for the reincarnation of a Living Buddha must be:
legally-registered venues for Tibetan Buddhism activities and are capable of fostering and offering proper means of support for the living Buddha.
Now it looks like all ye Living Buddhas can reincarnate in peace, but oh, do remember to get a few rubber stamps before you finally announce yourself as one because:
All the reincarnation applications must be submitted to the religious affairs department of the provincial-level government, the provincial-level government, SARA, and the State Council, respectively, for approval in accordance with the fame and influence of the living Buddhas in the religious circle.
Finally SARA also says:
The selection of reincarnates must preserve national unity and solidarity of all ethnic groups and the selection process cannot be influenced by any group or individual from outside the country.
Of course we don’t expect you to have any political opinion, but it would be a great bonus if you could uphold “Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents“.
The new 14-part regulation means that nobody outside China is able to take part in the highly mystical process of seeking and recognising a Living Buddha, including a certain god-king, who is currently in exile, and frankly at age 72 (and with all due respect), who knows how long more he will last?
Shanghaiist: Religious round-up (yes, literally!)
The Times: China tells living Buddhas to obtain permission before they reincarnate
China Daily: Reincarnation of living Buddha needs approval
The Telegraph: China demands veto on Tibet’s ‘living buddhas’
Washington Post: China insists on naming Living Buddhas
MSNBC: China reportedly jails scores of Tibet Buddhists
Photo of the feet of a certain Living Buddha from Gabriel Ortega Berger.