The Dalai Lama continues to vocally share his belief that he will not be reincarnated so long as Tibet is under Chinese rule, most recently with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. He also told the newspaper, “We had a Dalai Lama for almost five centuries. The fourteenth Dalai Lama is very popular. Let us then finish with a popular Dalai Lama.”
China is none too pleased.
Calling reincarnation of the living Buddha a “historic practice” in Tibetan Buddhism, China has politely told the Dalai Lama it’s high time he got on board with his own reincarnation. Many assert that spiritual beings do not have the option of ending their circle of reincarnation “on a high note,” like the Dalai Lama suggests. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a daily news briefing that “China follows a policy of freedom of religion and belief, and this naturally includes having to respect and protect the ways of passing on Tibetan Buddhism.”
If, after the Dalai Lama’s death, both the Chinese government and the Tibetan exiles appoint two different people for the same position, it may cause even more friction in the tumultuous topic of Tibet’s spiritual leadership. As the new Tibetan Dalai Lama is likely to be a baby who will be more concerned with the mechanics of standing upright than Tibetan autonomy, many exiles fear that the current Dalai Lama’s death would splinter, and maybe even end, the movement. His statements may be, in part, an attempt to protect his decades-long fight to free Tibet and return to his homeland.
Although position of the Dalai Lama may end with the fourteenth incarnation, there’s no word on what will happen to his twitter account.