In an effort to eradicate swindling fakers, China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs published its first list of verified buddhas online on Monday.
So far the list names 870 “authentic” buddhas, making available such information as pertaining to their individual monastic titles, dates of birth, resident monasteries, certificates, etc.
The publication has been met with much joy from those fortunate enough to be granted the state seal of approval, like one Drukhang Thubten Khedrup, vice president of the Buddhist Association of China (BAC). “As a living buddha, I feel genuinely happy about it,” he expressed at the launching ceremony.
Yet, the whole thing has garnered skepticism from some as to China’s motives. “This living Buddha database and the whole policy toward reincarnation is clearly a pre-emptive move by the government to control what happens after this Dalai Lama,” said a spokesperson from Amnesty International upon announcement of the project in December.
Whatever the reason, the new list has sure arrived to ruin the fun of many a theatric. Presumably they were all mangling their Buddha quotes anyway.