Before Ning Zetao and Malaysian Jay Chou, there was Gerger Rinpoche, a 29-year-old model who was dubbed as the “most handsome living Buddha.” Or so people thought.
The Buddhist Association of China (BAC) and China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs published its first list of verified living Buddhas online earlier this year. There are currently 1,307 names on the list and Gerger Rinpoche is not one of them. Authorites are now calling him a fraud.
Many (now one more) have criticized the “living Buddha list” in the past. Amnesty International viewed it as a preemptive move by Beijing to control what happens after the current Dalai Lama dies. The Dalai Lama has said in the past that he might not be reincarnated, infuriating the Chinese government who say that His Holiness is “profaning” Buddhism and “duping” the Tibetan people. Instead, the Dalai Lama has proposed “emanation” instead of “reincarnation” where he himself could appoint a successor, rather than allow Beijing to control the process.
Zhang Qingli, former Secretary of the CPC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee, once said: “The Communist Party is like the parent to the Tibetan people, and it is always considerate about what the children need. The Central Party Committee is the real Buddha for Tibetans.
So, the fact that Rinpoche didn’t make the list doesn’t bode well for his political prospects, though it might actually help his cred with some followers.
Rinpoche was “found” to be a living Buddha when he was 16 years old and subsequently went to Nepal and India to learn Buddhism. At the age of 22, he started his own charity and entered the entertainment industry later on.
Since 2008, there have been many posts online praising how handsome Rinpoche is. He has modeled, published his own CD and even approached a company offering a corporate training course for 300,000 yuan. He has nearly 100,000 followers on Weibo and many admirers who think he looks like the Tibetan monk version of Huang Xiaoming, Angelababy’s husband.
At least he’ll easily be able to find other work.
By Sarah Lin