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Should we let China’s communist rulers choose the Dalai Lama? 

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Re: “The Dalai Lama should end inhumane selection of successor,” Have Your Say, yesterday.

I’m sure that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama will be grateful for Yingwai Suchaovanich’s thoughtful advice on how to choose his successor. Exactly how the process of reincarnation works, especially in the case of the Dalai Lamas, and who or what determines what soul goes into what body, is a question far above my pay grade. This is a really tricky question, especially since the anatta (no-soul) doctrine is well established as a central teaching of the historical Buddha in all schools of Buddhism. If there’s no soul, there’s no question of souls being reborn. If I understand things correctly, nothing is reborn. The karmic stream that produced one body continues after the death of that body and produces a new body, in which it continues to function. But this is a difficult topic, and I could be wrong.  
Be that as it may, if we believe in Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion), and if we believe that he is reborn, common sense would dictate that we should leave it up to him to decide if, how, when and where he is to be reborn. If we don’t believe in him, while I’m sure that helpful suggestions will be welcome, I suggest that the rest of us, including the Chinese government, should butt out and leave it to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Buddhists to decide the issue.
Ye Olde Theologian

Published : April 15, 2019