Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spiritual/Political Chess

Dalai Lama talks of retirement -


'I'm also a human being. ... Retirement is also my right,' the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet told CNN's Hala Gorani in Miami, Florida, this week.
This article doesn't go into the ramifications of the decision, but it certainly smells like he's preparing to change the succession process in order to prevent China from pulling another Panchen Lama disappear-and-replace on Tibetan Buddhism.

So, if I'm reading this right, they do away with the pretense of discovering a Dalai Lama reincarnate (mumbo-jumbo) and essentially make the role a political office in name as well as practice. I think this makes sense but must be troubling to Tibetan Buddhists in that reincarnation is so central to their religion and this would seem to undermine that importance.

In any event, the 14th has done as much as any individual in the 20th-21st centuries to promote non-violence -- he's right there with MLK and Ghandi -- and is certainly deserving of a chance to live his own life. I wonder what thought he's given, if any, to allowing Tibetans to elect the 15th? Would anything make the Chinese more apoplectic?
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