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Chinese political adviser defends Tibet living Buddha reincarnation rules

January 31, 2008

30 January 2008
BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific

Text of report by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News

[Report by reporter Deji nd Duoma Doji: "Tibet Living Buddha Says the
'Procedures for Managing Reincarnation of Living Buddha of Tibetan
Buddhism' in Line With Development Needs of Tibetan Buddhism"]

Xinhua Wang Tibet Channel, Lhasa (23 Jan) - Living Buddha Zhukang
Tudengkezhu, vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political
Consultative Conference [CPPCC] Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee,
said: The "'Procedures for Managing Reincarnation of Living Buddha of
Tibetan Buddhism,' promulgated by the State Bureau of Religious Affairs,
are in line with the intrinsic needs of development of Tibetan Buddhism.
The promulgation and implementation of the procedures protects the
freedom of citizens in religious belief in a more effective way." Other
members of the CPPCC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee and
personalities of the relevant departments have come out one after
another in fully affirming these procedures.

On 18 July 2007, the State Bureau of Religious Affairs promulgated the
"Procedures for Managing Reincarnation of Living Buddha of Tibetan
Buddhism," which have been implemented officially since 1 September of
the same year. However, Dalai and his followers outside the territory
have extensively attacked these procedures. Dalai has indicated that he
himself wants to designate successor.

At the just concluded First Session of the Ninth CPPCC Tibet Autonomous
Regional Committee, Living Buddha Zhukang Tudengkezhu said: The
reincarnation of Living Buddha is the inheritance system of Tibetan
Buddhism, which is different from other religions and other Buddhist
sects and is founded on the basis of Tibet's ancient concept of soul and
the unique reincarnation theory of Buddhism for solving the inheritance
among the religious sects and monastery chiefs. Historically the Living
Buddha played an important role in the political and religious life in
Tibet and served as an important force for the central government in
managing Tibet effectively. Therefore, the central government of various
dynasties attached great importance to the management of reincarnation
of Living Buddha.

According to records of historical data, in the mid-13th century,
Gemaboxi, chief of the Gemageju sect of Tibetan Buddhism, was the
precursor of the reincarnation of Living Buddha. During the Qing
dynasty, the central government significantly strengthened the
management of affairs related to the Living Buddha and its
reincarnation; and standardized and institutionalized such management.
 From 1793, the year when the system of drawing lots from a gold urn
[jin ping che qian - traditional practice for deciding on the final
choice of the soul boy of Dalai or Panchen Lama in Tibet] was
instituted, to the end of the Qing dynasty, 76 of the 91 reincarnated
soul boys from 39 major Living Buddha lineages managed by the central
government of the Qing dynasty were certified through the system of
drawing lots from a gold urn.

Suolang Renzeng, member of the CPPCC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee
Standing Committee and executive deputy director of the united front
work department of the autonomous regional party committee, said:
"Previously, the situation in the reincarnation of Living Buddha in
Tibetan Buddhism as a whole was good. However, there are a few problems.
They have been caused mainly by the 14th Dalai's failure to do things
according to the historically established system and the religious rites
and rules and his unauthorized designation of reincarnated soul boy,
thereby disrupting the normal order and undermining the unity of Tibetan

He said: "The promulgation and implementation of the new procedures,
which fully respect the religious rites and rules and the historically
established system and standardize matters related the reincarnation of
Living Buddha, are conducive to safeguarding the normal religious order
of Tibetan Buddhism and fully satisfying the religious needs of the vast
number of religious followers. Hence, these new procedures have been
endorsed by personalities in various circles of Tibetan Buddhism."

The newly promulgated procedures have a total of 14 articles, including
such contents as legislation purpose, reincarnation principles,
reincarnation qualifications, review and approval procedures, duties and
responsibilities of Buddhist groups, and penalty for violation of law.

Dawa Ciren, president of the Shannan Prefecture Buddhist Association and
chairman of the Sangye Monastery Democratic Management Committee, said:
"The new procedures have not only institutionalized the reincarnation of
Living Buddha but also standardized government behaviour. Government
management of the reincarnation of Living Buddha only covers religious
affairs that are related to national interests and public interests of
society. The government does not interfere with purely internal affairs
of religion. The religious followers and the common people at large will
certainly support the way of certifying Living Buddha within the
framework of religious rules and the state law."

Source: Xinhua news agency website, Beijing, in Chinese 23 Jan 08
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