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Tibetan official: Dalai Lama's reincarnation needs nod from central gov't

March 15, 2009

Xinhua is the official press agency of the Communist Party of China and
the government of China.

BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- A top Tibetan official on Thursday warned
the Dalai Lama not to break the conventions in reincarnation and
reiterated the succession of a "Living Buddha" needs approval from the
central government by tradition.

The reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, like that of any Grand Living
Buddha, must follow historical conventions and required religious
rituals, and, more importantly among the traditions, approval from the
central government, Qiangba Puncog, chairman of Tibet's regional
government, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the national legislative
session in Beijing.

"If the Dalai Lama does not follow the convention for political or other
purposes, I believe his reincarnation would not be acknowledged by
religious people in Tibet, and the central government will never approve
it," he said.

"The conventions were formed in history, and have a set of
comprehensive, complicated and strict rules," he said.

The Dalai Lama has previously thrown out a series of claims, saying that
he could be the last reincarnation, that his reincarnation could be a
female, that he might choose his reincarnation when alive, or that his
reincarnation would be found outside China.

In a latest claim, the Dalai Lama said he would no longer seek
reincarnation, and whether he would reincarnate would depend on the will
of the Tibetan people.

"The Dalai Lama's ever-changing stances are against the historical and
religious traditions," Qiangba Puncog said.

Tibetan Buddhism holds that the soul of a Living Buddha is reborn after
his death and the resulting ‘soul boy" can be found through the
interpretation of arcane signs.

The ‘soul boy" must be approved by the central government through lot
drawing from a gold urn since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), unless the
central government agrees to exempt the ‘soul boy" from the ritual,
Legqog, director of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous
Regional People's Congress, told Xinhua.

Such a rule was inked in the "29-Article Ordinance for the More
Efficient Governing of Tibet", which was promulgated in 1793.

"Without the approval from the central government, whatever he (the
Dalai Lama) says is not valid. The reincarnation is not something the
Dalai Lama can decide on his own," Legqog said.

A regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs in
2007 also said the so-called reincarnation without government approval
is illegal and invalid.
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