Just When You Thought China Might Be Joining the Modern World

from the HuffPo via Q&O

In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country. By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.

Update:  Maybe he will be reincarnated in Avignon:

At 72, the Dalai Lama, who  has lived in India since 1959, is beginning to plan his succession, saying that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it’s under Chinese control. Assuming he’s able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks.


  1. randomscrub:

    FYI, That story is five years old...

  2. Gil:

    It makes sense if the Chinese don't believe in the hokum but are simply upending the Tibetan religious and cultural beliefs.

  3. IGotBupkis, Three Time Winner of the Silver Sow Award:

    A puppet llama? Didn't they have one of those in Monty Python?

  4. morganovich:

    "by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering."

    i don't believe that was the tradition at all. the traditions in tibet were rampant oppression, slavery (even in the 50's, this current lama was a slave owner as a child), rape, murder, and crushing poverty and disease for them populace so the lamas could live in opulence.

    the life expectancy in tibet was 36 in the 50's.

    the lamas were such an effective regime in terms of oppression and quelling social unrest that hitler sent a guy to learn how to do it from the best.

    (that's what the movie 7 years in tibet is really about)

    this narrative of the lamas as poor exiled spiritual altruists is utter fiction.


    yale historian michael parenti has document this in great detail.

    penn and teller pretty much eviscerate him as well.


  5. CTD:

    People tend to forget that Tibet prior to the Chinese invasion was essentially run under a from of dark-age theocratic feudalism. The peasants were essentially "owned" by various monasteries and had to work for them. I'm not saying that the Chinese are the good guys re: Tibet, but it irritates me that so many Americans seem to think it was some peaceful Shangri-La until the mean ChiCom's showed up.

  6. el corondo:


    If you had any readers under age 35, you just lost 'em. "I don't, like, get it, dude."

  7. Peter:

    Do the government procedures contain the instructions on how to reincarnate because if so I would like a copy.