The Buddhist leader jokes about the Chinese government's continued interference in the religious sphere: "They are atheists and materialists by their very definition, but want to choose the next head of Tibetan Buddhism. I have a proposal: first announce the reincarnation of Mao Zedong and other great Communist leaders and then we'll talk". On the future of his role, speaking seriously, he states: "The Tibetan people will decide".
Tokyo (AsiaNews) - If the Chinese Communist government wants to choose the next Dalai Lama "they must first demonstrate that they believe in reincarnation. And so the first thing is to announce the rebirth of Mao Zedong, Lin Biao, Deng Xiaoping and other Communist leaders. That done, we can discuss the future Buddhist leader ", said a laughing Tenzin Gyatso, XIV Dalai Lama, to the Japanese NHK Agency. The leader of Buddhism’s yellow hats is in Japan on a tour of teachings and meditation.
Asked about the future of the institution of the Dalai Lama, widely debated in the Tibetan and Chinese world, the religious leader first "challenged" the Beijing government and then, growing serious, added: " I find it baffling because the Chinese government’s interest in the issue is solely political, not religious. During the Manchu dynasty, Chinese involvement in the issue is understandable because of religious connection emanating from the priest-patron relationship".
All this does not exist anymore: "However, modern Communist China calls itself atheist. So, they have no business in the issue". So, he continues, "since 1969 I have made it clear that the institution's future is in the hands of the Tibetan people. However, these days the Chinese government seems more interested in the issue than myself. ”
In line with the restrictions the other official religions, the Communist Party has increased pressure on Tibetan Buddhism. In November 2015 the head of the Commission for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference of Ethnic and Religious Affairs, Zhu Weiqun, said: "China will never give up the right to decide on future reincarnations of the Dalai Lama". In January 2016, moreover, the government of Tibet set up an "official record" of living buddhas "to avoid fraud". The Tibetan diaspora immediately made it clear "you do not even need to be a Buddhist” to get on the list.
The question of the next Dalai Lama therefore remains open. In September 2014, Tenzin Gyatso said: "To find my successor procedures related to the prophecies will not be used, because China could influence them. I think something more along the lines of a Conclave, similar to that used by the Catholic Church to elect the Pope, or written instructions to be read after my death".