Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Despite strong opposition from China, the Nepali government "is considering" the possibility of allowing the cremation on its territory of the 14th Shamar Rinpoche, one of the most influential lama in Tibetan Buddhism.
A towering scholar in the Karma Kagyu tradition, his body is currently laying in a monastery in north-eastern India. Before he died, he expressed a desire to be cremated in Sarminav monastery, which he had founded in Nepal.
Kathmandu had rejected that possibility, until now, fearing Chinese reactions and the influx of thousands of Buddhists from India and even Tibet. The fear is that the funeral could become an opportunity to protest against Chinese policies in the region.
However, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, spokesman for Nepal's Ministry of Internal Affairs, said that his government "is reconsidering its position. The requests we have received from all over the world and the authority of the lama cannot be ignored."
The 14th Shamar Rinpoche was born Mipham Chokyi Lodro in Derge, Tibet. At the age of four, he was recognised by the 16th Karmapa Lama as the reincarnation of the 13th Shamar, or one of the three main disciples of the Karmapa.
As Tibetan Buddhism's N. 3, he heads the lineage of the diamond, which is older than that of the Dalai Lama. The Shamar is tasked with recognising the latter's reincarnation.
Beijing wants to stop this ritual cycle at all costs in order to recognise itself the reincarnations of all the lamas.
This way it hopes to break the "Tibet issue" by picking someone it can control as the 15th Dalai Lama when the current one, Tenzin Gyatso, dies.