Lhasa (AsiaNews) - Thousands of monks and followers of Tibetan Buddhism have come together in the monastery Palyul - Dege County, in the area of Kham - to celebrate the enthronement ceremony of the last reincarnation of Penor Rinpoche, head of the oldest local lineage of Buddhism.
The small boy Pema Dorjee, recognized in 2009 after the death of Kyabjé Drubwang Pema Norbu Rinpoche was recognized at the age of 1 by some elderly monks: despite the restrictive policies of Beijing on the issue of reincarnation, it seems that the Chinese government has not wanted to intervene.
The Penor Rinpoche is the head of the Nyingma tradition, one of the four pillars of Tibetan Buddhism and the most ancient version of this religion. The rituals and prayers recited by its followers are so close to the ancient Tibetan culture that the have similar aspects to those of the Bon animist religion. By tradition, the Palyul monastery is the seat of the religious leader, who following the flight of the Dalai Lama (head of the Gelugpa lineage, or "yellow caps") to India has united in his person the six traditional "mother monasteries".
Both the recognition of reincarnation and his enthronement so far seem to have slipped the control of the Chinese government. Beijing wants to break the bond that unites the religious lineage of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, and has kidnapped the young Panchen Lama ("number 2" in Tibetan Buddhism) and replaced him with one of its own choice.
To further perfect its aim, Beijing also wants to interfere in the recognition of the fifteenth Dalai Lama when the current one, Tenzin Gyatso, dies: to do so, in 2007 it passed a norm that gives the State Administration for Religious Affairs the power to find reincarnations.
Despite the serious violation of their religious freedom, the leaders of Tibetan Buddhism - and the Dalai Lama - have made it clear that they "will express themselves in complete freedom," on the issue and that "probably" the successor of the current spiritual leader "will be born in a country not under Chinese government control".