01/25/2016, 15.15
TIBET – CHINA

To win party approval, a lama “doesn’t even need to be a Buddhist’

“Students for a Free Tibet” organise a mock recruitment drive for China’s so-called 'Authentic Living Buddha list’. Wearing a mask of Chinese President Xi Jinping, they rallied against government interference in Tibetan Buddhism. To be recognised as an “authentic lama”, all it takes is being “’Anti-Dalai Lama’,” and “‘Pro-Chinese Communist Party’.” For them, Beijing has “no right to interfere in religious affairs”.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – In order to be added to China’s official ‘Authentic Living Buddha lists,’ all it takes is to be “‘Anti-Dalai Lama’, ‘Pro-Chinese Communist Party’, and [you] ‘Don’t even need to be a Buddhist’,” this according Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), a group that mocked the mainland’s decision to “certify” those who claim to be ‘living Buddhas’.

The student group set up a pseudo enrolment booth near a Buddhist temple in Dharamsala, India, wearing a mask depicting Chinese President Xi Jinping. Dharamsala is the seat of the Tibetan Government in exile and the Dalai Lama’s home since 1959, when he fled Maoist China. The group tried to “recruit” some monks passing by.

Formally, the goal of China’s certification is to protect religious believers. ‘Living Buddhas,’ who are also known as ‘Tulkus’, are religious who chose the monastic life and are honoured by the abbots of various Buddhist temples with the title ‘Rinpoche’ (Precious).

Although praised by members of the government-controlled Buddhist Association of China, the measure is just another step towards the total control of the Tibet’s monastic tradition.

The “CCP is an atheist government who does not have any authority in imposing such [a] law that interferes with a religious belief,” a Tibetan told Phayul, an online paper. “They have certified the Panchen Lama they have appointed, which proves the list is null and void. No Tibetan will accept this new law,” he added.

“The Chinese government may have claimed it to eradicate the fake lamas. However, we see it as a politically motivated step to intervene with the reincarnation selection of the 14th Dalai Lama,” Dorjee Tseten, SFT's Asia Director said.

“It is nothing new from the Chinese authorities,” he added. “Neither Tibetans nor Buddhists all over the world will accept this new law. This is a gross violation of religious freedom and a perverse interference in Tibetan Buddhism.”

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