11/21/2007, 00.00
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To stop Beijing Dalai Lama set to pick his own reincarnation

Tibet’s spiritual and political leader says that he or the Tibetan government-in-exile will recognise successor. Lama tells AsiaNews that first option “is the best choice possible, an exceptional move decided in a moment of need.”

Rome (AsiaNews) – The Dalai Lama’s decision to name his own reincarnation to avoid further Chinese influence on Tibet “is currently the best possible option. The Tibetan people agree with its leader who is taking an importance decision right when it is necessary,” Lama Geshe Gedun Tharchin, founder of the Lam-Rim Institute of Tibetan Culture and professor at the Institute for Oriental and African Studies in Rome, told AsiaNews.

The decision was made public yesterday when the Dalai Lama, currently visiting Japan, said: “If the Tibetan people want to keep the Dalai Lama system, one of the possibilities I have been considering with my aides is to select the next Dalai Lama while I’m alive.”

Another possibility is for the Dalai Lama’s successor to be elected “democratically” by the Tibetan government in exile.

The two possibilities “have a different basis,” Lama Geshe said. “The first, which entails the recognition of the soul of our leader, has never been done but is based on a Buddhist teaching which makes provision for it. This way the next Dalai Lama would be the political and spiritual leader of our people in a way that would religiously orthodox.”

The second possibility “would represent a radical change in Tibet’s politics and religion. In practice it would transform the current system (which is a form of theocracy with the Dalai Lama as spiritual and political leader) into a modern form of democracy.”

However, “this second possibility carries some problems linked to China’s presence in Tibet. In fact, if a vote were held on the next Dalai Lama there would be frictions and suspicions between the various groups in which the Tibetan people have been divided for many years since the invasion by Maoist troops.”

At present, Chinese influence over Tibet is total. In order to weaken the spirit of resistance of the Tibetan people against the Communist system, in 1995 China abducted Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the young Panchen Lama, who is recognised by the current Dalai Lama. Later Beijing appointed another one loyal to the government.

According to some analysts, China’s Communist regime wants to carry out the same operation once the current supreme Buddhist leader dies.

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