14th Tibetan Religious Conference affirms the Dalai Lama’s sole authority in his reincarnation, illegitimizes China’s meddling in religious affairs
Dharamshala: Ever since 1969, when asked about his next reincarnation, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has told the international media that it was a matter to be decided by the Tibetan people. As it stands now, it is important for the Tibetan people to enact a legitimate stand on the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. A necessary special resolution on the matter will see the light of day during the 3-day highly coveted 14th Tibetan Religious Conference convened today at the headquarter of the Central Tibetan Administration. The conference is being organised by the Department of Religion and Culture, Central Tibetan Administration.
The relationship between successive Dalai Lamas and the Tibetan people has been akin to that between head and neck, or, as it were, between the body and its shadow, and therefore never ever separable. Hence it is only to be expected that the tradition of the continuance of the lineage of the Dalai Lamas through successive reincarnations based on the Tibetan Buddhist tradition should remain for the sake of the Tibetan people.
As such, through this conference, Tibetan religious heads and representatives see it as imperative to adopt a special resolution which thus follows hereunder.
Dharamshala Declaration – Resolutions:
The Karmic bond between the Dalai Lamas and the Tibetan people have been inseparable and the present status of the Tibetan people being extremely critical, all Tibetans genuinely wish for the continuation of the Institution and Reincarnation of the Dalai Lama in the future. We therefore strongly supplicate to His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama for the same.
The authority of decision concerning the way and the manner in which the next reincarnation of the XIV Dalai Lama should appear solely rests with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama himself. No government or otherwise will have such authority. If the Government of the People’s Republic of China for political ends chooses a candidate for the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan people will not recognize and respect that candidate.
Regarding the method of recognizing the future reincarnations of the Dalai Lama, the same unique Tibetan traditional method, which has been continuously used until now, will be followed. This method conforms to be basic philosophy and tents of the Buddhadharma and originated in Tibet over 800 years ago.
The three-day conference is administered by the heads and important figures of Tibetan Buddhist tradition including H.E Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, H.E Gaden Tri Rinpoche, H.E Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, H.E Kyabje Menri Trizin Rinpoche, Kyabje Tsurphu Gorshe Gyaltsab Rinpoche (Representative of Gyalwa Karmapa), Rev. Taklung Matrul Rinpoche (Representative of H.E Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche), Namdroling Tulku Choedhar Rinpoche, Ven. Khenpo Ngedhon Tenzin (Representative of H.E Gyalwang Drukchen), and Jonang Gyaltsab Rinpoche.
Other eminent Tibetan rinpoches and tulkus, representatives and lamas from the Himalayan region, Khen Rinpoches of major Tibetan Buddhist institutes in exile, heads and members of Tibetan monastic institutes and representatives of Tibetan nunneries were present among the 100-strong participants. Dignitaries of the Tibetan Administration including the heads of three pillars of Democracy, Kalons, and Members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile attended the inaugural ceremony.
The conference will focus on enabling extensive participation of the religious heads and other important figures of Tibetan Buddhism in the discussion and decision making on the overarching significance of Tibetan tradition of recognising the reincarnation of scholarships with a particular emphasis on the discovery and recognition of the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Addressing the inaugural session of the conference, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay apprised on the resolutions passed in the recently held 3rd Special General Meeting on Reincarnation whereby it was declared that the exclusive right and the power regarding the discovery and recognition of reincarnations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama lies in His Holiness himself and the Gaden Podrang Trust of the Dalai Lama. And any effort being made by China via its Order no 5 will be outrightly considered as invalid as per the resolution adopted.
Sikyong then notified on the alarming meddling of China in the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama not only through its implementation of Order no 5 but by threatening and putting pressures on India against interfering in the selection of next Dalai Lama.
“China’s extreme hostility towards religious freedom in Tibet is no longer admissible to us and likewise, we vehemently reject any advancement of China’s interferences in the reincarnation process. If any, It should be for the Tibetans to decide and defend” said Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay.
“Though China continues to put pressure on India, India’s consistent generosity and kindness towards Tibetans have always been the same” added Sikyong.
Remarking on the recent visit of Senator Brownback, US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sikyong said that the US fully supports and favours the Tibetan Buddhist system of selecting the successors.
“The decision of the US to back Tibet’s battle over the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is in no way an interference on their part rather they are defending the right to religious freedom” noted the democratically elected leader of the Tibetans in exile.
Furthermore, he enunciated that the issue of reincarnation is similar to the separation of church and state. Sikyong referred that although reincarnation was invented by the Tibetans 800 years ago, the power and right to His Holiness reincarnation should be decided by the high lamas and no one else and particularly not to fulfil any political agenda.
Kalon for Religion and Culture, Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok, in his opening remarks explained the recent step taken to change the title of the conference due to two foreseeable reasons. Kalon explained that with no religious representatives from Tibet due to unavoidable critical circumstances and to avoid the misrepresentation of excluding other Tibetan religious groups, it was unanimously decided to keep the present name.
Kalon expressed his appreciation and confidence that this conference in its optimum capacity will deliver fruitful results.