The Office of the Dalai Lama An advantage to the Chinese Government

by Aik Theng Chong, The Buddhist Channel, Feb 23, 2011

Singapore -- The Chinese government’s State Administration for Religious Affairs enactment of new laws requiring all reincarnated high Lamas to be born in Chinese controlled territories and also to be approved by them might seem ridiculous and may also make no sense to Buddhist who are familiar on how such offices come about.

One wonder, is the Chinese Government so ignorance and insensitive to all these traditions? At first glands, they may seem to be trying to act in the capacity of an All Mighty God deciding on such major and unthinkable issues, or are they really?

Likely to the Chinese, the Dalai Lama would be considered as just another disposed Head of State, but still a thorn in its flesh, as he can be manipulated by foreign governments and interest groups alike to the detriment of its security and interests. His position as a spiritual Head would come in a very distant second.

If one start to look at the oversea Chinese whose ancestors left mainland China even recently, and how over time they evolved and adapt to their new environment, settling, accepting and giving their loyalty to their new countries, and eventually de-linking themselves from the Chinese of Mainland China, one may start to understand why the appointment of high lamas, including the Dalai Lamas have to come from the local population.

The Dalai Lama left Tibet more than half a century ago, many of the Tibetans who are with him now are likely to be second or even third generation foreign born, living, working and thinking more like Indians than the Tibetans from Tibet whose influence are mainly from the majority Han Chinese. They may be of Tibetan origin, but likely over time, the difference groups that settle overseas will become distinctly difference in their outlooks and loyalty than those in Tibet itself.

To the younger generations of Tibetans in China, the present Dalai Lama may be just a very remote religious figure considering the strict ban in place on all things related to him. How much influence and significant his words would be taken by these younger people is really anybody guess.  The Dalai Lama is getting on in age and the Chinese Government may have felt it is the right time to enact the required laws to legitimize the appointment of a local Tibetan as the Spiritual head of the Tibetan in Tibet; never mind those Tibetans who are not Chinese Citizens.

All it takes is for a charismatic locally appointed Dalai Lama to surface for the Chinese Government and the influence of the present Dalai Lama linkage would be reduced significantly. With the enactment of the new laws in place, it would not matter to the Chinese Government whether the 14th Dalai Lama decides to come back as a woman, or he might not come back at all.

Other than a complete subjugation to the Chinese Government and waiting for a change or collapsed of the present government to effect changes; or advocating a militancy approach, it looks like there are few options if any, left for the present Dalai Lama to act on.