To propagate Buddhism, we need to follow the rules

Published On: May 15, 2020 11:50 AM NPT By: Jampa Dorjee

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Since the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the global epidemic has hit us hard. In this disaster, we, the Tibetan Buddhist disciples, suggest that the religious community and the overseas Buddhist Association jointly pray. Buddha's glorious sunlight covers all, may the epidemic dispelled early; and all living beings have peace and comfort. 

Some politicians in the United States have promoted the Tibet Policy and Support Act 2019 in the name of protecting religious freedom, attempting to intervene in the reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama. They say it is to protect religious freedom. It is absurd for these politicians to intervene in religious affairs by political means. As a result, they will only get farther and farther away from the religious freedom, and eventually hurt the inheritance and promotion of Buddhism.

The reincarnation system of the living Buddha of Tibetan Buddhism originated from the Karma Kaju School,which embodies the concept of "the immortal consciousness, the reincarnation of life and death, the reappearance of the incarnation, and the wish to come again". The reincarnation system of the living Buddha is one of the significant marks that distinguishes the Tibetan Buddhism from other sects.

In the history of Tibet, the reincarnation of living Buddha is closely related to the local political and religious affairs under the jurisdiction of the Central government. During the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan appointed Phagas-pa as the emperor's teacher, who was in charge of Buddhist affairs throughout the country. Since the Qing Dynasty, the Central government has carried out a system of conferring titles on the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. The titles of Buddhists are all conferred by the central government. Their reincarnation needs to be reported to the central government for sealing. The title of the Dalai Lama (also known as the Dalai living Buddha) has been officially determined since then. 

The current 14th Dalai Lama is a decree issued by the Executive Yuan of the Government of the Republic of China in 1940 to determine Lhamo Dhondup (yang srid) as the 14th Dalai Lama, and is scheduled to hold the enthronement ceremony on February 22 of that year. Looking back on the history, we can see that the existence of the reincarnation system of the living Buddha of Tibetan Buddhism and the power of conferring titles of the reincarnated living Buddha are inseparable from the central government.

With the development of the reincarnation system of living Buddha, an important system with a far-reaching influence, which has been in use until now, is the Golden Urn. It is one of the

fundamental systems for the selection of religious leaders within the Tibetan Buddhism.The Golden Urn was proposed by Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, and it was institutionalized in the 29-Article Ordinance for the More Effective Governing of Tibet. In history, the 10th, 11th and 12th Dalai Living Buddhas (in special cases, they can be exempted from Golden Urn with the approval of the central government, such as the ninth and 13th Dalai Lamas) and the 8th, 9th and 11th Panchen, as well as the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Jebtsun Damba are all selected by Golden Urn.

At present, China's Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas clearly inherits the Golden Urn system. From the religious point of view, the implementation of the Golden Urn system is in line with the basic tenets of Tibetan Buddhism. Politically, the Golden Urn system is an important part of the central government's rectification, Tibetan administrative management, and the establishment of systematic laws and regulations in Tibet. It is a system that integrates politics, religion, and doctrine,and this cannot be broken.

History clearly shows that the healthy development of religion must be placed in the orbit of a series of religious laws and regulations and doctrines.Whether it is Han Buddhism or Tibetan Buddhism, the promotion and inheritance of Buddhism requires a peaceful social environment. It is hoped that unrelated political groups can respect the history and doctrines of Buddhism and do not use Buddhism as a political tool to destroy the cause of Buddhism.

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