- About Us
- What We Offer
- Podcasts & Video
Submitted by ellen s on Thu, 3/10/2011, 1:18pm
The New York Times reported this morning that the Dalai Lama will retire from his position as the leader of the Tibetan government in exile. Essentially, he's handing over political authority to a leader to be elected next month by Tibetans in exile. The Christian Science Monitor notes that China greeted his latest news with disbelief, calling it a trick. Britain's respected Guardian notes, regarding the spiritual situation:
"The Dalai Lama is regarded as the 14th reincarnation of a famous Buddha who achieved enlightenment and as such can't resign. Nor does anyone appear to want him to."
(photo Ellen Scordato/twi-ny.com)
I've seen the Dalai Lama and heard him speak several times; I've writing about the last time, last May, in the old IDP blog here.
This is a biggie, folks. Just last night, after teaching a segment of the IDP Techniques of Meditation course, Joe Mauricio and I were chatting, and we mentioned this story: The Dalai Lama was once asked if he ever took a vacation; he answered, "A vacation from what?"
Well, not from mindfulness and awareness, evidently, but from temporal authority over the politics of Tibetans? Evidently so.
In 1959, when the Chinese invaded Tibet and made it part of China, exerting their political and military authority over the region, a huge number of Tibetans fled to northern India and beyond. Many Tibetans who remain and who have been born since the takeover strive for more autonomy within, or even independence from China. The Chinese steadfastly assert that Tibet is part of China and have striven to change the Tibetan cultural identity through suppression of Buddhist practice, encouragement of Chinese language use, and the settling of Han Chinese in the region, in an effort to quell Tibetan efforts toward political, cultural, and religious autonomy.
The Dalai Lama, as the leader of the Tibetan government in exile, headquartered in Dharamasala in northern India, has been at odds with the Chinese government. A deeply revered figure in Tibet, he's gained a following of admirers in the West as well, which does not sit well with Chinese leadership. At the age of 75, the Dalai Lama is facing a question of succession; China is so exercised about how to control that succession that an ostensibly atheist, Communist nation has announced that it will be in charge of determining the reincarnation of all lamas, including of course, the Dalai Lama.
The news about the political situation will continue. The news about reincarnation? The Dalai Lama may have even more startling news in store on that front: he's indicated he may chose his next incarnation, it may be a Westerner, and he wouldn't rule out it being a woman.
Vote for this article to appear in the Recommended list.