2008-01-22 17:03:35 Xinhua English
LHASA, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government's new rule on the management of reincarnations of Tibetan living Buddhas was affirmed by a living Buddha on Monday.
"The rule, which better protects people's religious freedom, accords with the development of Tibetan Buddhism," said Chubakang Tubdain Kaizhub, a living buddha and vice chairman of the regional Political Consultative Conference.
The rule, issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) on July 18 and took effect on Sep. 1 last year, received extensive support from commissaries on the first session of the ninth Political Consultative Conference of Tibet Autonomous Region.
Chubakang Tubdain Kaizhub said the reincarnation of the Living Buddha was a succession system that distinguished Tibetan Buddhism from other religions or other forms of Buddhism. Based on ancient Tibetan beliefs in the nature of the soul and the unique incarnation theory of Buddhism, it was established to solve the problem of leadership successions in various Tibetan Buddhist sects and monasteries.
In Chinese history, every dynasty of Chinese government had attached great importance to the living Buddhas as they played keyroles in Tibetan religion and politics, he said.
A few problems lay in the reincarnations of Tibetan living Buddhas, said Soi'ham Rinzin, a commissary of the ninth Political Consultative Conference of Tibet Autonomous Region.
He said the fourteenth Dalai Lama had ignored religious ritual and historical convention to decide alone the soul, which disturbed the order of Tibetan Buddhism.
Another commissary named Dawa Cering said, "The rule not only legalized reincarnation, but also standardized the government, who can only manage religious affairs related to the national or public benefit, but lets inner religion activities alone. It is definitely welcomed by the Buddhists and the public."
The SARA said it was an important move to institutionalize management of the reincarnation of living Buddhas, and so-called reincarnated living Buddhas without government approval or the approval of religious affairs departments were illegal and invalid.
The regulation is composed of 14 articles, including the principle, conditions, approval procedures, the duties and responsibilities of religious groups for reincarnation as well as penalties for those violating the regulation.
Tibet became an administrative district directly under the central authorities of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) in the 13th century. Kublai Khan of the Yuan Dynasty conferred the title of living Buddha on Vphag-pa, a religious leader in Tibet at that time. Since then, people began to call eminent monks in Tibet living Buddhas.
The government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) enforced its governance of Tibet by supporting the dGe-lugs-pa Sect. To fight against corruption, the Qing Court systemized and standardized the location, confirmation and enthronement of the reincarnated soul boys.