The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, on Monday said it was possible that once he dies his incarnation could be found in India, where he has lived in exile for 60 years, and warned that any other successor named by China would not be respected.
Sitting in an office next to a temple ringed by green hills and snow-capped mountains, the 14th Dalai Lama spoke to Reuters a day after Tibetans in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala marked the anniversary of his escape from the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, disguised as a soldier.
He fled to India in early 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and has since worked to draw global support for linguistic and cultural autonomy in his remote and mountainous homeland.
China, which took control of Tibet in 1950, brands the 83-year-old Nobel peace laureate a dangerous separatist.
Pondering what might happen after his death, the Dalai Lama anticipated some attempt by Beijing to foist a successor on Tibetan Buddhists.
“China considers Dalai Lama’s reincarnation as something very important. They have more concern about the next Dalai Lama than me,” the Dalai Lama said.
“In future, in case you see two Dalai Lamas come, one from here, in free country, one chosen by Chinese, then nobody will trust, nobody will respect [the one chosen by China]. So that’s an additional problem for the Chinese. It’s possible, it can happen,” he added, laughing.
China has said its leaders have the right to approve the Dalai Lama’s successor, as a legacy inherited from China’s emperors.
However, many Tibetans — whose tradition holds that the soul of a senior Buddhist monk is reincarnated in the body of a child on his death — suspect any Chinese role as a ploy to exert influence on the community.
Born in 1935, the current Dalai Lama was identified as the reincarnation of his predecessor when he was two years old.
Speaking in Beijing at a daily news briefing yesterday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) said the 14th Dalai Lama himself was chosen by following centuries-old religious rituals and history, which were “respected and protected” in rules and ordinances regulating religion.
“Therefore reincarnations, including that of the Dalai Lama, should observe the country’s laws and regulations and follow the rituals and history of religion,” Geng said.
Many of China’s more than 6 million Tibetans still venerate the Dalai Lama, despite government prohibitions on displays of his picture or any public display of devotion.
The Dalai Lama said that contact between Tibetans living in their homeland and in exile was increasing, but that no formal meetings have happened between Chinese and his officials since 2010.
Informally, however, some retired Chinese officials and businessman with connections to Beijing do visit him from time to time, he added.
He said the role of the Dalai Lama after his death, including whether to keep it, could be discussed during a meeting of Tibetan Buddhists in India later this year.
However, he added that although there was no reincarnation of Buddha, his teachings have remained.
“If the majority of [Tibetans] really want to keep this institution, then this institution will remain,” he said. “Then comes the question of the reincarnation of the 15th Dalai Lama.”
If there is one, he would still have “ no political responsibility,” said the Dalai Lama, who gave up his political duties in 2001, developing a democratic system for the up to 100,000 Tibetans living in India.
During the interview, the Dalai Lama spoke passionately about his love for cosmology, neurobiology, quantum physics and psychology.
If he was ever allowed to visit his homeland, he said he would like to speak about those subjects in a Chinese university.
However, he does not expect to go while China remained under communist rule.
“China — great nation, ancient nation — but its political system is totalitarian system, no freedom. So therefore I prefer to remain here, in this country,” he said.
The Dalai Lama was born to a family of farmers in Taktser, a village on the northeastern edge of the Tibetan plateau, in what is now China’s Qinghai Province.
During a recent Reuters visit to Taktser, police armed with automatic weapons blocked the road. Police and more than a dozen plain-clothed officials said the village was not open to non-locals.
“Our strength, our power is based on truth. Chinese power based on gun,” the Dalai Lama said. “So for short term, gun is much more decisive, but long-term truth is more powerful.”
Female flight attendants working for Japan Airlines would next month be allowed to wear trousers and abandon high heels, the company said on Thursday, after a feminist campaign took off. The airline became one of the first major Japanese firms to announce the shift after a campaign known as #KuToo last year rejected mandatory high heels at work, drawing more than 32,000 signatures in an online petition. The campaign is part of a wider feminism movement in Japan, with Japan Airlines saying that the new policy was aimed at boosting a “diverse working environment.” PANTS PERMIT “This will be the first time to introduce
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including
PORNHUB: Campaigners warn that videos of serious crimes, such as rape, are being uploaded to the site, which has failed to ban or moderate illegal content British lawmakers and campaigners are calling for urgent action to stop videos of rape, revenge porn and child abuse being posted on Pornhub as traffic to the site booms amid a worldwide COVID-19 lockdown. Pornhub’s traffic is up a record 12 percent this month compared with last month, as millions of people across the world are told to stay in their homes. Pornhub owner Mindgeek has used the coronavirus lockdowns to promote its site, giving free Premium access to people living in isolation in Italy, Spain and France. The offer has led to a huge increase in visits to the site from affected
TARGETED: Although hackers are known to be seeking to capitalize on concern over COVID-19, a cybersecurity expert said he had never seen anything to this extent before Elite hackers tried to break into the WHO earlier this month, sources said, part of what a senior agency official said was a more than two-fold increase in cyberattacks. The identity of the hackers was unclear and the effort was unsuccessful, WHO Chief Information Security Officer Flavio Aggio said. However, he warned that hacking attempts against the agency and its partners have soared as they battle to contain COVID-19, which has killed more than 15,000 worldwide. The attempted break-in at the WHO was first flagged to Reuters by Alexander Urbelis, a cybersecurity expert and attorney with the New York-based Blackstone Law Group,