Dalai Lama feels reincarnation system should end, lama system changed

His Holiness the Dalai Lama responding to questions asked by youth leaders from countries disturbed by conflict on the second day of conversation with peacebuilders at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 24, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

(TibetanReview.net, Oct26’19) – In a remark that China may be hard put to digest, the Dalai Lama has suggested Oct 25 that the tradition of reincarnation had its origins in a feudal set up and “should end now”. China claims to have liberated Tibet from imperial subjugation and its people from feudal serfdom but claims imperial inheritance of sovereign right to appoint reincarnations – which it calls ‘living Buddhas’ – of Tibetan Buddhism.

Interacting with a group of 25 students on a six-month Ancient Indian Wisdom certificate course at the Government College, Dharamsala, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet pointed out that in India the Buddhists had no tradition of reincarnation or the Lama institution, reported tribuneindia.com Oct 25.

“The tradition should end now as reincarnation has some connection with the feudal system,” timesofindia.com Oct 26 quoted him as saying, addressing the gathering which was joined by more than 100 students from several universities in North India, including 18 Tibetans, 78 Bhutanese, 10 Ladakhis, two Arunachalis and four Africans at his residence in McLeodganj.

The Dalai Lama’s reaction reportedly came when he was asked a question on keeping alive traditional values in modern times and passing them on to future generations.

“Any culture needs to evolve over a period of time. Like the Buddhist community in India has no tradition of reincarnation or lama institution. It developed in Tibet. I think there is some feudal connection to it and it needs to change now,” he was quoted as having told the students.

“The system should end, or at least change with the changing times. There have been cases of lamas who use reincarnation (to get their way) but never pay attention to study and wisdom,” he said, adding that he feels there should be no institutions of lamas and no reincarnations now.

The Dalai Lama was reported to feel, “Institutions need to be owned by the people, not by an individual. Like my own institution, the Dalai Lama’s office, I feel it is linked to a feudal system.”


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