Buddhist monks to consider whether Dalai Lama should reincarnate

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Source: Religion News Service

By Meagan Clark and Vishal Arora

DHARAMSHALA, India (RNS) — Tibetan Buddhist monks from around the world are gearing up to discuss whether the aging Dalai Lama should reincarnate — and, if he does, then how to prevent Beijing from claiming that Tibet’s next spiritual leader will reincarnate in China.

The monks had been scheduled to congregate in the Himalayas of northern India this week to deliberate on the issue at the 13th Religious Conference on Tibetan Buddhism beginning Thursday (Nov. 29), but the three-day meeting was called off after a high-ranking Tibetan monk, Kathok Getse Rinpoche, died on Nov. 19. Getse Rinpoche was the leader of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.

New dates are yet to be announced for the conference in Dharamshala, where the 83-year-old Dalai Lama and his followers have lived in exile since 1959, but the monks are prepared to deliberate on the steps, interpreted from ancient Buddhist texts, to recognize the reincarnated body if their spiritual leader decides to continue the office after his death. Tibetan Buddhists believe that karma directs a person’s reincarnation, but those who have achieved enlightenment can direct their own path, choosing the body of their rebirth.

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