The following is an excerpt from a rather unusual article:
Tibetan living Buddhas are no longer allowed to be reincarnated without permission from the atheist Chinese government, state media reported Friday.
The new rules are “an important move to institutionalise the management of reincarnation of living Buddhas,” the Xinhua news agency said.
According to the regulations, which take effect on September 1, all reincarnation applications must be submitted to religious affairs officials for approval, Xinhua said.
China is ruled by the Communist Party, which, despite being officially atheist, maintains strict controls over Tibetan Buddhism and all other religions.
Now I know China is probably one of the most highly regulated countries in the world, but isn’t this going a little too far? And obviously they are willing to go to great lengths in order to maintain control. The second half of the article is probably the best evidence of exactly how far they are willing to go to keep it.
Living Buddhas are an important element in Tibetan Buddhism, forming a clergy of influential religious figures who are believed to be continuously reincarnated to take up their positions anew.
Often there is more than one candidate competing to be recognised as the actual reincarnation, and the authority to decide who is the true claimant carries significant power.
This is especially true in the case of the Panchen Lama, the second-most influential figure in Tibetan Buddhism behind the Dalai Lama.
Chinese authorities detained the Dalai Lama’s choice as the Panchen Lama in 1995 when the boy was six years old, and he has not been seen in public since.
The Chinese government’s choice as the Panchen Lama has meanwhile been paraded around the country in recent years to promote China’s rule over his homeland. – [Yahoo/AFP]
When an atheist state decides to sequester religious icons, and elect their own, you know they are seriously hell bent on control by any means necessary. And China knows how to do it better than anyone. Government regulation at it’s finest…