MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova – The Dalai Lama will refuse to be reborn if Tibet can't gain its independence from China; Chinese authorities have asked the Tibetan spiritual leader to respect Buddhist traditions.
"We had a Dalai Lama for almost five centuries. The 14th Dalai Lama now is very popular. Let us then finish with a popular Dalai Lama. If a weak Dalai Lama comes along, then it will just disgrace the Dalai Lama. Tibetan Buddhism is not dependent on one individual. We have a very good organizational structure with highly trained monks and scholars," the Dalai Lama said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, according to an English transcript of his words obtained by Al Jazeera.
In response to this statement, China has called upon the Dalai Lama "to respect the historic practice of reincarnation." However, it seems the exiled Tibetan leader doesn’t intend to change his stance.
According to Reuters, Hua Chunying, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said that "China follows a policy of freedom of religion and belief, and this naturally includes having to respect and protect the ways in which Tibetan Buddhism is passed on."
She stressed that according to a long lasting tradition, the title of Dalai Lama "is conferred by the central government." According to Hua Chunying, the present Tibetan spiritual leader apparently has some hidden motives; he is trying to undermine the traditional order and "negate [the] history" of Tibetan Buddhism.
Al Jazeera notes that "Beijing has on occasion signaled efforts to declare its own Dalai Lama." Since the Dalai Lama-in-exile has refused to follow the tradition, China may "appoint" its own religious leader.
Reuters refers to a historical precedent set in 1995, when China put a Tibetan boy, who had been proclaimed the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, under house arrest and replaced him with another candidate. Many Tibetans refused to accept the new Panchen Lama, the second most notable spiritual figure in Buddhism after the Dalai Lama in Tibet.
Some experts suggest that China should allow the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet.
"The Chinese have a real chance of winning over the Tibetan population if they allow the Dalai Lama to come back and treat him well, and he acknowledges them for doing that," emphasized Richard Barnett, an expert on Tibet at Columbia University, as cited by Al Jazeera.
According to the expert, the Dalai Lama has the upper hand right now: the Chinese government can't "see a way forward without him," although "it's difficult to see a way with him."