Who will be the next Dalai Lama? Complete process of choosing the successor & China-Tibet struggle

Who will be the next Dalai Lama, what is the process of choosing the successor of Dalai Lama? Read the article below to gain an insight into the topic and know about the China Tibet struggle for the same
Created On: Mar 26, 2021 15:42 IST
Modified On: Mar 26, 2021 17:18 IST
Dalai Lama successor
Dalai Lama successor

Successor of Dalai Lama: Why in News?

The Dalai Lama successor has been a topic of discussion for quite some time now. With increased differences between Tibet and China over the highest leader of the Buddhist community, the successor is an extremely important person for both of these regions. 

What has happened?

The Dalai Lama escaped from Chinese occupied Tibet in 1959. He fled to India and stayed in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh where he established a parallel Government in exile. He has spearheaded the growth of Tibetan in the Exile community of approximately 150000 as of now. In this, he has been helped by the Indian Government also.

About the current Dalai Lama:

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, one of the most famous Buddhist figures of the century. He is one of the most respected leaders in the past several decades. He celebrated his 85th birthday last year and the question of his succession has been left to be answered ever since. It is also feared that the death of the 14th Dalai Lama may spark political unrest in Tibet and China. 

Dalai Lama: Process of choosing successor

  1. It was in 2011 when the Dalai Lama said that he would decide whether to reincarnate or represent the last avatar of Avalokiteshvara. This is because as per the Tibetan Buddhist customs the Dalai Lama has control over his reincarnation. Once he dies, his soul passes to another person, to be appointed as the next Dalai Lama. 
  2. Assuming that the Dalai Lama goes with reincarnation, he would need to decide how his reincarnation would take place including picking out his successor from India instead of Tibet.
  3. He has given the responsibility of finding the successor to an organization founded by him named Gaden Phodrang Foundation. This group preserves and nurtures the Tibetan culture.
  4. He may choose to be reincarnated as a man, woman or child. 

Politics around the successor of Dalai Lama: Tibet and China

Chinese Government wishes to establish its own Dalai Lama in this position to serve as its puppet in Tibet. However, the Dalai Lama has asked not to trust the Chinese Government once he dies. 

The Tibetans would never agree to any Dalai Lama chosen by the Chinese Government. CCP would reject the Dalai Lama chosen by Tibet and India. 

Along with this, the United States has also vouched to support the Dalai Lama chosen by the Tibetans. 

Experts however fear that China has been adopting a superstitious approach towards Dalai Lama's selection. Beijing is said to be grooming various senior Lamas for their cause. 

In 1995 Chinese Government kidnapped the 11th Panchen Lama which is considered to be the second most important spiritual leader in Buddhism. He wasn't seen ever since and since then Gyaincain Norbu has been sent in as proxy Lama but the Tibetian Diaspora refuses to recognize him. 

It was in 2011 when the Dalai Lama left his role as the political leader of Tibet and remained only its spiritual leader. It is currently headed by Lobsang Sangay. 

What could happen?

In case the China and Tibet issue does not resolve, the world could end up seeing two Dalai Lamas and this may disrupt the Tibetian community and China. This may also increase tensions between India and China. However, it is safe to say that the Tibetans would so far not follow the Dalai Lama chosen by CCP. 

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Who is currently controlling Tibet?

People's Republic of China is the current controller of Tibet

When did Dalai Lama escape from China?

Dalai Lama escaped in the year 1959 and is living in exile in Dharamshala

How old is Dalai Lama?

Dalai Lama is 85 years old currently

Where is Dalai Lama currently?

Dalai Lama currently resides in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh
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