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On Dalai Lama's 87th b'day, US backs Tibetans' right to choose their religious leaders

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Washington | July 7, 2022 1:55:51 AM IST
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wished Dalai Lama on the occasion of his 87th birthday and extended support to the Tibetan community's efforts to preserve Tibet's distinct cultural traditions, including the ability to freely choose their religious leaders.

"I extend best wishes to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the occasion of his 87th birthday today. His Holiness brings light to his fellow Tibetans and so many around the world by promoting peace, encouraging inter-faith harmony, and advocating for the preservation of Tibetan language and culture," Blinken said in a statement.

"The United States will continue to support His Holiness's and the Tibetan community's efforts to preserve Tibet's distinct linguistic, religious, and cultural traditions, including the ability to freely choose their religious leaders," he added.

Tibetans across the world on July 6 celebrated the 87th birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama. The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) of the Tibetan government-in-exile organized the Dalai Lama's 87th birthday in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.

Hundreds of Tibetans including monks, nuns, school students, and foreigner supporters gather at the main Buddhist temple, Tsuglagkhang.

Since 2007, Chinese authorities have imposed regulations limiting the recognition of reincarnate lamas, which include most of the religious leaders in Tibetan Buddhism. These provisions specify that reincarnations may not be recognized without state approval and must be born within China's borders.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), high-ranking incarnations must be selected using the "Golden Urn," an 18th-century Chinese lottery system that had scarcely been used by Tibetans until 2007, when the party mandated it as the only legal way to select top-ranking lamas.

These regulations - imposed by a political party that denounces religion as delusion and implemented by a government that, in Tibet, bans its employees from religious practice - are widely understood as preparation for what officials call the "post-Dalai era." They are the legal groundwork for the Party's plan to capitalize on the future death of the current Dalai Lama, who is 87 and in exile, by appointing their choice as the next one.

Chinese authorities have seen fit to use force, intimidation, and intrusive supervision to remove the Dalai Lama's influence over Tibetan Buddhism and enforce the state's absolute control over religion, according to HRW. It is a precedent that promises further violence, persecution, and travesties of the tradition. (ANI)

 
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