China does not have a role in Dalai Lama’s succession process: Japan Buddhist Conference for World Federation 

DHARAMSALA, 23: Japan’s Buddhist Conference for World Federation has told China in no uncertain terms that China does not have a role in the Dalai Lama’s succession process amidst China’s insistence that they will have the final say on the issue of the Dalai Lama’s succession.

“His Holiness, Dalai Lama, the 14th turned 87 years on July 6, 2022. The issue of his future successor is gradually gaining attention all over the world. We the monks of Japan believe that Tibetan people must decide upon the next successor based on their Tibetan Buddhist culture and history,” media reports quoted Secretary General of Japan Buddhist Conference for World Federation reverend Eihiro Mizutani as saying in a letter telling China to back off from meddling in the Dalai Lama’s succession process.

The Secretary General of the Japan Buddhist Conference for World Federation, an umbrella organization that brings together several sects of Japanese Buddhism has fiercer stated in the letter that “PRC, which controls Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is working out the policy which would choose the Dalai Lama’s successor under the Chinese government’s leadership.” 

Mizutani has called out China, whose national policy is based on communism and is considered non-religious for their hypocrisy and added that “non-religious people deciding the religious leader is contradictory in itself”.

Japanese Buddhist Conference adds that matters related to religion must be in accordance with religious values, hence people who do not possess those religious values, ought not to intervene in such matters.

The letter concluded by declaring that matters related to religion must be in accordance with religious values, arguing that people without those values should not intervene in such matters.

In 2007, the Chinese government announced a set of regulations known as Documents No. 5. that mandates reincarnations of Tibetan spiritual lamas to be recognised and approved by the Chinese Communist Party in an attempt to take control over all aspects of Tibetan culture and tradition.

The CTA and its Kashag (cabinet) have long maintained that Dalai Lama alone can decide the matter of his reincarnation and that “no government or any individual has the right to interfere in the matter of reincarnation of spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.” 

The Dalai Lama has long maintained that the Tibetan people will decide if the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not. In the past, the Tibetan spiritual leader has said that if the Chinese government is so interested in his reincarnation, they should first find the reincarnation of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Meanwhile, in 2020 the US passed the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020, a bill entailing sanctions against Chinese officials interfering with the selection of the 15th Dalai Lama and to deepen the US support for Tibet among others as it declared that the role of picking a successor to the Dalai Lama belongs to the Tibetan Buddhist system, the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist leaders.

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