– the day's happenings in perspective –

Thinking Aloud: Tibetan Succession Crisis?

Not What You Might Think

Dec. 25, 2014 by Darius

Since the 15th century, the Dalai Lamas have served as Tibet’s spiritual leaders.  This week, though, the current Dalai Lama hinted that he might be the last of the line.  The Dalai Lama said it would be better for Tibet’s people that the institution of the Dalai Lama cease to exist entirely than that his successor be “stupid.”  What the Dalai Lama probably really meant by “stupid” was “a creature of the Chinese government.”

New Dalai Lamas are chosen in a rather complicated way.  After a Dalai Lama dies, senior monks and lamas identify a home where the Dalai Lama’s spirit has been reincarnated (sometimes by following the direction of the smoke from the cremation of the previous Dalai Lama).  The lamas identify a child within the home (up to this point, always a boy), who then undergoes various tests to determine if he really…

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