Thursday, March 11, 2010

wrapped in clumps of barley

I finished reading Pico Iyer's The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama earlier this week, and coincidentally on the on the 51st Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day.

According to the Teleegraph:
Traditionally, Tibet's high priests have searched for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama after his death. It took four years to discover the current incarnation, Tenzin Gyatso, in a small farming village in the region of Amdo.

However, the current Dalai Lama, 74, has suggested that his reincarnation may not take place inside China, or that he could nominate and train his successor while he is still alive. He has also said that the position of Dalai Lama may die with him.

Padma Choling, the new governor of Tibet, took the unusual step of making a public statement on the sensitive subject over the weekend, during the current National People's Congress meetings.
...

Mr Choling's comments raise the possibility that the Dalai Lama could be succeeded by two new Lamas, one chosen by Tibetan monks and another by the Chinese government.

Beijing has its own method for naming religious figures in Tibet, based on a lottery that uses a golden urn with names wrapped in clumps of barley. It was used by the Communist party to select its own Panchen Lama, the second highest-ranking figure in Tibetan Buddhism.

My italics: "Beijing has its own method for naming religious figures in Tibet, based on a lottery that uses a golden urn with names wrapped in clumps of barley." It beggars belief. Even my alter ego is reduced to open mouthed incredulity.
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