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#186168 - 09/22/07 10:55 AM Re: The Dalai Lama [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
this is sortof connected to the thread topic. recently, I saw this interesting documentary:
Believing that highly-evolved lamas choose to be reborn to lead the rest of us to nirvana, children born at auspicious times are carefully watched for signs of being a reincarnate and are usually identified at a young age by their past-life recall. These people are called trulkus/ reincarnated lamas - the most famous being the Dalai Lama. In the last remaining Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, reincarnation is a very much a way of life. But things have taken a curious turn in recent years. It seems more and more children are claiming to be reincarnates - a situation so worrying, the Bhutanese government has stepped in to oversee the ancient process of identifying reincarnates. Born-Again Buddhists unravels the mysteries of this centuries-old Himalayan belief.

more and more children claiming to be reincarnates. hmmm...when I looked that up for a news story or something, I only got articles similar to this:

perhaps not exactly the same thing...but then again, maybe connected.

I wonder if the recent news of China has something to do with those increase of claims?
Chine regulates Buddhist reincarnation

If Tibet recently allows mutliple children to claim of reincarnation and recognizes them as such (according to the documentary, there are currently 45 children with recognized claim) - could that have been a modern political move to allow it? to literally 'spread its roots' by widening the lineage tree? McBuddhism ? lol

could the political counter-punch from China be in response to what it saw as a political offensive? true, that Tibetians are and have been severely repressed by the government of China since Tibetians refuse to 'play ball' to their tune...

but this whole thing, if what I'm aluding and connecting is validly linked and true, puts a serious question to the nature of cornerstones to the Buddhist religion (as a religion not as a philosophy).

If faiths are willing to redefine themselves for political or contemporary gains, then what does that say of how arbitrary a nature the institute of religion itself really is?

#186169 - 09/22/07 03:54 PM Re: The Dalai Lama [Re: Ed_Morris]
Bushi_no_ki Offline

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1669
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
Ed, one of the factors involved in this is Buddhism's belief that the cycle of reincarnation continues until you reach Nirvana. Lamas and Bodhisatvas are reborn to help people to reach Nirvana. An increase in the number of Lamas and Bodhisatvas could easily be because of an increase in the world's population. New Buddhist Forums has some really good discussions and information on it. Also, some of the members have been practicing a long time and can answer any questions you might have.

#186170 - 09/22/07 09:04 PM Re: The Dalai Lama [Re: Bushi_no_ki]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Ed, if you're asking if there is a deliberate attempt by Tibetans to undermine the long term efforts of China to control Tibet by confronting the policy to determine who is a reincarnate lama...I'd say no. If you're asking if there are self-interested frauds in Tibet looking for validation...I'm sure there are. If you're enquiring about a phenomena of 'so many all of a sudden'...there are various reasons depending on your POV. And coming from a (more or less) Buddhist POV...the observation and question really shouldn't bother a Buddhist. There are politics in every religion...but rebirth, not reincarnation, is central to Buddhism, and really not open to interpretation.

#186171 - 09/23/07 10:05 PM Re: The Dalai Lama [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
no, these are not frauds claiming validation. If I understood correctly, the documentary suggested that not only are there more children/families claiming it, but there are acually 45 children in recent years who have been legitimately recognized as incarnates....which is a shift away from the traditional very very few, or one.

I agree, that the metaphoric 'rebirth' is a central notion of it's teachings/philosophy. whereas reincarnation is more the policy of it's institute.

subtracting out the political guessing, I'm wondering if a institute can change it's 'rules' for Earthly/practical reasons, then how self-serving were those rules to begin with?

of course, throughout history we see blatent evidence of all religions (again, I'm only speaking in terms of the institutions - not beliefs) revamping themselves in order to survive popular thought. I mean, it would be a hard sell nowadays for an institution to take the position that all celestial bodies revolve around the Earth or that everything is only thousands of years old....yet at one time all world religions took similar official positions in thinking such.

Raised consciousness thru empirical knowledge has and will continue to drive change, as does the inescapable ripples of political change. The institute has the goal of survival - in order to survive it must change. As an institute, it can explain, reinterpret and justify the changes all it wants, but it still changes 'with the times' as best it can without seeming like a farse.

I believe you are correct though, that the individual needn't be concerned with what the institution does. A person's personal journey can't really be regulated by policy or doctrine....and that really is the important thing.

#186172 - 09/24/07 11:06 AM Re: The Dalai Lama [Re: Ed_Morris]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH

I question the cynicism of trying to understand religions. If they are only of human origin perhaps it's justified, perhaps its not.

The Latter Day Saints as an institition changed doctrine on plural marriages. It's the same issue, was this a true directive from the creator, or people bowing to political convention.

But if they can't prove that it was of devine intervention, you can't prove that it was just a secular response either.

It all comes down to what faith you have.

After all China ruling Tibet is just which kid has a bigger stick after all.
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#186173 - 09/24/07 01:49 PM Re: The Dalai Lama [Re: Victor Smith]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
and I question the non-questioning.

If it's conceivable that docturine changes for secular reasons, then it's also conceivable that political agendas can be given a pass just because they fall under non-secular categories.

That seems to fit the category of 'corruption' to me. again, only at an institutional level - I'm not speaking anything about personal faiths or beliefs.

#186174 - 09/24/07 02:17 PM Re: The Dalai Lama [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Well, once direct experience devolves into an 'ism' its an artifact anyway.

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