The highlights from the article? Well, China has decided to ban Tibetan Buddhist monks from reincarnating without government permission. Seriously. The article states that the true motive for China is to “cut the influence of the Dalai Lama.” Basically, the law gives Chinese authorities “the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.”
How they plan on enforcing this is beyond me.
The current Dalai Lama, who is 72 years old and living in India, says that he will not be reborn in Tibet as long as China has control. What this means is that “there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks.” So, just to make sure we’re all following here, we’re going to take a symbol of peace and unity and create a great big old fight out of it. Great. And as for enforcing this, well, it seems they’ll just pick their own religious icon that fits the mold.
While this is more a political move on China’s part than it is a religious or spiritual move, it’s still interesting that the Chinese government has passed laws that make it illegal for a Buddhist monk to reincarnate without proper approval. Fascinating stuff, this.
Personally, I’m opposed to limitations on religion, granted, every time I say that I immediately feel compelled to add the seemingly mandatory statement of, well, as long as the religion/faith/spiritual path doesn’t push people to hurt themselves or any other living creatures. I’ve always feared that my uncompromising dedication to choice when it comes to religion will lead some crazy person to bring up some horrible made-up faith where the sacrifice of goats is mandatory and the drinking of your first born’s blood is a daily ritual, but alas, I digress.
Where was I? Oh yes, choice in religion is a plus. Not to get too patriotic here (I am a Soldier, sometimes it happens, I can’t control it, please don’t count it as a fault), but freedom of religion is one of my most favorite things about the US of A. I’ve learned enough about religion and faith in 23 years to know that one thing does not work for all people, and that’s okay. I’ve learned that faith and religion are not bad things; in fact, some of my most favorite people are very, very religious and I wouldn’t want them any other way.
What I don’t like is people telling me I’m wrong because I don’t subscribe to one particular faith, religion or spiritual path. If one faith or religion or spiritual path does, in the end, prove to be the one and only true religious or spiritual path, well, fine. You win. But until then I think everyone should be allowed to bumble along, trying to find the right religious path appropriate and fitting for them and their lives. Additionally, I think we’re supposed to make mistakes and I think we’re also allowed a few stumbles. We’d never learn anything if it wasn’t for mistakes and stumbles along that very cliché road of life. We are, after all, human and I think bumbling comes with that identity.