Dalai Lama’s Confusing Statements About HIS Reincarnation — Let Me Please Explain.
by Anura Guruge
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As the above listed 7 posts will amply testify I am NO stranger to reincarnation. If anything, with due modesty, I do consider myself quite the expert on the matter. I have given reincarnation more thought than most and I have questions that have stumped Buddhist scholars for years. Check my post and if you must do a Google search on my name. You will then realize that I was better equipped to study Buddhist reincarnation than most. So, with that out of the way, to the matter at hand …
I fully understood, without even a second of uncertainty, what the Dalai Lama means when he says that he will NOT be reincarnated when he dies.
I am at a loss as to why the Chinese are acting as if they do not understand what the heck he is talking about. This has to be disingenuousness on their part; they have to have some folks in China who still understands Buddhism.
What does the Dalai Lama means when he says that he will NOT be reincarnated when he dies?
What he is stating, albeit unbecomingly brashly, is that he, because he has been such an upstanding soul, will reach NIRVANA when he dies this time.
To be fair to him, that is a fair enough claim for him to make. I knew someone else, A Buddhist activist, who for years was totally convinced that this was his last life — he was going to reach nirvana when he dies. Well he is dead now and I highly doubt be reached nirvana. But that is another story.
What the Dalai Lama has, most likely unintentionally, raised is a very intriguing question as to the legitimacy of his office!
I had, until yesterday, never given this much though because the Dalai Lama is NOT in the same school of Buddhism as that practiced in Sri Lanka. The Dalai Lama, in that respect vis-à-vis Sri Lankans, is like the Archbishop of Canterbury to Catholics. Yes, he represents some subset of Buddhist but he is definitely, by no long chalk, represents all Buddhists — let alone being the head of Buddhism! I hope all of you knew that. The analogy I gave you with the Archbishop of Canterbury is good and germane. In the same way that the Archbishop of Canterbury is not the leader of all Christians, neither is the Dalai Lama of all Buddhists. Though I grew up for 14 years in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in a household immersed in all things Buddhists I had never heard of the Dalai Lama!
Anyhow, to the matter at hand. Lets think about this. The whole Dalai Lama concept is CONTINGENT on the Dalai Lama’s NOT reaching nirvana. Let me give you another analogy. Of late it is becoming a fad for recent popes to be Sainted. That basically says that they were exceptional Christians — that being what a Saint is. Well, nirvana, in Buddhism, is the equivalent of being Sainted. If you are really, really, really good and have accumulated a mountain of merit YOU will escape the cycle of reincarnation and reach nirvana. Well, what the Dalai Lama principle assumes is that each Dalai Lama is ALWAYS, by definition, ‘FLAWED’! Not good enough to reach nirvana. That is like saying that a pope is not wrthy enough to be a Saint (and to be fair there have been many of these).
This Dalai Lama, who I think of as a Pop celebrity as opposed to a religious leader, is upsetting the apple cart, and the Chinese, by wishing to differ. He, thanks to hi ego, believes that he is special among Dalai Lamas. He, unlike all others, will reach nirvana. Simple as that. n reincarnation. The Sri Lankan Buddhist population has been growing in leaps and bounds. Where are all the NEW souls, and we are talking MILLIONS, coming from? Basically the World population is increasing. Simply put there weren’t enough souls in the past to keep on sustaining growth per the reincarnation belief.
Well this is all poppycock anyway. There is no reincarnation. So in that way he is right. Just like I, he too will not be reincarnated when he dies. We are both, both born Buddhists, when we die … are just going to die. No afterlife. Nothing. In a sense nirvana. No reincarnation. No afterlife. Death is final.