Government Attempts to Regulate the Afterlife

August 26, 2007 at 12:02 pm (funny things, politics, stupidity) (, )

The Chinese government has banned Tibetan Buddhist monks from reincarnating without their permission. Which is kind of hilarious on the surface.

According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.”

But beyond the irony lies China’s true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region’s Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country. By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively 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.

I don’t believe in reincarnation. I also don’t believe that government has any right to co-opt spiritual/religious leaders for their own power hungry political agendas, or vice versa. If only current U.S. politics could serve as a warning.

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