Is the Reincarnation of Dalai Lama a Truth or Myth?


This is the perhaps the best time to throw light on the reincarnation of Dalai Lama. Recently the 14th reincarnation of Dalai Lama (Lhamo Dhondup) announced that he would start the quest for the next reincarnation and would shortly retire from his present position. Lhamo Dhondup has won the Nobel Prize for Peace. He has led the Tibetans through the aggressive intents of Chinese government. Though, presently in exile in India, he has been an effective leader. The announcement of his search for reincarnation has again posed questions. Many sceptics have opined that there is no such thing as the reincarnation of Dalai Lama and it is an unfair means to place someone close at the top of the affairs. Some even believe that the next Dalai Lama should be chosen by voting and not by signs. So let us take a deep delve into the reality.

The 14th Dalai Lama

In Tibetan Buddhism, Dalai Lama is the highest of the Lamas. He is chosen in a manner of his rebirth. It is believed that the Dalai Lama would be reincarnated as a human belonging to the same sex as his predecessor. The reborn human will show some extraordinary signs that will make people believe that he is actually the reincarnation of the earlier Dalai Lama. But in this science oriented age many have trounced this philosophy as trash.

So let us take the simple case and study the history of reincarnation of 13th Dalai Lama as Lhamo Dhondup according to the memoirs of his mother Diki Tsering.

Dalai Lama 14th As a Child

At the Age of 1 and 2

According to the Memoirs, Lhamo was a quiet and sombre child who liked to stay indoors most of the time. When his mother was away he used to drink only from his mother’s cup. No one was allowed to touch his blanket. He used to pack his clothes every now and then and when asked the reason he would say he needs to travel to Lhasa and would take all the family members with him. As his mother recalls she had never mentioned about Lhasa to him. When he was asked about where he had come from he would say “he had come from heaven”.

When 2 Years Old

A party of officials were given the task of identifying the 14th Dalai Lama and visited Lhamo’s family home thrice. On their first visit an eminent Lama, Khetsang Rinpoche brought two staffs with him. Lhamo simply picked one of these staffs and struck Rinpoche claiming that the staff was his and Rinpoche had taken it unrightfully. On a later visit Lhamo stuck his hand underneath the robe of Rinpoche and took out a rosary. He claimed this rosary to be his. In fact that rosary was presented to Rinpoche by the 13th Dalai Lama himself. On the third visit the party members presented a bowl of candy, two rosaries and two ritual drums to Lhamo. After taking one candy from the bowl and presenting it to his mother, he went ahead and picked up one rosary and drum. These items belonged to 13th Dalai Lama. During a 3 hour session with Lhamo the party members spoke in the local Lhasa dialect (which Lhamo had never heard before) but the young boy had no problems in answering them back.

Image Signifying the Reincarnation of Dalai Lama

Meeting with Ma Pu-fang

Sixteen candidates had been shortlisted who would be judged by the governor Ma Pu-fang. While all the other children cried, Lhamo sat quietly. When his term came, he instantly recognised Pu-fang though he had never seen him before.

After such tests Lhamo Dhondup was declared as the 1r4th Dalai Lama. The accounts of Dalai Lama’s mother amply testify to the old belief in the Tibetan Buddhist that Dalai Lama never dies he just changes form. There can be no question about the reality of this belief now. There are some things that even science cannot explain!

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