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Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

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Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby Carol on Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:16 pm

Statement of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso On The Issue of His Reincarnation
September 24th 2011

(Translated from the Tibetan)


Introduction


My fellow Tibetans, both in and outside Tibet, all those who follow the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and everyone who has a connection to Tibet and Tibetans: due to the foresight of our ancient kings, ministers and scholar-adepts, the complete teaching of the Buddha, comprising the scriptural and experiential teachings of the Three Vehicles and the Four Sets of Tantra and their related subjects and disciplines flourished widely in the Land of Snow. Tibet has served as a source of Buddhist and related cultural traditions for the world. In particular, it has contributed significantly to the happiness of countless beings in Asia, including those in China, Tibet and Mongolia.

In the course of upholding the Buddhist tradition in Tibet, we evolved a unique Tibetan tradition of recognizing the reincarnations of scholar-adepts that has been of immense help to both the Dharma and sentient beings, particularly to the monastic community.

Since the omniscient Gedun Gyatso was recognized and confirmed as the reincarnation of Gedun Drub in the fifteenth century and the Gaden Phodrang Labrang (the Dalai Lama’s institution) was established, successive reincarnations have been recognized. The third in the line, Sonam Gyatso, was given the title of the Dalai Lama. The Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, established the Gaden Phodrang Government in 1642, becoming the spiritual and political head of Tibet. For more than 600 years since Gedun Drub, a series of unmistaken reincarnations has been recognised in the lineage of the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lamas have functioned as both the political and spiritual leaders of Tibet for 369 years since 1642. I have now voluntarily brought this to an end, proud and satisfied that we can pursue the kind of democratic system of government flourishing elsewhere in the world. In fact, as far back as 1969, I made clear that concerned people should decide whether the Dalai Lama’s reincarnations should continue in the future. However, in the absence of clear guidelines, should the concerned public express a strong wish for the Dalai Lamas to continue, there is an obvious risk of vested political interests misusing the reincarnation system to fulfil their own political agenda. Therefore, while I remain physically and mentally fit, it seems important to me that we draw up clear guidelines to recognise the next Dalai Lama, so that there is no room for doubt or deception. For these guidelines to be fully comprehensible, it is essential to understand the system of Tulku recognition and the basic concepts behind it. Therefore, I shall briefly explain them below.

continued here
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby PeterB on Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:25 pm

Reincarnation by committee ? Well its different.
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby sunyavadi on Sun May 06, 2012 5:14 am

that online statement seems to have been taken down, regrettably. It was a useful reference.
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby clyde on Sun May 06, 2012 6:16 am

“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

DO NO HARM
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby sunyavadi on Sun May 06, 2012 6:18 am

thanks - I will keep a copy this time.
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby Jage on Sun May 06, 2012 6:42 am

Well I would like to think that this thing is not my concern at all. :rbow:
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby l_rivers on Wed May 09, 2012 3:43 am

As an atheist I don't believe in reincarnation. I think it has been an unnecessary system of intellectual epicycles for a Buddhism that in which there is no actual gravity well of an Atman. With a Mahayana view to practice to benefit all equally, the driver of saving one's own skin is diminished.

But, being brought up in the Tibetan tradition, I was always open to the fact causes and conditions in fact do re-iterate local likely combinations of events and saw no problem of assigning people with the right qualities the job of picking up where another left off.

Think of the American Presidency. Look at a row of presidents and you will see they actually share a core identity of experience that made them more essentially a "successive" incarnations of the same hot seat as much as diverse personalities. In a real sense they are all "That Guy".

A kind of "soft" interpretation of the Tulku idea actually has one foot in a kind of probability and one foot in a viable social usefulness. Especially if the tulku was a way to democratize a selection of children getting an education by picking "reincarnations" from the hinterlands.

Just thought I'd aire my thoughts on this here because my circle of Dharma friends frost over like a bottle of liquid nitrogen when I bring up these things. :hide:


PS: no soap box for views I anticipate will unsettle, I promise.
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby aryannatimothy on Thu May 10, 2012 5:54 am

Reincarnation is something that is still new to me. I have read several books and articles about Dalai Lama and I must say that I like how he sees and perceives things.
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby Anders on Thu May 10, 2012 10:15 am

l_rivers wrote:As an atheist I don't believe in reincarnation. I think it has been an unnecessary system of intellectual epicycles for a Buddhism that in which there is no actual gravity well of an Atman. With a Mahayana view to practice to benefit all equally, the driver of saving one's own skin is diminished.

PS: no soap box for views I anticipate will unsettle, I promise.


I don't really care if people don't believe in rebirth or not, but it does set my fingers tingling to type if it's due to misunderstanding how Buddhism understands and presents it.

I don't think rebirth in Buddhism can be written off as a motivational device or attempted intellectual justification. Whether it is to spur the arhat, or because the Buddha just followed local convention, neither fit the ubiquitous strength the Buddha taught rebirth with. Basically, he taught rebirth because he claimed direct personal knowledge of this as part of his three-fold awakening and believed that this was how the world actually works. No other explanation or interpretation can do proper justice to the source material, whether shravakayana or mahayana.

What people make of the Buddha's claims is their business, but that is imo the only academically sound premise from which to approach the matter.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby goddess on Thu May 10, 2012 12:23 pm

Thanks for sharing and for finding another link.
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby littletsu on Thu May 10, 2012 1:45 pm

"As an atheist I don't believe in reincarnation." - Do yo mean that the two are correlated? There are a whole lot of people who believe in God but don't believe in
reincarnation/ rebirth. Didn't you mean you are a materialist, and that you don't believe in the spiritual? Just a guess. :)
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Thu May 10, 2012 2:35 pm

littletsu wrote:"As an atheist I don't believe in reincarnation." - Do yo mean that the two are correlated? There are a whole lot of people who believe in God but don't believe in
reincarnation/ rebirth. Didn't you mean you are a materialist, and that you don't believe in the spiritual? Just a guess. :)

I had a similar reaction to the statement "As an atheist I don't believe in reincarnation." Atheism is usually used to mean a non-belief or disbelief in God or gods. Belief in a God or gods (however they are defined) has nothing to do with reincarnation, so the connection sort of excapes me. In my view, reincarnation or rebirth (I don't think they are really different, but that's another story) as expressions of the functioning of the law of karma and cause and effect is the understanding about how life works on the psycho-spiritual level just as the laws of thrermodynamics, gravity, motion are the understanding about how life works on the material level. So to say "As an atheist, I don't believe in reincarnation" sounds as odd as saying "As an atheist, I don't believe in the three laws of motion or the theory of general relativity."

Even though I don't agree with the premise upon which the logic is based, it does at least make logical sense to me to say "As a materialist I only believe in the mundane appearances of the world and the laws of physics related to mundane appearances, and I don't believe in any transmundane activity or laws related to any transmundane aspects of reality."

_/|\_
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Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby l_rivers on Thu May 10, 2012 2:40 pm

littletsu wrote:" Didn't you mean you are a materialist, and that you don't believe in the spiritual? Just a guess. :)


Thanks for asking because this is something that matters a lot to me.

To me the word "materialist" is a word that carries the load of a rebuke to all that is non-rational - and this means the aesthetic sense and the non-cognitive as well.

Imagine an arrogant man sniffing and saying "No womanish squishy thoughts for ME, I am a rational thinking MAN and I have it all figured out and I make sense where you are wallowing in sentimentality!"

Now realize you've just visualized Ayn Rand. The "go to" Dude of self-centered manipulativeness as a belief system.

To me ethics is an aesthetic sense mapped out on the mechanism of the cosmos.

BUT, because an aesthetic sense mapping out a unifying field of meaningfulness "relates" everything in a array of empathy - it is a RELIGIOUS experience. You ENJOY a sense of belonging, usefulness and quality of Being. It is an Existential quality of living issue. That is the proper subject of religion beyond superstition.

I am not a materialist because as a Buddhist I realize the substance of entities are their ethical color in my spontaneous responsiveness - my karma making character.

If substance is an attribute projected by my ethical character, than the mechanism nature of the cosmos is not an issue. Substance is a superstition just like the Atman. If reality falls between the metaphor of the wave and the particle for the Scientist, so to is the matter of matter a non issue for an atheist Buddhist.

The reality of Telekinesis, mind-reading and Ghosts and such are not an ethical, and thus not a Buddhist concern. :daisy:
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Thu May 10, 2012 2:53 pm

l_rivers wrote:Imagine an arrogant man sniffing and saying "No womanish squishy thoughts for ME, I am a rational thinking MAN and I have it all figured out and I make sense where you are wallowing in sentimentality!"

Now realize you've just visualized Ayn Rand. The "go to" Dude of self-centered manipulativeness as a belief system.


What does that have to do with materialism?

l_rivers wrote:To me ethics is an aesthetic sense mapped out on the mechanism of the cosmos.

To say that ethics is a matter of aesthetic sense seems to me to be a very odd use of the term aesthetic which means attractiveness. But to use a similae structure I would say that reincarnation is an identity sense mapped out on the mechanism of the cosmos.

l_rivers wrote:BUT, because an aesthetic sense mapping out a unifying field of meaningfulness "relates" everything in a array of empathy - it is a RELIGIOUS experience. You ENJOY a sense of belonging, usefulness and quality of Being. It is an Existential quality of living issue. That is the proper subject of religion beyond superstition.

This shows where the sense of ethics (not aesthetics) and the sense of identity oberlap in reincarnation. The sense of belonging is an identity sense.


l_rivers wrote:The reality of Telekinesis, mind-reading and Ghosts and such are not an ethical, and thus not a Buddhist concern. :daisy:

What does that have to do with reincarnation?

_/|\_
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Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby l_rivers on Thu May 10, 2012 3:21 pm

I was responding to the way Materialism is often used in a popular context.

People often associate being a Materialist with not believing in "spiritual" phenomena. Then they equate spiritual phenomena with souls, spirits and even things "having a meaning". To many, God and multiple lifetimes and mind-reading all constitute a single class - the other worldly.

And people often associate being a Materialist with the late 19th and early 20th Century an aggressive male attitude of dominance - an attitude.

To me an aesthetic sense is a sense of appreciativeness based on one's own subjective response. It is very this worldly. And ethics are a appreciativeness response. They can be rationalized and formalized in logic. But a recognition of beauty in Nature, for example, is just one form of subjective appreciativeness. Ethics is another. Mathematicians have a sense of deep connectedness in profound equations or maths.

I guess I use the word aesthetics as meaning intuitive appreciativeness of a unique form of value. I think Spirituality is a matter of an aesthetic sense targeting a sense of relationship on a deep level. Religious numinousity - the glow of global meaningfulness and value in Being.

I am not a materialist in the above senses. I am a Naturalist in the sense used in Baggini, J., 2009. Atheism, Sterling., the discussion starting on page 6. - Baggini, J., 2003. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, USA. is good in this regard too. If someone wants look at Atheism without a chip on its shoulder, those books are great and easy reads! :Namaste:
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby klqv on Fri May 11, 2012 6:23 pm

Anders Honore wrote:
l_rivers wrote:As an atheist I don't believe in reincarnation. I think it has been an unnecessary system of intellectual epicycles for a Buddhism that in which there is no actual gravity well of an Atman. With a Mahayana view to practice to benefit all equally, the driver of saving one's own skin is diminished.

PS: no soap box for views I anticipate will unsettle, I promise.


I don't really care if people don't believe in rebirth or not, but it does set my fingers tingling to type if it's due to misunderstanding how Buddhism understands and presents it.

I don't think rebirth in Buddhism can be written off as a motivational device or attempted intellectual justification. Whether it is to spur the arhat, or because the Buddha just followed local convention, neither fit the ubiquitous strength the Buddha taught rebirth with. Basically, he taught rebirth because he claimed direct personal knowledge of this as part of his three-fold awakening and believed that this was how the world actually works. No other explanation or interpretation can do proper justice to the source material, whether shravakayana or mahayana.

What people make of the Buddha's claims is their business, but that is imo the only academically sound premise from which to approach the matter.

it's a good point, that. it's not really just that the buddha was thinking / preaching in a pre scientific world so can be forgiven. but that if there's no rebirth then a lot of what he said can only really be understand as a kind of delusion - his awareness of past lives etc..


well maybe anyway. FWIW i probably don't believe in rebirth though... not sure about naturalism -some forms seem likely.
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Fri May 11, 2012 9:54 pm

l_rivers wrote:I was responding to the way Materialism is often used in a popular context.

People often associate being a Materialist with not believing in "spiritual" phenomena. Then they equate spiritual phenomena with souls, spirits and even things "having a meaning". To many, God and multiple lifetimes and mind-reading all constitute a single class - the other worldly.

The many are mostly confused about these things, which is why Buddha Dharma clarifies that karma has nothing to do with whether Gods and the host of heavenly beings (devas) exist. From the point of view of Buddha Dharma even the heavenly beings, including the hightest Gods, are subject to karma which includes rebirth. Only the unborn is not subject to rebirth. When materialism and spiritualism are considered a pair of opposites, each is a one-sided view of reality. There is a funny materialism which comes in the religious or spiritual context in which the world is looked at as material that is to be transcended. This form of spiritual perspective is also simultaneoulsly materialistic.
l_rivers wrote:And people often associate being a Materialist with the late 19th and early 20th Century an aggressive male attitude of dominance - an attitude.

I haven't found this in my experience. Patriarchial domination goes way back and is part of every spiritual tradition since the partrarchial religions have long ago crushed out most of the matriarchial traditions. That patriarchial domination has continued into the 19th and 20th century materialist culture doesn't have any real cause in materialism, but in the ability of patriarchial perspectives to adapt to social conditions.
l_rivers wrote:To me an aesthetic sense is a sense of appreciativeness based on one's own subjective response. It is very this worldly. And ethics are a appreciativeness response. They can be rationalized and formalized in logic. But a recognition of beauty in Nature, for example, is just one form of subjective appreciativeness. Ethics is another. Mathematicians have a sense of deep connectedness in profound equations or maths.

I would like to hear more about this because I'm not sure I understand the perspective that connects ethics with aesthetics. Is aesthetic sense just a subjective response? It seems that there is great debate about this hyothesis since the days of the early Greek philosophers who were contemporay with Shakyamuni Buddha. Is there no aesthetic sense for the transmundane?

Is the recognition of beauty in nature a subjective response or a universal response?

Is ethics just a subjective appreciative response? Because this seems unsatisfactory even to some materialists they put forward the theory of a genetic basis for ethics to account for the sense of universality in ethics that is explained by just calling it subjective.

Also, I don't see any basis to call math merely an appreciative response. To me, math is built into the structure and fabric of our consciousness. Perhaps the word "appreciative" is being used in some way that I am unfamiliar with. If "appreciative" is being used as "sense receptivity" (vedana) then that would be different and take it out of the merely subjective evaluation that I am associating with appreciation or appreciative response.
l_rivers wrote:I guess I use the word aesthetics as meaning intuitive appreciativeness of a unique form of value. I think Spirituality is a matter of an aesthetic sense targeting a sense of relationship on a deep level. Religious numinousity - the glow of global meaningfulness and value in Being.
This helps..... some. Once the words "intuitive" and "deep" are used then I take it that we are no longer just within the realm of subjective appreciation. But I don't see how the word "unique" fits in here, except in the sense that every snowflake or fingerprint is unique. So it seems (at least to how I perceive what is being said) that "value" and "numinouity" are being used as pointers, but I'm unclear as to how they are being used. Are they pointing to objects or subjects or to the unborn or what?
l_rivers wrote:I am not a materialist in the above senses. I am a Naturalist in the sense used in Baggini, J., 2009. Atheism, Sterling., the discussion starting on page 6. - Baggini, J., 2003. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, USA. is good in this regard too. If someone wants look at Atheism without a chip on its shoulder, those books are great and easy reads! :Namaste:


Okay, here's a new world for me to explore. I have never heard of Baggini before.

In this definition of "athesism" does the "theism" refer to God or Gods specifically or to all transmundane possibilities in total? This is what would define for me where the chips would fall.

Merriam-Webster defines "theism"as
: belief in the existence of a god or gods; specifically: belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world

So I take this as the working definition for atheism meaning the belief that there is no god or gods as the creative source of the human race and the world. This means that "theism" and reincarnation are incompatible in a certain sense because karma and reincarnation do not accept that God or the Gods are the creative "source" of the human race or the world. To that extent, atheism is more compatible with reincarnation than theism, so that is why it seemed so strange to me to hear "I'm an atheist so I don't believe in reincarnation."

_/|\_
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Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby Jok_Hae on Fri May 11, 2012 11:45 pm

i_rivers wrote:

As an atheist...


When ZM Seung Sahn was asked if he believed in God, he would always smile and say "of course!"

Good teaching, imho.

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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby sunyavadi on Sat May 12, 2012 12:54 am

A Theravada view

Those who use the word "atheism" often associate it with a materialistic doctrine that knows nothing higher than this world of the senses and the slight happiness it can bestow. Buddhism is nothing of that sort. In this respect it agrees with the teachings of other religions, that true lasting happiness cannot be found in this world; nor, the Buddha adds, can it be found on any higher plane of existence, conceived as a heavenly or divine world, since all planes of existence are impermanent and thus incapable of giving lasting bliss. The spiritual values advocated by Buddhism are directed, not towards a new life in some higher world, but towards a state utterly transcending the world, namely, Nibbana. In making this statement, however, we must point out that Buddhist spiritual values do not draw an absolute separation between the beyond and the here and now. They have firm roots in the world itself for they aim at the highest realization in this present existence. Along with such spiritual aspirations, Buddhism encourages earnest endeavor to make this world a better place to live in.


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Re: Dalai Lama Statement on his Reincarnation

Postby Anders on Sat May 12, 2012 11:03 am

klqv wrote:it's a good point, that. it's not really just that the buddha was thinking / preaching in a pre scientific world so can be forgiven. but that if there's no rebirth then a lot of what he said can only really be understand as a kind of delusion - his awareness of past lives etc.


That is more or less what I was getting at, yeah.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"
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