Business (4/5 Wed) – US-born Mongolian child named by Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of Tibetan Buddhism’s third most important spiritual leader is pictured for the first time – risking China’s fury

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Dalai Lama names US-born Mongolian boy as 3rd highest leader in Buddhism


1. A Mongolian boy with US dual-nationality has been revealed as the incarnation of the third most important spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism and was pictured for the first time alongside the Dalai Lama. Pictures show the US-born boy, aged around eight, in a face mask and wearing a bulky red robe at a ceremony alongside the 87-year-old Dalai Lama in Dharamshala is in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

2. The formal title of the child, who is said to have a twin, is the tenth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoché – the third most important spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism and the faith’s leader in Mongolia, according to The TimesRumours about the boy’s identity have swirled around the spiritual community for years, but his existence has only now been confirmed with his public appearance in India, where the Dalai Lama lives in exile.

3. The unveiling could spark fury in China, which has previously said it will only recognise Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leaders their special government-approved appointees have chosen. In Mongolia, the news about the Dalai Lama and his ceremony with the young boy, resulted in intense excitement among Buddhists in the country as well ascontempt among secular nationalists and alarm among those who fear that it will provoke the rage of the country’s neighbour, China’, according to The Times

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4. The Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1989 for his peaceful activism on behalf of his native country Tibet.   Born in 1935, he was identified as the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama when he was two years old.He fled to India in early 1959 from the Tibetan capita Lhasa after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, and has since worked to draw global support for linguistic and cultural autonomy in his remote and mountainous homeland. China, which took control of Tibet in 1950, brands the Nobel peace laureate a dangerous separatist

5. Pondering what might happen after his death, the Dalai Lama anticipated some attempt by Beijing to foist a successor on Tibetan Buddhists. Many of China’s more than six million Tibetans still venerate the Dalai Lama despite government prohibitions on displays of his picture or any public display of devotion.Back in 1995, when the Dalai Lama named the new Panchen Lama, which after him is the most important figure in Buddhism, the Chinese arrested the boy and replaced him with their own government-approved candidate. Announcing the Mongolian boy as the reincarnated Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoché also has political implications.

6. In 2016, when the Dalai Lama visited Mongolia, Beijing imposed several measures on the country like delaying loans or closing the border, which caused the government to ban him from visiting Mongolia again. However, before he departed, the Dalai Lama announced that the reincarnation of Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoché would be found in Mongolia and he was searching for him. 

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7. In the Mongolian city of Ulan Bator, the boy as the reincarnation of the spiritual leader has caused quite a stir, as the boy is the scion of one of the city’s richest business and political dynasties under father Altannar Chinchuluun and mother Monkhnasam Narmandakh.

8. Robbie Barnett, a Tibetan Buddhism expert at SOAS University of London, told The Times: ‘It can be taken by China as a challenge to their past claim to sole authority in choosing lamas. ‘These things can cascade into confrontation with China, which could penalise Mongolia in damaging ways.’

9. This is why the Mongolian government has remained tight-lipped about the recent appearance of the Jetsun Dhampa, as they fear similar responses from China like 2016. Another implication could be an even more important reincarnation, that of the Dalai Lama himself, who previously said he would not be reborn in a Chinese-controlled territory, leaving possible Tibetan Buddhism-practising countries India, Nepal, Bhutan or Mongolia.

What do you think would happen if all world leaders were chosen in this way? What would change?

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