Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anniversary of the Dalai Lama of Tibet

It was on this day in 1950 that Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama was enthroned as the temporal as well as spiritual ruler of the Himalayan Kingdom of Tibet. He was 15-years-old at the time, having been recognized as the reincarnation of the XIII Dalai Lama since 1939. Under normal circumstances his regent would have held power for a longer period of time but due to the increasing pressure and aggression from China the people of Tibet petitioned for the Dalai Lama to be declared of age sooner and assume his powers as temporal monarch. They had faith that his spiritual leadership would save them from the crisis they faced. Ultimately, however, Tibetan religion fell prey to the Chinese "People's Liberation Army" and in 1959 the Dalai Lama left Tibet to go into exile in India in the aftermath of a popular uprising that was bloodily suppressed by the communists. He has remained in exile ever since, however, the last "god-king" of Tibet officially ascended his throne 59 years ago today. The Mad Monarchist sends the Dalai Lama best wishes on this occasion and best wishes for all the Tibetans loyal to his government-in-exile and hopes that Tibet's legitimate monarch will one day be restored to his proper place in the Potala Palace.


  1. I must admit I'm somewhat confused as to the way that the Tibetan monarchy will be continued once His Holiness passes away. Much like the Vatican, the Dalai Lama cannot have an heir designated.

    The Chinese have, as I recall, replaced a hostile senior Buddhist Lama with a more sympathetic one, and appears to be attempting to influence the selection of the next Dalai Lama in favour of a communist sympathiser. Quite how the politics and dynamics of the situation will pan out is difficult to tell, not least due to my own lack of knowledge on the issue, but it may be possible that a long interregnum may follow (since the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of the Buddha, they actually have to find that person, and since there may be two possible candidates... well, I honestly can't say).

    Still, a toast to His Holiness' health, and the future prospects of his kingdom.

  2. You are not the only one. Alot of this is based on heresay but it was said once that the Dalai Lama gave assurance that if he had not been restored before his death he would be reincarnated in the exile community and the lamas loyal to the government-in-exile would find 'him' and that would be the true reincarnation. As you point out it is presumed that the communists would do the same as they did with the Panchen Lama and "find" a new Dalai Lama whose parents are loyal CCP members. Another foreign observer claims that the Dalai Lama once said to him that he may be the last Dalai Lama, though this was coming from a secular liberal who might have been adding some 'wishful thinking' to something the Dalai told him. Whatever happens, unless there is a restoration in his lifetime the next reincarnation will be unprecedented in any event. As you suggest it is also not impossible that there be a long interregnum. There was such an event with the passing of the former Bogd Khan of Mongolia. He died in 1924, his reincarnation was not declared until 1936, and then secretly as the Soviet client state in Mongolia had declared there would be no more reincarnations and it was not until 1999 that he was enthroned in Mongolia by the XIV Dalai Lama while in the country on a tourist visa (he had previously been installed in 1991 and enthroned in 1992 in India).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...