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Dalai Lama's 'democratic leadership' ridiculous: living Buddha
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The Dalai Lama's recent call for Tibetans to "embrace the democratic system of electing a leader" is totally ridiculous, a living Buddha of Tibetan Buddhism said Sunday.

"It is totally against the tradition and convention of the Tibetan Buddhism, where the incarnation of the Dalai Lama should be decided according to a set of fixed procedures," Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak, a living Buddha of the Kagyu sect, told a group of visiting reporters in Lhasa, capital of Tibet autonomous region.

"These procedures should be in line with the religious and historical conventions," he said. "Moreover, the incarnation should be approved by the Chinese central government."

The 59-year-old living Buddha's comments came days after the Dalai Lama encouraged his followers to "democratically elect" a leader after he dies because he believed that Tibetans should "move with the larger world community."

"Today, it is clear to the whole world that democracy is the best system despite its minor negativities, " the Dalai Lama said in a video clip shown to hundreds of monks, nuns and lay people in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala in June 21.

The Dalai Lama has suggested before it is up to Tibetans whether they continue with the spiritual institution after he dies, and could order an election among Tibetans abroad.

Speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak, dressed in traditional Tibetan costume, said the Dalai Lama's latest move was "not based on religious concerns but full of political intention."

"The incarnation of a living Buddha should neither be handpicked by anyone, including the Dalai Lama himself," he said, referring to the Spanish man chosen by the Dalai Lama two decades ago as the incarnation of the deceased Lama Yeshe.

The man, Osel Hita Torres, 24, bemoaned last month his unhappy childhood at a monastery and spoke of his decision to abandon the faith.

Torres made world headlines in 1986 when the Dalai Lama recognized him, then aged 14 months, as the incarnation of Lama Yeshe, who had died in California two years earlier.

He had been brought to see the Dalai Lama in India by his parents and ended up living at a monastery there, where he was only allowed to socialize with others who had been proclaimed incarnations, until he turned 18.

"It is a good example to show that if the incarnation is chosen not through religious procedures, problems will arise," said Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak.

"I fully understand the young man," he said. "We should respect his own choice."

Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak was the head of a delegation of five Tibetan deputies to the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, which visited the United States and Canada in March.

(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2009)

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