The Central Tibetan Administration has recently commented on the so-called Order no. 5 of China's State Administration of Religious Affairs on "Management Measures for the Re-Incarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism". According to the CTA the document contains contradictory statements and wild claims, and reflects the "true" motives of the Chinese leadership. It will serve as a tool for the Chinese government to repress Tibetans under their tyrannical rule, and will also be recorded as a gross historical misrepresentation. The CTA have issued a statement repudiating the document.
Religious freedom is universally accepted to means that all citizens can believe or not believe, in any religion, and that a believer can practise and propagate his or her religion, and especially that there should be no state of political interference in religious affairs. The People's Republic of China includes freedom of religious belief among the fundamental rights of the people in its constitution. Yet it continues to forcibly interfere in the religious activities of all religions of the country, according to its political needs.
During the last many centuries since the recognition of Tulkus (or Living Buddhas) came into being, the principal disciples of the concerned lamas and responsible officials of their spiritual seats have freely recognised their re-incarnated beings, based on the latter's faith in and spiritual bond with the former. Recognition of Tulkus is something that can neither be appointed from above, nor be elected by the general populace, or be bestowed upon someone as "titles" of "positions". Since the task involved is to search for the place where the previous being has taken rebirth, it must be recongised through the prognositc signs demonstrated by the concerned re-incarnation beings, in consultation with the lamas or protective deities gifted with intuitive powers, and through other traditional or religious methods of testing. Highly realised beings take rebirth for the benefit of the Dharma and sentient beings. As such their meritorious service is not incument upon the state's approval, or the formal recognition accorded by it. Therefore simply by issuing an order on measures for the recognition of Tulkus, it cannot fullfill the order's twin purpose of undermining or diluting Tibetan Buddhism, and exercising control over the hears and minds of the Tibetan people through state-sponsored "Living Buddhas".
The document says that the "Living Buddhas who have historically been recognised by drawing lots from the Golden Urn shall have their reincarnating souls recognised by this very tradition". Yet the Chinese government tried to determine the reincarnation of the 9th Panchen Lama without resorting to the Golden Urn method, and also did not strictly follow the rituals concerned with the re-incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama.
The document says further that the "reincarnating living Buddhas shall not be interfered with or be under the dominions of any foreign organisation or individual". At present His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the supreme leader of the entire Tibetan Buddhist world, the heads of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and the traditional Bon Religion, are all residing in exile. If a system is instituted, whereby all of them were denied the right to offer guidance, and have the ultimate say, in matters relating to the recognition of Tulkus in their respective schools, it will completely jeopardise the unique tradition, or the religious system, of recognising Tulkus. It will also increase the number of fake Tulkus, enjoying the so-called state recognition. This in turn will erase the great faith and respect the common people have for Tulkus, thus greatly contributing to the destruction and dilution of Tibetan Buddhism.
The document does not specify the basis on which the decision in granting approval to, and recognition, Tulkus will be taken. The converned officials of the Religious Affairs Bureau and the State Council, who are supposed to be the competent authorities in this respect, give approval to recognise, and accord state recognition to a Tulku. If this is done after having determined confidently that the inheritance lineage of the Tulku is real, that his lineage has continued to the present day and that he is the true eincarnating soul of the previous lama, it would suggest that the Chinese Communist government have accepted, and are actually practising, the Buddhist philosophy. However, if the government follow their whims in giving approval and according state recognition, is it not in controvertible evidence of the fact that the PRC's overall policy on religion, including these measures for managing Tulkus, is nothing but a deceitful lie?
The Central Tibetan Administration have made an appeal to the Tibetan people, to their leaders and officials and the general public in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as other Tibetan autonomous prefectures and counties, that as provided for the PRC's Law on Regional National Autonomy: - "If a resolution, dcision order or instruction of a stat organ at a higher level does not suit the conditions in a national autonomous area, the organ of self-government of the area may ...cease implementing it after reporting to and receiving the approval of the state organ at a higher level", and that they should impress upon their legitimate authorities that this order is not in keeping with the actual prevailing situation of the Tibetan autonomous areas, and so they should be allowed to repudiate, and halt the implementation of this order.
Kalon for Religion and Culture, Central Tibetan Administration 13 November 2007