Questions about who the successor to His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be have generated anxieties among Syracuse Buddhists. Buddhists in Syracuse look towards the Dalai Lama for spiritual guidance daily. And the Dalai Lama’s recent comments that he would explore the issue of his successor in more depth when he reaches 90 years old has many Buddhists in Syracuse wondering what will happen if he dies earlier than that.
Rohit Mullick has reported on the interesting possibility of an ‘Obama Lama’ in his article for the Tibet Sun, “‘Obama Lama’ to be the successor?” A couple of years ago the Tibetan religious leaders were contemplating the possibility of appointing a regent who would oversee the succession of the Dalai Lama until his reincarnation was identified. A leading candidate for this post was 25-year-old OgyenTrinley, the 17th Karmapa.
Ogyen Trinley has been nicknamed ‘Obama Lama’ by US embassy ‘contacts’ because he is “an inspiring fresh face on the Tibetan scene who speaks Tibetan, English and Chinese”. WikiLeaks has revealed a New Delhi US embassy cable that originated on 27 February 2009, which revealed that the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) had also supported the choice of Karmapa as a regent “who could continue to promote the Tibetan struggle on the international stage.” In fact the TYC had advised the Dalai Lama to begin travelling with the Karmapa in order to increase his exposure to foreign leaders and his visibility in the media.
But, the cable also noted “the succession question cannot be simplified. The Dalai Lama and Karmapa belong to different sects and Buddhist leaders are not sure if a regent from a different sect can be appointed.” It is felt that if the succession of the Dalai Lama follows historical precedents this could mean a long leadership gap while the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation is being identified and educated. This gap could leave the Tibetan Buddhists more vulnerable than ever to the whims of the Chinese communists. So even as Buddhists, and it appears the Dalai Lama himself, display problems coping with the realities of the Dalai Lama’s eventual mortality, the issue of his succession remains important.
Mandel News Service