Reincarnation System

Reincarnation SystemFifth Dalai Lama declared that in the future when a Dalai Lama died his spirit would pass out of the corpse into an infant boy who had been born right at the moment of the Dalai Lama’s death. The problem was to find the right child. In some cases the dying Dalai Lama would predict where his incarnation could be found. Quite often there were many babies born at the same moment and the investigation had to last for years. The child’s body must confirm to the ideal shape, notably a large head and generous ears, which were considered indicative of wisdom.  Objects belonging to the Dalai Lama were identified, which would help establish whether the child was the living in-carnation of the Dalai Lama.

When the child was two to six years old, he was taken away from home by his Regents for training. The parents of the chosen child, usually of humble origin, were also brought to Lhasa and given noble status. The Regents exercised full power until the Buddha incarnate reached the age of eighteen.

As the old reincarnation system had many disadvantages’ Emperor Qianlong introduced in 1692 a new method of “drawing lots from the gold urn.” The new system stipulated that many children were to be selected from various places after the death of a Living Buddha, and each child had a lot with his name inscribed on it.  All the lots were to be put into a gold urn; lamas were to recite Buddhist scriptures. Buddhists believed that recitation of Buddhist scriptures was a process to reincarnate the dead. While people were watching, the high commissioners sent by the Emperor would pick up the lot dropped out of the shaking urn and show it to the people. So the child with his name on it would be considered the reincarnation of the Living Buddha.

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