Concerning the discovery and election of a new Dalai Lama, the old method of choosing a name out of a jar seemed to work very well. There was no spirituality involved, only politics.
The 11th and 12th Dalai Lamas did not last too long, so I will skip over to the 13th.
This one was different in that he lasted a long time, had a lot of political unrest to deal with, and did not have to go through the lottery process to be named The Ocean of Wisdom.
A committee usually chose three boys, and then names were drawn. Tupden Gyatso was simply chosen.
The biggest problem of his reign besides the British pushing in and invading twice was the buildup of corruption in the monasteries.
He had to issue a decree against worldliness which included rules that the monks were breaking wholesale.
The list includes No Smoking! No Drinking! No summer picnics! No Singing and Dancing with the peasants for fun! No sneaking out at night without proper identification!
In other words those little monks would take off their distinctive robes and put on civilian clothes and go into the local brothels.
Money was a problem too, as the head monks of the monasteries usually came from rich and aristocratic families and diverted so much food stuffs for their personal bank accounts that the poor serf monks had to go out and beg in the countryside.
By 1931, the problems were still rather severe, so the Dalai Lama issued another stern warning
They were not to drink, gamble, take part in drunken brawls, work out as seasonal laborers, but spend all their time meditating and studying scriptures.
He also saw that the Chinese Communists were starting to be a problem and warned against them.
In 1933 he died probably of heart failure, having been the longest surviving Dalai Lama since the 8th.
He assumed power over the government when he was 20, and stayed on his throne for 38 years. During that time he suffered having to go into exile twice,
He remained interested in lifelong learning and had tutors to teach him Urdu, Chinese, Mongolian and English. His interests ran to modern science, law, economics, astronomy, and geography. He was interested in medicine and was said to know enough to treat the ill.
He also had time to write.
He had five books to his credit, but we don’t know how extensive they were.
They dealt with history of his monasteries and religious matters.
When the funeral ceremonies were begun, he had a huge outpouring of donations so that his monument could be covered in gold.
Once more the administrators had to go and search for the next Dalai, and I have heard several versions of this story.
One source said that there were 16 different candidates.
This source, written by native Chinese, states that there were three search teams.
How this information made it up the ladder to the top officials depends on how much money was paid in bribes I suspect.
Everyone in the country knew that once a boy was chosen, his family was on easy street for the rest of their lives. The parents got large pieces of property, herds of sheep, bolts of cloth, silver, gifts of jewelry, and the other siblings got jobs in monasteries and education paid for.
Here is my take on how a new “soul boy” is chosen.
The clerks in office have a stake in finding a suitable young boy who they can train up and influence. Job security is paramount.
They mount an expedition to a place in a small town or country farm, make up some “signs” like visions in a lake reflection, or flight of birds, and then set out to find a suitable candidate.
In the case of our present Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the retinue of officials rode out to the family farm and presented them with certain articles of personal nature and asked the four year old to choose which one was “his”.
The trick here is that they all were personal articles of the previous Dalai Lama, and there was no way that it could have been an impartial choice.
Show a child a brightly painted picture, beads, walking stick, bowl and prayer wheel, and what happens?
He says” Yes that is mine!” Any one article, even a cup would have sufficed, and since they were all items belonging to the former Dalai, no one could lose.
The officials keep their jobs, the family gets the jackpot, and all of Tibet gets to party.
The present Dalai disclaimed any memory of what happened on that day of Sorting, as he was only 4.
When I pointed this out to an expert, with the additional statement from the lama that he was nothing extraordinary, my expert said that this is the story that is for the public,
In other words the whole establishment of Buddhism in Tibet and now India is lying to us.
Well, I knew that long ago when I studied Buddhism in 1962. There are just so many defects to this religion especially in the matter of reincarnation.
For one, the numbers do not add up. If you were the reincarnation of a former person, then the billions of people alive today had a life in the past. There are not that many bodies in the past to support this claim.
The theory of remembering your past life has been proved at least to my satisfaction to be a hoax. Let’s face it- if you can’t bear the thought of fading to black when you die, having some other explanation helps get you through the night.
And that is what all religions rely on for their power.
Seeing behind the curtain, whether it is called Hinduism, Islam, Christianity or the Order of the Flying Spaghetti Monster will free you to make your own life.