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US child named reincarnation of important Buddhist spiritual leader by Dalai Lama

Joe Harker

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US child named reincarnation of important Buddhist spiritual leader by Dalai Lama

Featured Image Credit: Tenzin Choejor

The Dalai Lama has named an eight-year-old boy born in the US as the reincarnation of one of Tibetan Buddhism's most important spiritual leaders.

The child's formal title is the 10th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche, making him the third most senior Lama in Tibetan Buddhism behind the Panchen Lama and the Dalai Lama himself.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that after death the soul of a Lama is reincarnated in a child who is identified after a series of rituals

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Though born in the US, the boy is of Mongolian heritage and he has suddenly become a very important figure, especially considering China's ongoing occupation of Tibet and opposition to the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama says an eight-year-old boy is the next reincarnation of the third most important leader in Tibetan Buddhism. Credit: Tenzin Choejor
The Dalai Lama says an eight-year-old boy is the next reincarnation of the third most important leader in Tibetan Buddhism. Credit: Tenzin Choejor

When the Dalai Lama named a new Panchen Lama in 1995 he was arrested by the Chinese government and replaced him with their own candidate.

Beijing insists that Tibet is part of China and have controlled it since the end of their invasion in 1951, while the Dalai Lama was forced to flee following an unsuccessful Tibetan uprising in 1959.

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Since then he has been a shunned figure by the Chinese government, and those who interact with him are likewise ostracised with punishments ranging from erasing famous figures to sanctioning entire countries.

When the Dalai Lama visited Mongolia in 2016 and declared that the Jetsun Dhampa had been born and the search begun to find him the Chinese government responded by closing the border between the countries, delaying a series of loans and cancelling diplomatic meetings which had been planned.

According to The Times, the boy's father is Altannar Chinchuluun, a professor of mathematics at the National University of Mongolia, and his mother is Monkhnasan Narmandakh, chief executive of major company Monpolymet.

The new spiritual leader's grandmother Garamjav Tseden was a member of parliament in Mongolia.

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Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has said that his own successor will not be reincarnated in Chinese controlled territory. Credit: AGENZIA SINTESI / Alamy Stock Photo
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has said that his own successor will not be reincarnated in Chinese controlled territory. Credit: AGENZIA SINTESI / Alamy Stock Photo

The Times also reports that Mongolian media is saying the reincarnation of the Jetsun Dhampa is one of two twin brothers named Aguidai and Achiltai Altannar, both born in the US in 2015, though they say it is not clear which one has been recognised by the Dalai Lama.

The question of who gets to appoint Buddhist spiritual leaders has come back into focus and sets the stage for the eventual wrangling over who the next Dalai Lama will be,

The Buddhist spiritual leader is 87 years old now and has already said he will not be reincarnated in territory owned by China, essentially invalidating any candidate Beijing puts forward for the position.

Topics: News, World News, China, US News

Joe Harker
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