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Paging Dr. Kafka -- China to Regulate Reincarnation

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Paging Dr. Kafka -- China to Regulate Reincarnation

Old 08-21-07, 06:20 PM
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Paging Dr. Kafka -- China to Regulate Reincarnation

Aug. 20-27, 2007 issue - In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country. By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.

At 72, the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959, is beginning to plan his succession, saying that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it's under Chinese control. Assuming he's able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks. "It will be a very hot issue," says Paul Harrison, a Buddhism scholar at Stanford. "The Dalai Lama has been the prime symbol of unity and national identity in Tibet, and so it's quite likely the battle for his incarnation will be a lot more important than the others."

So where in the world will the next Dalai Lama be born? Harrison and other Buddhism scholars agree that it will likely be from within the 130,000 Tibetan exiles spread throughout India, Europe and North America. With an estimated 8,000 Tibetans living in the United States, could the next Dalai Lama be American-born? "You'll have to ask him," says Harrison. If so, he'll likely be welcomed into a culture that has increasingly embraced reincarnation over the years. According to a 2005 Gallup poll, 20 percent of all U.S. adults believe in reincarnation. Recent surveys by the Barna Group, a Christian research nonprofit, have found that a quarter of U.S. Christians, including 10 percent of all born-again Christians, embrace it as their favored end-of-life view. A non-Tibetan Dalai Lama, experts say, is probably out of the question.
I guess if the next Dalai Lama is born in Tibet, he better be a ... karma chameleon.
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Old 08-21-07, 06:23 PM
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I'm sure glad I live where there's proper separation of church and state! I'd hate for Dubya to be tellin' me when and where I can reincarnate!
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Old 08-21-07, 06:25 PM
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It's a great way to kill your enemies. Just accuse them of being a reincarnated monk.
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Old 08-21-07, 06:30 PM
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All I know is that when I eat Chinese food, my hunger is reincarnated about 30 minutes later. Anyone? I know you're out there, I can hear you breathing.
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Old 08-21-07, 06:31 PM
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When China is done with it reincarnation will probably blow up or be poisoned or something.
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Old 08-21-07, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
It's a great way to kill your enemies. Just accuse them of being a reincarnated monk.
You laugh, but I'm sure that people who claim to be reincarnated will be subject to arrest from now on. Since that's a central tenet of Tibetan Buddhism, I'm sure we'll see a crackdown.
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Old 08-21-07, 07:26 PM
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...but Kafka didn't famously write about reincarnation, right? Didn't Gregor Samsa just wake up one day as a cockroach?
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Old 08-21-07, 08:25 PM
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Yeah, I was wondering about the Kafka reference (but I'm not familiar with all of Kafka's work).
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Old 08-21-07, 09:09 PM
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Kafka wrote a lot about insane beauracracy.
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Old 08-21-07, 09:14 PM
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China to Regulate Reincarnation
Bridey Murphy could not be reached for comment.
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Old 08-21-07, 10:44 PM
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...but Kafka didn't famously write about reincarnation, right? Didn't Gregor Samsa just wake up one day as a cockroach?
I'd suggest reading "The Castle" and "The Trial".
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Old 08-22-07, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Sean O'Hara
I'd suggest reading "The Castle" and "The Trial".
Couldn't you just bold the important parts?
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Old 08-22-07, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
All I know is that when I eat Chinese food, my hunger is reincarnated about 30 minutes later. Anyone? I know you're out there, I can hear you breathing.
Dude, you were totally thinking what I was thinking. It's like you're a pot sticker on my brain.
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Old 08-22-07, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Sean O'Hara
I'd suggest reading "The Castle" and "The Trial".
Touche!
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Old 08-22-07, 02:22 AM
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At a time like this, curiously, you begin to think of the things you regret, or the things you might miss. I would like in general to treat people with much more care and respect. I would like to climb a tall hill, but not too tall, sit in the cool grass, but not too cool, and feel the sun on my face. I wish I could have cracked the Lindbergh kidnapping case. I would very much like to make love to a beautiful woman who I had a genuine affection for. And of course it goes without saying that I would like to visit Tibet. I wish that the Tibetan government would allow the Dalai Lama to return to his native land. Oh, I would like that very much.
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