The search for the Dalai Lama
There was a legend saying that as soon as Buddha was born, he vowed to end birth, old age, suffering and death, otherwise said as to break the grip of life upon the soul. When he was twenty-nine, he realised that nothing is escapable, and eventually he came up with the Four Truths: that existence is suffering, and suffering is inevitable; that suffering is caused by desire; that eliminating desire will get rid of one’s suffering; and that the right conduct --- the Eightfold Path --- will rid one of desire.
The cycle of reincarnation came from the belief that the soul does not just involve one thing. It is believed that reincarnation is caused by ego. If one get rid of his ego, he would attain nirvana, which mean extinction.
The Dalai Lama, known as the greatest teacher, is regarded to be the reincarnation of the Buddhist god of grace, Chenrezi. He has been in 14 human forms 14 times since 1391. Every time the Dalai Lama dies, the lamas of Tibet have the task to find his reincarnated form. They will search for a male boy who is born almost immediately after his death who will be brought up to become the leader of Tibet’s Buddhists. When the 13th Dalai Lama died in 1933, it took the monks 6 years to find his successor.
Before they start looking for the boy, they will look out for normal and paranormal clues: the lamas scrutinize astrological signs, visions, dreams, and other omen to establish where they should start their quest. The corpse of the 13th Dalai Lama provided the first clue. The head of the deceased is turned towards the northeast. Strangely enough, in the mausoleum where he was laid, a star-shaped fungus grew on the northeast wall. In the main courtyard of the monastery housing the tomb, a dragon flower unexpectedly grew on the northeast wall.
The lamas decided that northeast is the direction where they should start their search. Later, a vision in a dream came to one of the monks. It showed a place considerated scared by the Buddhists --- the lake at Chos Khorgyal, China. He also saw a house. The lamas concluded that they should be able to find the child near there.
In 1937, a group of lamas and monks set off in search of the place. Two years later, they found it. He disguised himself as a servant and went into the house. He saw a two-year-old boy, Tenzin Gyatso. He instantly demanded the rosary that belonged to the Dalai Lama, which the lama has hidden it under his disguise. He later identified other things that belonged to the Dalai Lama.
The lama decided to look for physical confirmation that the boy was the currently embodiment of Chenrezi. The moles and birthmarks found on every Dalai Lama were indeed in place. The lamas made many arrangements for the boy and his family to go to Tibet.
The so-called ‘reincarnation’ of the Dalai Lama is not a proof that repeated birth do exist. There are many things that can argue that this is not reincarnation. One is that reincarnation is drive by religious belief. Also, one can argue that eventually, the lama are bound to find a suitable child to proclaim him as the leader.
On the other hand, there are many cases from the West of people who to their own surprise have discovered that they have lived more than one time on Earth. There is no traditional belief in reincarnation in the West.
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