fredag 22. mars 2019

Is This the Last Dalai Lama?

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s flight from Tibet. His departure exposed the rift between the Tibetan faithful and the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.), one which has not closed in the six decades since—and which threatens to become even deeper once the current Dalai Lama, 83-year-old Tenzin Gyatso, passes on.

For the Tibetan community inside and outside of China, the prospect raises painful but unavoidable questions: How will Tibetans within the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) be allowed to mourn a religious leader that Beijing has previously demonized as a “wolf in monk’s robes”? Will Tibetans remain largely non-violent (at least toward bodies other than their own) in expressing their resistance to P.R.C. policy on religion? And, of no small consequence given the central importance of the institution of the Dalai Lama to Tibetan Buddhists, how and when will the successor to the Dalai Lama be chosen? How will this process inflame or forestall tensions on the Tibetan plateau, and, more broadly, between China, India, and the United States?