Database set up to combat fake Living Buddhas

Updated: 2015-12-08 07:15

By Cui Jia/Luo Wangshu(China Daily)

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Database set up to combat fake Living Buddhas

Dedrug-Jamyangxerabpaldan (right), the reincarnated soul boy of the 5th living Buddha Dedrug-Jampalgalsanggyatso, who passed away in March 2000, disperses his blessings on a recent day in Draipung Temple by touching people's heads. The temple is in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region. The 7-year-old boy became the incarnated successor of the 5th living Buddha following a 10-year search. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Tibetan Buddhism holds that the soul of a Living Buddha is reincarnated in a child. The selection procedure is strict and lengthy, and nearly all Living Buddhas are from the Tibetan ethnic group.

Duoshi Rinpoche, a Living Buddha from Amdo county, Tibet, said the requirements to become a Living Buddha have to be learned during childhood. He said the ceremony Baima Aose performed was "just a joke" and Zhang had made a fool of himself.

Criminal activities involving fake Living Buddhas still occur frequently, Duoshi Rinpoche said.

"I've heard that some monasteries in remote places even put the title of Living Buddha up for sale and trade it with wealthy businessmen," he added.

Xiaba Rinpoche, a Living Buddha in Aba Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Sichuan and executive director of the provincial Buddhist Association, said the database will soon start operating and will be open to the public.

He said the prevalence of fake Living Buddhas can be attributed to people not having access to genuine ones, enabling opportunists to take advantage.

Li Decheng, director of the Religious Research Department at the China Tibetology Research Center, said followers of Tibetan Buddhism outside of Tibetan areas have limited understanding of the religion, such as the process required to ordain a Living Buddha.

This is why these followers are often deceived by fakes, Li said.