Clarifying the Dalai Lama’s Remarks on Reincarnation

The Dalai Lama. Photo from

The Dalai Lama. Photo from

Robbie Barnett, a professor at Columbia University, writes about the recent reporting┬áthat the Dalai Lama’s current incarnation — the 14th — might be his last one. Barnett shows convincingly how the Dalai Lama’s words were misunderstood by various news agencies. He also points to the irony of China insisting that the Dalai Lama follow traditional Tibetan systems of recognizing reincarnations — a process the Chinese government would seek to control — instead of innovating a new way of choosing his successor, as the current Dalai Lama has said that he will do.

I’ll devote another blog post to the topic of reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism and the unique role of the Dalai Lama within this system, but I did want to pass along this thoughtful article in the meantime.

One last tip: be sure to read about Her Excellency Mrs. Doring in the article! The bawdiness and irreverence of 19th Century Tibetan humor…who knew?

What Does Buddhism Require?

Young monks getting provisions before a teaching. Boudhanath, Nepal

Young monks getting provisions before a teaching. Boudhanath, Nepal

This is a couple months old, but Professor Jay Garfield has an excellent interview with “The Stone,” a philosophy blog at the New York Times.

Check it out! I’ll definitely be using this in my introductory classes next year. He makes clear and accessible points about the internal diversity of Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths, reincarnation, the process of going for refuge, and the Buddhist teachings on personal identity and selflessness.

Highly recommended.