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China Warns of Fake Living Buddhas
   2015-12-07 19:59:05    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Huang Yue

A profile picture of Zhang Tielin, a fake Living Buddha.[Photo: hz.edushi.com]

Chinese authorities are reportedly considering the creation of a database of sanctioned "Living Buddhas."

This follows on the heels of a new, controversial video making the rounds.

CRI's Luo Wen explains.


The video began circulating via Weibo last week in China.

In it, a self-proclaimed Living Buddha named Baima Aose, is seen ordaining mainland actor Zhang Tielin as a living Buddha himself as part of a ceremony in Hong Kong.

The controversy stems from both Baima Aose himself, as well as the process he used to anoint the actor as a Living Buddha.

Gyatso Ling is one of the 358 recognized Living Buddha's currently in Tibet.

"The reincarnations of Living Buddhas have to follow certain rules in Tibetan Buddhism. Every Living Buddha should have a monastery for self-cultivation." On top of not following the proper procedures, Baima Aose's own standing as a Living Buddha is also in question. The Sichuan-based Kathok Monastery, from which Baima Aose claims he obtained his Living Buddha status, has described him as a "fake."

He has also been accused, like a number of others, of being a con-man.

Zhu Weiqun is an advisor with the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

"Fake Living Buddhas swindle money from practitioners in eastern and central China and trick women into having sex with them. Some of them then return to Tibet and engage in illegal 'splittist activities.' "

The Living Buddha system in Tibetan Buddhism took shape in the 13th century after Tibet became an administrative district in China during the Yuan Dynasty.

The religion holds that the soul of a senior lama, or monk, is reincarnated in the body of a child who will then grow up to become a so-called Living Buddha.

Under Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the search for a Living Buddha is said to be complex, involving divination, interpreting dreams, oracles and prayer.

Because of this, a new set of rules on the reincarnation of Tibetan Living Buddhas was enacted in 2007.

It stipulates that all reincarnations need approval from regional and central authorities.

The latest controversy is also prompting calls for the creation of a nation-wide database to identify those who are legally ordained as a Living Buddha.

For CRI, this is Luo Wen.



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