China Appoints Tibetan Monk to High Office
China has appointed a 16-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk to a high-profile advisory body in Tibet, grooming yet another religious figure for future leadership role in the post-Dalai Lama era in the restive region.
Suonam Phuntso, regarded as the incarnation of Reting Rinpoche, a title held by abbots of Reting Monastery, an influential Buddhist centre in central Tibet, was appointed to as a member of the Tibet Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference,
(CPPCC) an advisory legislature.
The Reting Rinpoche, once a religious regent in Tibet will be the youngest member of political advisory body, state-run China Daily reported today.
Analysts say the appointment is significant as in the past Reting Rinpoche acted as a selector to choose the Dalai Lama.
Suonam Phuntso was "enthroned as the spirit child of the 6th Reting Living Buddha when he was four," according to a report by state-run Xinhua news agency.
He then moved into Reting Monastery.
China's official procedures stipulates that appointment of all monks to high offices in Tibet should be in accordance with the rules.
Analysts see the new appointment as attempt by China to have its say in the post-Dalai Lama phase.
In 2010, China appointed 22-year-old Panchen Lama to the national CPPCC, the country's top advisory body.
Over 95 Tibetans many of them monks and nuns have committed self-immolations in recent months calling for the return of 77-year-old Dalai Lama from exile in India.
According to overseas Tibetan groups self-immolations also were aimed at protesting Chinese rule.
China however terms it as yet another campaign by the Dalai Lama and his supporters to discredit it internationally and launched a crackdown in which a monk and two others were arrested for inciting people to carry out self-immolations.
The tech-savvy young Rinpoche who dabbles with Iphone, likes surfing the Web and uses the micro blog network of Tencent to interact with public.
"I have more than 5,000 fans. I talk about Buddhism with people online quite often," he told the
Significantly his latest post says "Don't care about who is the leader, but care about who treats the people well".
"Living Buddhas have to attend to the people. Without people, there are no leaders, nor Living
Buddhas," he said.
Monk Suonam is the second Buddhist Monk to make it to an important body whose members are appointed by the government.
Suonam besides having aptitude for technology, also does physical exercise to remain fit.
"My favourite exercise is sit-ups. Because I am fat," he says.
Some of posts in his blog included "Faith is the lighthouse of life. Without faith, we'll get lost on our way forward, and life will become meaningless."
In another entry, he re-posted a micro blog about scientists at NASA designing a sky crane manoeuvre for the safe landing of the Mars rover, Curiosity.
"I like technology," he said.
He is currently reading Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic, a book about an Australian born without arms or legs who overcame his disabilities to live a rich, fulfilling life.
Apart from Buddhism, he said he also learns Chinese, Tibetan and English.
"I study social sciences, economics but I like English the most."
The Reting Rinpoche said he will "keep the Reting linage of patriotism and the love for the religion".
His new proposals included archiving and digitizing Buddhist literature for easy distribution and storage.
A total of 115 religious figures including the Rinpoche have been "elected" members of the Tibet Committee of the
They took 63 more seats in the body than in the last term, and account for 18 per cent of all the seats.
Among them, many were born in the 1980s and 1990s, the Daily report said.
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