Government Permission Required for Reincarnation

The New York Post reports that Buddhist monks in China have to seek government permission before they are reincarnated. I’m not sure if the permission is granted in advance or retrospectively.

China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs announced Order No. 5, a law covering “the management measures for the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism.” This “important move to institutionalize management on reincarnation” basically prohibits Buddhist monks from returning from the dead without government permission: no one outside China can influence the reincarnation process; only monasteries in China can apply for permission.

However, before you laugh too loud it is well worth reading the whole article which points out that this order may not be as odd as it first seems to our Western eyes. Ben Witherington also has some good comments on the subject.

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