Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Totalitarianism for future generations

China has apparently decided that they aren't content ruling over the citizens of Tibet. The nation is now looking to exert their influence over those who have left, and they're even making plans regarding the Tibetan future. How are they doing this, you might ask?

Well, a recent declaration by the Chinese government has banned reincarnation without government approval, specifically as it relates to Tibetan Buddhists. The new regulations have led the Dalai Lama to declare that he will reincarnate somewhere other than Tibet. Of course, this move will likely create a situation where two Dalai Lamas co-exist. That is, naturally, provided that the two never meet and physically touch, because that could lead to an explosion of epic proportion.

Looking at the big picture, it's obvious that China's decision to regulate reincarnation is largely an extension of their ongoing feud with the current Dalai Lama and his followers. However, we're going to let the big picture speak for itself, and we're going to focus on the details. Specifically, the details of how this entire thing could (or could not) work.

For example, when a Buddhist is about to die, do they have to get themselves to a government office to fill out reincarnation paperwork? Are they given a list of future bodies that they can select from, or is it a grab bag type of deal? If all of their choices are already taken, do they simply wait in queue until an opening comes up, or are they asked to make new choices?

And what about the flip side? What about the Buddhists that will declare that they won't follow the new edicts? Can China actually prevent them from coming back in a new form for a new life? What about people that select one form for reincarnation, but fool everyone and sneak out in a new body? And would anyone want to be the next Keanu Reeves?

Overall, it seems a little silly to us to try and regulate reincarnation. In fact, we'd have a similar reaction if our government decided that they wanted to try to regulate the Rapture, or possibly NASCAR. It may be a worthwhile idea, but you're just going to end up running into a brick wall before too long.

1 comment:

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