Slavoj Zizek, The Liberal Utopia, Athens 2007 (1/8)

Zizek quoting the Chinese State Administration of Religious Affairs…” The Management Measures for the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas… Important move to institutionalize Management of Reincarnation… (1) stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate (2)… prohibits Buddhist monks from reincarnating without government permission.”

He then clarifies: “The problem with Tibetan Buddhism is an obvious fact which many western critics tend to forget, the traditional power structure of Tibet, the head of which is the Dalai Lama, is Theocracy. The Dalai Lama unites religious and secular power, so when we are talking about `reincarnation of the Dalai Lama’ we are talking about a method of choosing a head of state. It is strange to hear those who otherwise complain about the Chinese non-democratic pressure on Tibet to worry about the rights of the Dalai Lama, a non-democratically elected leader if there ever was one.

“… I think it’s a little bit hypocritical, our explosion of rage. Perhaps we find China’s reincarnation laws so outrageous not because they are alien to our sensibility, but because they spill out in the open the secret of what we are all doing. Are not the Chinese doing simply what all civilized governments are all doing? Respectfully tolerating what one doesn’t take quite seriously, and at the same time trying to contain its political consequences through legal regulation.”


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