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The joining of church and state.

Unlike most states, which keep the affairs of the church and the affairs of the government separate, Tibet brought both under the control of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is worshipped by Tibetans as a god-king; he is both spiritual leader and head of state. His stature is far more than that of a Western Prime Minister or reigning monarch.

The first Dalai Lama was born in 1391. Almost from the time of Pema Dorje's birth miraculous things began happening around him. By 1419, he was the High Lama of Drepung, which later became the world's largest monastery. According to Buddhist belief, when a person dies he or she is reborn. So, when a Dalai Lama or Panchen Lama dies a search is immediately begun for his successor. The country is scoured for an infant who might display wisdom beyond his years or have unusual characteristics. Often, the searchers use clues from the dying lama's dreams, such as a description of the countryside in which the boy will be found. Lamas make the final selection using ancient traditions, visions, and mysticism.

The current Dalai Lama, although living in exile since 1959, is deeply revered among Tibetans. China has long waged a diplomatic war against him, but the remains almost as popular outside Tibet as inside. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, however no country recognizes his government-in-exile. The Dalai Lama has repeatedly asked Beijing to negotiate limited self-rule for his people. The Chinese leaders merely denounce him and refuse to talk.
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Title Annotation:Dalai Lama of Tibet controls the affairs of church and state together
Publication:Canada and the World Backgrounder
Date:Jan 1, 1996
Words:255
Previous Article:Keeping the roof on the roof of the world.
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