As an enlightened one, the Dalai Lama (D.L.) returns to earth out of compassion for human beings. He choses the time and place of his birth. The same D.L. reincarnates time and time again. The D.L. works hand-in-hand with the Penchant Lama (P.L.). When the time comes for the D.L. to leave earth and his body, he communicates with the P.L. The D.L. leaves his body and there is a known period of time for the D.L. to be in “heaven,” choose his parents, be conceived, born and grow to childhood. After the “death” of the D.L., the P.L. waits several years and then begins to search in the geographical area previously confided by the D.L. When the boy is found, the P.L. administers a series of tests to ascertain that the young child is indeed the reincarnated D.L. The boy D.L. is then taken to Lhasa and raised in the monastery under the tuttleage of the P.L.
When the P.L. leaves his body, the D.L. waits a period of time and then selects a new P.L. and the cycle begins again.
The current intrigue is that the 10th P.L. died in 1989. The D.L., in exile selected a six-year old boy, Gedun Choekyi Nyima in 1995. However, upon the announcement, the boy and his family disappeared. Tibetans believe the boy is either dead or under house arrest in Beijing. In any event, he has disappeared.
The government subsequently announced a new P.L., a more appropriate one. The photo of the government appointed P.L. appears in the temples as the next in line P.L. Since then, the D.L. has announced he will not reincarnate in occupied Tibet.
Presumbaly, once the current D.L. in exile “dies,” the government appointed P.L. will find the new D.L. in Tibet. Because the current D.L. has only appointed one P.L., it remains uncertain if a new D.L. will be found.
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