China has just passed a law forbidding the unauthorized transmigration of souls. “Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people” (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article2194682.ece).
This edict is intended to prevent the birth of a Lama that China does not like and facilitates China’s control over Tibet.
In 1995 the Dalai Lama announced that the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama (who apparently is the second most important Lama) had taken place. The Communist authorities were enraged and picked a different boy. The original boy disappeared. The remaining lamas most seek government approval before they transmigrate.
I thought Obamacare was a disturbing expansion of government, but China has just expanded government to new levels, to control over reincarnation and the afterlife. I hope this doesn’t give American liberals any ideas because I have this fear that as I’m on my way to heaven, nirvana, limbo or wherever, some liberal bureaucrat will step out and say, “I’m sorry sir, you have to pay 1/3 of your karma in taxes to support people who were too lazy to work for their own karma. As Obama said, we have to spread the wealth around.”
I find it interesting to treat China’s edict as literal. Let’s say that reincarnation is true. I’m not actually a believer, but for the sake of argument let’s say that if you were a good person in life you will be reincarnated as something nice, someone wealthy, comfortable or spiritual, but if you were evil, you will be reincarnated as something repulsive like a dung beetle (I’m assuming dung beetles don’t live nice lives; but that may just be prejudice on my part, perhaps wallowing in dung is a wonderful existence). How could a government edict possibly prevent all this from happening? The fact that the government passed such a law is the perfect example of the absurdities of government bureaucracy, the sort of thing that writers in the Soviet Union often satirized.
Would millions of souls in limbo jostle one another waiting until the government edict was changed so they could transmigrate? Would the government bureaucrats who created this ridiculous edict end up reincarnated as bugs (after the edict was changed) and then be tortured by spiders? Or would only people destined to become lamas be affected by this edict, and everyone else transmigrate as usual? You see this is far more interesting if you take it to its logical (or absurd) conclusion rather than just seeing it as a moronic, hamfisted way for China to control Tibet.
Staffwriter Robert Bee is a professional librarian and a freelance writer out of New Jersey. He is also damn funny, as you can see here today. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org