One of the nice things about being a moderately cynical and curmudgeonly blogger is that you never run out of things to observe without bemusement. You can never be in the position of having to say, "Now I've seen it all!"
But I've come close.
With all the discussion and debate over Tibet (except in China, where the official position on the subject of Tibet is, "It's ours, end of discussion, shut up"), we can sometimes forget that there are intricate religious issues beyond the political ones. For instance, the Dalai Lama - the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists - is getting old. Tibetan Buddhist tradition says he will be reincarnated when he dies, and the search for the reincarnated leader has been going on for some time. According to this article in Time Magazine, a 24 year-old Tibetan living in Spain has been identified as the long-sought reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.
The trouble is, he doesn't want the job. He wants to be a filmmaker.
It's getting harder all the time to find a good reincarnation. In 2007, as part of its campaign to ensure Tibet didn't generate any independent leaders that would threaten its grip on the territory, China passed a law requiring "living Buddhas" (that is, future Tibetan spiritual leaders) to obtain official government permission before reincarnating. Chances are, Tenzin Osel Rinpoche (the Spanish Dalai Lama-designate who now wants to be know by his original name of Osel Hita Torres), never bothered to file the proper application with the appropriate agency of the government in Beijing before reincarnating ... thus, he'd have been illegal, anyhow.
So who will be the next Dalai Lama?
The Time article is actually quite fascinating, beyond my tongue-in-cheek observations about reincarnation. It compares the search for a new Dalai Lama to the machinations which have historically surrounded the election of a new Pope, and discusses the often bloody history of the search for the individual who has come to be recognized as a symbol of peace and wisdom (that would be the Dalai Lama, not Barack Obama). You don't have to have my terminally jaded opinion of organized religion to find the whole story tremendously interesting.
And, before you get all excited, I've checked ... Mike is not the next candidate for Dalai Lama.
I knew you'd be relieved.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.