China Launches First Online Database On Authenticity Of Monks

BEIJING:  For the first time, China on Monday launched an online system to check the “authenticity” of top Tibetan Buddhist monks, amid growing incidents of fraud involving religious leaders.

The first list of 870 verified Tibetan monks, also known as ‘living buddhas’, was published on the official website of the State Administration for Religious Affairs.

It is the first time information on the country’s religious leaders is accessible via the Internet.

“As a living buddha, I feel genuinely happy about it,” said the 7th Drukhang living buddha Drukhang Thubten Khedrup, vice president of the Buddhist Association of China (BAC) at the launch ceremony.

The online database follows a government white paper in September last year, reiterating that Beijing “has undeniable endorsement right on the reincarnation system” of living buddhas.

Originated in the 13rd century AD, reincarnation of living buddhas is a unique inheritance system in Tibetan Buddhism.

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