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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 115 THE GOVERNMENT of China identified the Fourteenth Pan chen Lama in 1955 and expects to identify, by decision of a state committee for ethnic affairs, the Fifteenth Dalai Lama as well—an ironic process for a state that proudly claims to have repudiated the “feudal” history of the Chinese empires. As the basis for its bureaucratization of these sacred institutions, the government is invoking the precedent of the Qing empire (1636–1912). The historical relationship between China and Tibet in recent centuries is much misunderstood—not least because the govern ment of China occasionally endeavors to make it hard to under stand. For virtually the entire period of the thirteenth through nineteenth centuries, Tibet was tied to China by different vec tors, each with varying degrees of thickness—but all loose. The first vector had more to do with the role of Tibetan reli gious hierarchs in legitimating the rule of emperors in China and Mongolia and less to do with Tibet itself. During the period when China was occupied by the Mongols (the Yuan empire, 1270–1368), the head of the Sakya sect played the role of spiri tual legitimator of the Great Khan, usually during residencies Forging the Golden Urn: The Qing Empire and the Politics of Reincarnation in Tibet by Max Oidtmann Columbia, 2018 352 pages; $65 The Curious History of Reincarnation REVIEWS PAMELA KYLE CROSSLEY (OPPOSITE)HARVARDARTMUSEUMS/ARTHURM.SACKLERMUSEUM,BEQUESTOFTHEHOFERCOLLECTIONOFTHEARTSOFASIA,©PRESIDENTANDFELLOWSOFHARVARDCOLLEGE