My favorite story of the week, if not my entire life, involves China passing a law banning Tibetan monks from reincarnating without permission.
My first reaction was something along the lines of “Ha ha! You can’t regulate reincarnation!” Then I realized China manufactured every article of clothing I’m wearing, and I didn’t see that coming either. So maybe I should stop underestimating China for once. I’d like to go on record predicting China CAN control reincarnation if they set their minds to it.
Regulating reincarnation is a worthy goal. There are many benefits. For example, reincarnation would give the Chinese government a renewable source of spare parts:
Chinese Bureaucrat: “Hold still.”
Monk: “Please don’t remove my heart! I’ll die!”
Chinese Bureaucrat: “No worries. I’ve already signed form R-23 authorizing you to reincarnate.”
Monk: “As another monk?”
Chinese Bureaucrat: “As a dung beetle if you don’t stop squirming.”
I also wonder if crimes committed in this life will be punished in the next. For example, if you commit a crime, and coincidentally have a heart attack as you are being sentenced to jail, and reincarnate into poultry, can the judge order his bailiff to choke the chicken?
Cynics believe the real reason behind this Chinese law is to control the Dalai Lama’s impending reincarnation. I hope that’s not true, because it is exactly the sort of decision you should not trust to bureaucrats. It raises the ugly possibility that the next Dalai Lama will be, for example, a squirrel.
I don’t think I have to tell you that Tibetan monks have enough trouble already. They sit around all day in their bathrobes chanting whatever the Tibetan words are for “I wish I had Internet, I wish I had Internet.” That has to get boring after a few decades.
The only possession of a Tibetan monk is a rice bowl. They aren’t even on the Victoria Secrets mailing list. If you have ever tried pleasuring yourself while looking at a rice bowl, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You’d need at least two bowls for that, turned upside down, with a pebble on each of them. And I already told you Monks don’t own pebbles.
All I’m saying is the monks have a tough life. If they have to start worshipping a squirrel, things can only get worse. Imagine the teasing the little monks would get in school:
Chinese Bully: “Hey, Norbu, I hear your Dalai Lama is home playing with his nuts! Ha ha!”
And I imagine the Chinese schoolyard bullies of the future will be kids whose Dad’s work in the Department of Determining What You Reincarnate Into.
Chinese Bully: “Give me your lunch money, or else.”
Chinese non-Bully: “Or else what?”
Chinese Bully: “My dad will turn your dad into an ass monkey.”
Chinese non-Bully: “There’s no such thing as an ass monkey.”
Chinese Bully: “Oh yeah? My uncle works in the Department of Evolution, and we have a family reunion coming up.”
Chinese non-Bully: “Noooooooo!!!!!”
It could happen.