Tibetan Coronation


    IT is perhaps not surprising that, even amid other and insistent preoccupations, the accounts of the final act of the installation of the new Dalai Lama sent by correspondents to the world's daily press, have created a profound impression. Nowhere else, except possibly in Japan, could the inauguration of a new head of the State have so closely wedded the spiritual and the political and civic elements in what is virtually an act of coronation, and at the same time united every member of the population in an expression of combined loyalty and religious fervour. Throughout the pageantry, the wealth and splendour of display of personal adornment, dress, and equipment vividly described in, for example, the dispatches of the correspondent of The Times in the issues of February 23 and 24, there is apparent an all-embracing current of mystic symbolism which endues every act, every movement and every attendant circumstance with the significance of worship, and of recognition of the spiritual influence which centres in and emanates from the person of the reincarnated head of the Tibetan spiritual and political hierarchy. It is this, and not the fact that such ceremonial has not been enacted in Lhasa for the space of sixty years, which animated,the crowds through which the Dalai Lama was carried in his golden palanquin to the Potala, and on the following day added a solemn meaning to the blessings of a child conferred on the elders of church and State and later sanctified what was otherwise an unseemly scramble for the Dalai Lama's food as a re-enactment of the ancient ritual of sharing in the flesh of the sacrificial victim.

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    Tibetan Coronation. Nature 145, 342–343 (1940). https://doi.org/10.1038/145342c0

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