China authenticates 870 living Buddhas

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Jan. 18, 2016 at 2:14 PM
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BEIJING, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- China authenticated 870 "living Buddhas" after launching an online system aimed at ferreting out fraudsters.

The database, announced by the country's State Administration for Religious Affairs, includes names, photos and religious sects of the verified Tibetan monks, also known as living Buddhas or tulkus. The move comes after a spate of swindlers claiming to be Tibetan Buddhas attempted to defraud believers.

The government began certifying living Buddhas in 2010, but the online database is meant to make the information more accessible.

"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.

The living Buddha reincarnation system originated in the 13th century. The Dalai Lama is a living Buddha and the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

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