Reincarnation of Living Buddhas, since its establishment, reincarnation ways were constantly enriched and improved by various denominations with a set of religious rituals such as searching, recognition, enthronement etc. being formed gradually. In case of the Gelugpa Sect, after predecessors Living Buddhas passed away, the grand Living Buddhas generally searched for reincarnated soul boys based on results of reincarnation signs, Dharmapala Seance, divination, observing the lake etc. (refer to Illustrations 72).
I) Reincarnation Signs
It was to observe body directions of deceased predecessor Living Buddhas, and signs of their remaining belongings etc.
It was to invite key Living Buddhas to compose orisons for reincarnation and divine to predict.
III) Dharmapala Seance
Dharmapala was the god especially for the guard of Buddha dharma. Seance referred to special spokesmen possessed with Dharmapala, predicting the directions, sites and families where reincarnated soul boys were given birth. The Gelugpa Sect generally searched for reincarnated soul boys by the Seances of the four major Dharmapalas, Nechung, Gedong, Lamo, and Samye.
IV) Observation of the Lake
It was largely to observe the result that surfaces of the sacred lakes showing. The most well-known sacred lake was the Lhamo Latso Lake that was regarded as the place where Palden Lhamo's spirit lived, which was enshrined by second Dalai Lama in 1501 (Fig. 9). To search for reincarnated soul boys of Dalai Lama and Panchen Erdeni, among other Living Buddhas, all need to observe the lake in the later stage.
Generally, it needed to go through the processes of inspection, recognition of remaining belongs, Judgment of Providence etc., then to report to governments for approval. Soul boys were tonsured, ordained and given Buddhist names after recognition.
Send out people to various places to inspect soul boys and the supernatural events happened when they were given birth based on the directions directed by Divination, Dharmapala Seance, Observation of the Lake.
II. Recognition of Remaining Belongings
Recognize the offered divines and used remaining belongings of previous Living Buddhas by soul boys (Fig. 10).
III. Judgment of Providence
Candidate soul boys were recognized through Dharmapala Seance. When there were several candidates, and no agreements among Dharmapalas, sometimes it required the Bolus divination before statues of Buddha and Bodhisattva. For example, the fifth Dalai Lama was recognized by this method before the statue of Manjusri Bodhisattva in Reting Monastery.
IV) Reporting to Governments for Approval
It needed to report to the central government for approval after recognition of reincarnated soul boys.
After getting approval from governments, enthronement ceremonies were held and soul boys succeeded roles from the previous ones. The Dalai Lama and the Panchen Erdeni, among other Living Buddhas, were conferred by central governments afterwards.
Report to Wu Zhongxin from the Regent Reting Rinpoche Regarding the Process of Searching and Recognizing the Thirteenth Dalai lama's Reincarnated Soul Boy as well as the Request for an Exemption to Drawing Lots