DHARAMSALA, India — For centuries, the selection of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been steeped in the mysticism of a bygone world.
On the windswept Tibetan plateau, his closest aides look for divinations in a sacred lake. A mountain god transmits oracular messages by possessing a high lama. Monks scour villages for boys precocious in their spiritual attunement.
All that is about to change, as the current Dalai Lama and his followers in exile here in India compete with the Chinese government for control of how the 15th Dalai Lama will be chosen.