After the death of His Holiness, the fourteen Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the search for the fifteenth and final Dalai Lama began. In the partial shade of cedar trees, mourners wearing silk khata scarves, clutching prayer beads and muttering incantations trudged up the rocky path to his private chapel in Dharamasala, in North India, to join the crowd already waiting among ramshackle buildings to pay their respects to the compassionate one, his body bathed in incense, his face still smiling.
All male children born in Tibet in the year after his death were registered in a data base. Tissue samples were taken for biometric testing. A watchlist of five candidates were established. Satellites circling in space utilised the latest face tracking software and were able to zoom in on the candidate’s parents. Drones, with a resolution high enough to pick out individual eyelashes, were also used to monitor an illiterate farmer’s son in Lhano Thondrup. They took thermal readings and tracked human movements inside their simple dwelling and were able to differentiate them from a dzo, a kind of yak, which shared their home. New sensor systems hovered and listened to the boy’s parents praying over the child and heard the child coughing. Scientists were able to determine it was a simple chest cold the child was suffering from.
President Xi Jinping was informed of their findings. Dissident Tibetan Buddhist monks quietly disappeared, taken into custody. They were shown pictures of babies, but not informed who they were. There was a lot of eye rolling and dissent among the dissidents and a refusal to cooperate, but eye-tracking software showed one candidate was favoured in almost ninety-two percent of the cases.
President Xi was able to tell the world that the world’s most advanced civilisation was once more home to the fifteen Dalai Lama. His peasant parents from Thondrup had agreed to move to Beijing. Their son would be best placed to study the ancient Chinese religion of his choice in a safe environment and the Communist Party had spent $500 million renovating Tibetan’s ancient monasteries. The Dalai Lama had finally come home.