China-appointed Panchen Lama gains no legitimacy among Tibetan Buddhists

Free Tibet

Despite the role and institution of Panchen Lama being considered the most important in Tibetan Buddhism, the China-appointed Panchen Lama has failed to gain legitimacy amongst the Tibetan Buddhists, Tibet Press reported.

Notably, the Panchen Lama is in charge of locating and identifying the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation and is the second-highest spiritual authority after him.

The Panchen Lama also plays a critical role in making contributions to social, economic, cultural and political life for the Tibetans.

The Chinese Communist Party forced the Tibetans to accept the 11th Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu. Gedhun Chokyi Nyima, who was six years old at the time, was named the 11th Panchen Lama by the 14th Dalai Lama on May 14, 1985, reported Tibet Press.

Three days later, however, the CPC failed to place its own proxy in the esteemed position, and the Panchen Lama’s reincarnation was kidnapped and forced to vanish by the Chinese authorities.

However, the actions made by the Chinese authorities by designating Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama have fallen flat and are frequently seen as CPC agents imposed to advance the sinicization of the Tibetan people, according to Tibet Press.

Due to the tense relations between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government, however, recognizing someone as the reincarnation of a Buddhist figure is not only religiously significant but politically fraught.

Today, the process to select the next Dalai Lama has remained uncertain. After China forcefully took over Tibet, in 1959 Dalai Lama flew to India and set up a government in exile. The Dalai Lama is revered by Tibetan people, who have maintained their devotion over the past 70 years of Chinese rule.

China, who wanted to take complete control over Tibet, not just geographically but also culturally, detained Dalai Lama’s choice for the successor of the 10th Panchen Lama, named Gendun Choeki Nyima when he was 6 years old in 1959, Brooke Schedneck said.

Since then China has refused to give details of his whereabouts. Panchen lama is the second most important tulku lineage in Tibetan Buddhism.

After the 11th Panchen Lama was detained, Tibetans protested against the Chinese government.

Responding to such protest, China appointed its own Panchen Lama, the son of a Chinese security officer.

The Panchen lamas and Dalai Lamas have historically played major roles in recognizing each other’s next incarnations.


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