The Panchen Lama is the second religious authority after the Dalaï Lama.
The Tibetan Panchen Lama
Gendhun Choekyi Nyima,
the Tibetan Panchen Lama
Gendhun Choekyi Nyima was born on April 25, 1989 in Nagchu in Tibet,
he’s the son of Tibetan nomads.
At the death of the 10th Panchen Lama, Choekyi Gyaltsen (19/02/1938 - 28/01/1989),
the Chinese Communist party sent a special team charged to find
his reincarnation. Chadrel Rinpoché, the person in charge of the monastery of
Tashilhunpo and of this team, retained 3 children, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima is one of them.
Small Gendhun recognized without hesitating the objects having belonged to
10th Panchen Lama. Once he said to his parents : “I’m the Panchen Lama,
my monastery is the Tashilhunpo.”
Chadrel Rinpoché, faithful to the Dalaï Lama, secretly informed this one of
the news. On May 14, 1995, the Dalaï Lama recognized officially
Gendhun Choekyi Nyima as being the 11th Panchen Lama.
Three days later, small Gendhun, and his parents, were kidnapped by the Chinese government who declared, one year later, that they held the child and that they had taken him for his safety.
Chadrel Rinpoché, which did nothing but respect the religious traditions, was arrested and imprisoned for having informed the Dalaï Lama.
An AMBER alert, which is a fast information system when a child disappearance is announced, was launched by the Tashilhunpo monastery. Whoever being able to provide information to locate Gendhun will be rewarded.
According to the Chinese government, Gendhun would live a normal life and goes to school (or he’s “sinicized”).
In April 2006, the Chinese government denied that he was retained as a political prisoner.
The Chinese Panchen Lama
Gyancain Norbu, Chinese Panchen Lama
Gyancain Norbu was born on February 13, 1990 in Lhari in Tibet.
Nine months after the Dalaï Lama recognized Gendhun Choekyi Nyima
as being the eleventh Panchen Lama, the Chinese government, which
did not recognize him, set up a drawing lot which was held in Lhasa,
in the monastery of Jokhang.
They recognized Gyancain Norbu as being the eleventh Panchen Lama.
Controversy about the current Panchen Lama
During the reign of the dynasty of Qing in China (who are Manchu and not Chinese), the Manchu emperors adored the Dalaï Lama’s as spiritual guides. Besides, they had good “priest-owner” relationships.
In 1792, a system was instituted to choose the reincarnations of the high lamas by drawing lot. The Chinese applied that system in November 1995 to choose their eleventh Panchen Lama.
But the “Manchu” time is viewed by the Chinese as being a foreign power occupying China, therefore enemy. Moreover, the Manchus were Buddhist people.
In 1911, the Chinese Revolution reversed the Dynasty of Qing after 268 years of reign (1644-1912).
Also, the Tibetan government in exile did not accept the Chinese complaints allegedly inherited from the historical “priest-owner” relationship between Tibet and the Manchus.
Indeed, the Tibetans had made an agreement with the Manchus and not with the Chinese.
According to the government of the Popular republic of China, Panchen Lama must be indicated by a drawing lot carried out in a gold ballot box before being recognized by the central government.
However, according to the Tibetan history, the confirmation of the Dalaï Lama or Panchen Lama must be mutually recognized.