The present (11th) incarnation of the Panchen Lama is a matter of controversy: the People’s Republic of China asserts it is Qoigyijabu (Gyancain Norbu), while the current Dalai Lama named Gedhun Choekyi Nyima on May 14, 1995. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima vanished from public eye shortly after being named, aged six. Chinese authorities stated that Gedhun had been taken into protective custody and is now safe, but there is no information regarding from what, or from whom, he must be protected, where he is being held, or under what conditions.
Beijing’s Panchen Lama, who was selected when he was 6 years old and is also known as Gyaltsen Norbu, has taken on an increasingly political role in recent years. The now 21-year-old has made appearances with Communist Party leaders praising Chinese rule over Tibet and been appointed to the main government advisory body.
Recently, Panchen Lama installed by China’s government against the Dalai Lama’s wishes, has finished a trip to a major Buddhist monastery with comments unlikely to endear him to an already skeptical Tibetan public.
According to a report official Chinese Xinhua News Agency, the Panchen Lama said he was impressed by the amount of religious freedom enjoyed by Buddhists near the remote Labrang Monastery that has been the scene of numerous anti-Beijing protests.
The comments are likely to reinforce the belief among Tibetans that he is not the true Panchen Lama.
The Panchen Lama is the second-ranked religious leader to Tibetans, after the Dalai Lama, but most Tibetans do not accept him because he was appointed by Beijing. The original boy selected by the Dalai Lama in 1995 has not been heard from since.
I am not familiar with procedure used by Tibetan monks to trace their reincarnated Lamas’s and I am not qualified to give my opinion about which Panchen Lama is the real one, but the question remains: where was 6 years old boy, named by Dalai Lama as reincarnation of 10th Panchen Lama, taken, by whom, why and where is he now?
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