Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Panchen Lama" Returns Home After 11-Year Absence

MW note: This is an interesting article, it comes from Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency and it discusses their (the Chinese government's) recognized Panchen Lama.

As most know, the Chinese-recognized Panchen Lama has not been accepted by the Tibetan community in Tibet and/or in exile as the authentic Panchen Lama, who as a boy was detained by the Chinese days after his public recognition by His Holiness Dalai Lama in 1995 and has not been seen since.

Rather, he is seen as the Chinese attempt to "take over" Tibetan Buddhism when the Dalai Lama passes away. This article is noteworthy as it provides a transparent glimpse into the Chinese spin and positioning, i.e., notice how the Chinese represent him as being as revered and loved as the Dalai Lama, refer to him as the "leader of Tibetan Buddhism" and mention the authenticity of the process by which he was "recognized."

The article is reprinted here verbatim.

2006-08-30 -- The 11th Panchen Lama on Tuesday ended a two-day visit to his hometown, the first since his ordination in 1995.

Gyaincain Norbu, the leader of the Tibetan Buddhism, arrived on Sunday at Lhari county, Nagqu prefecture in northern Tibet, where he was born on February 13, 1990.

Arriving at around 6:00 p.m., he was hailed by a huge crowd, including thousands of Buddhists who had waited for hours and a hundred headsmen in costume on horseback.

On Monday, he presided over a blessing ritual for nearly 4,000 local people.During his journey, he stopped his car more than a dozen times to give blessings to hundreds of followers.

Braving the rain, many came long distances to wait to be touched by the 11th Panchen Lama.

"My lifelong dream has come true. I finally met the Panchen Lama and received his blessing," said 69-year-old local headsman Gyaba, with a big smile on his face.

After the ritual on Monday, the 17-year-old Panchen Lama, wearing a golden cassock, rode a horse on the grasslands.

He told young fellow Tibetans to master their language and to get a good education, so as to build a more prosperous Tibet. During his visit, he donated money and goods to a local school, a hospital and 43 poor families.

He said he was happy with the great changes in his hometown and hoped to come back soon.

Gyaincain Norbu won the approval from the central government of China as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama in November 1995 after a lot drawing ceremony among three candidates in the Jokhang Temple in Tibet's capital Lhasa.

Drawing lots from a gold urn to decide on the final choice of the reincarnation of a high lama has long been a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism, and the custom of seeking approval from the central government dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

He studies Buddhism in Beijing and frequently visits Tibet and other Tibetan ethnic areas in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan.