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The Tragedy of the Panchen Lama

 
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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr - 19:57 (2012)    Post subject: The Tragedy of the Panchen Lama Reply with quote

http://buddhism.about.com/b/2008/02/11/the-tragedy-of-the-panchen-lama.htm

Reuters reports that thousands of Buddhist monks and villagers gathered in northwest China over the weekend to commemorate the birthday of the 10th Panchen Lama of Tibet, Choekyi Gyaltsen. The 10th Panchen Lama, a tragic and beloved figure, died in 1989. He was the second-highest religious figure of Tibetan Buddhism after His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The Chinese takeover of Tibet eventually drove the Dalai Lama into exile in India in 1959. The Panchen Lama, however, remained in Tibet to try to intercede with the Chinese government on behalf of his people. At first he was seen as a collaborator with the Chinese. In fact, at great risk to himself he criticized Chinese atrocities in Tibet. He spent more than a decade either in prison or under house arrest. His sudden death at the age of 50 was never investigated or explained.

On May 14, 1995, the Dalai Lama identified a six-year-old boy named Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. By May 17 the boy and his parents had been taken into Chinese custody. They have not been seen or heard from since. The Chinese government named another boy, Gyaltsen Norbu, as the official 11th Panchen Lama and had him enthroned in November 1995. You can read more about the tragedy of the 11th Panchen Lama at the International Campaign for Tibet.
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