China shows off its Panchen Lama at Hong Kong Buddhist forum

By Reuters Staff
April 26, 2012

(The 11th Panchen Lama Gyaincain Norbu, the official Lama appointed by Beijing to replace Dalai Lama, speaks during the The third World Buddhist Forum in Hong Kong April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)

A Tibetan youth named by Beijing as the 11th Panchen Lama but reviled by many Tibetans as a fake made his first trip outside mainland China on Thursday as he is groomed to become the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama dies.

Gyaltsen Norbu, 22, was selected as a boy by officially atheist Beijing in 1995 as the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism in its drive to win the hearts and minds of Tibetans.

Tibet’s current spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, had announced his own choice of a six-year-old boy, who was taken away by authorities and has since disappeared from public view, creating a crisis of legitimacy for devout Tibetans.

China reviles the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, as a separatist. The Dalai Lama says he is merely seeking more autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.

China has gradually exposed its Panchen Lama in public roles in the hope he will achieve the respect commanded by the 76-year-old Dalai Lama among Tibetans and globally.

He took no questions on Thursday at a Buddhist forum in the former British colony of Hong Kong. He stayed away from controversy, mostly using esoteric terms to talk about Buddhism and its emphasis on inner peace to achieve social harmony.

“Current society values external science and technology over the inner sciences,” he said in Mandarin.

Read the full story by Sisi Tang and Benjamin Kang Lim here.
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2 comments

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I had a dream. Tibetans will be free again. The forcibly resettled nomads will be free to wander the open grasslands with their flocks. The monks and nuns will be free to serve the spiritual needs of Buddhists and Bonpos instead of wasting their days mindlessly with forced political platitude recitations in “patriotic re-education” classes. Grandparents will be free to attend spiritual teachings in India without being held in detention when they return home. School teachers will be free to teach in Tibetan language, students free to learn in it. Tibetan culture and history will be respected instead of constantly denigrated. Instead of continuing to risk their lives to escape, the 200,000 exiles will be lined up for one-way tickets home. They’ll be free to keep photos and flags and openly express what they believe in their hearts. Tibetans will be free, I’m sure of it. Since Tibetans are so strongly willing it, even so far as sacrificing themselves, it is not just a dream.

Posted by Donyod | Report as abusive

The accusations against the Dalai Lama are absurd! http://www.omdoubleg.com/entertainment/i s-the-dalai-lama-a-peeping-tom/

Posted by SarahThomas | Report as abusive