Dharamsala: Deputy Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok addresses the 30th Birthday Celebration of the 11th Panchen Rinpoche and honouring the legacy of the 10th Panchen Rinpoche organized by Central Tibetan Administration on 25 April 2019 at 10 AM.
Deputy Speaker started by paying reverence to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and greeting chief guest Shri Ajay Singh Mankotia, a Dharamsala based Tibet supporter, special guest Venerable Kasur Kirti Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche, special guest representative of Tashi Lunpo Monastery Ngagchen Rinpoche, dignitaries of Central Tibetan Administration and public.
He elucidated the hardships faced by the 10th Panchen Rinpoche, born on 3 February 1938 and eventually recognized. The 10th Panchen Lama’s incarnation recognition faced severe hardships due to Kuomintang’s policy at the time of political problems between Kuomintang and Mao’s policy. As requested by Tashi Lunpo Monastery, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama took initiative to find the incarnation of Panchen Lama in 1940’s through santak (a Tibetan traditional method of finding incarnations by rolling dough balls in front of the statue of Jowo Sakyamuni).
However, Mao invited the Panchen Lama to China in 1951 and was recognized as the incarnation of the previous one without santak (a Tibetan traditional method of finding incarnations by rolling dough balls in front of the statue of Jowo Sakyamuni). In 1952, the 10th Panchen Rinpoche returned back to Tibet, met His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, composed a prayer and was named Tenzin Trinley Jigmey Choekyi Wangchuk. He was also enthroned at the Tashi Lunpo Monastery in the same year.
Similarly in 1954, the 10th Panchen Rinpoche visited Peking along with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to pacify the situation between Tibet and China. Since the recognition of the 10th Panchen Lama, he had taken full responsibility of Tibet and Tibetans along with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama until 1959. And in 1956, the 10th Panchen Lama established schools and taught Tibetan, Chinese and Hindi to 300 students in Shigatse, Tibet.
After the usurpation of Tibet in 1959, the Communist China appointed the 10th Panchen Lama as the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibetan Autonomous Region and He did his best for Tibet in terms of politics and religion.
After a tour through Tibet and seeing oppression of Tibetan by the China, in 1960 he met Zhou Enlai and other leaders of Communist China to report the grief situation of Tibetans under China in 1961, which did not bear any fruit. So in 1967, the 10th Panchen Lama wrote the 70,000-character petition denouncing the abusive policies and actions of the People’s Republic of China in Tibet, which was initially taken positively by Prime Minister Zhou Enlai and other officials but later criticized by Mao.
In 1966, the Communist Army imprisoned him. He risked his life and criticized the abusive policies of China for Tibet. The 10th Panchen Lama was imprisoned for 9 years and 8 months from 1968 to 1977.
From 1979 to 1989, he was given Vice Chairmanship of National People’s Congress and other political responsibilities. In the great Monlam festival of 1986, the 10th Panchen Lama spoke about the spiritual relationship between him and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Kalachakra teaching by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in India and return of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to Tibet.
Eventually, in 1986 the 10th Panchen Lama spoke at a conference related to Tibetan Autonomous Region in Beijing and denounced the abusive policies of China on Tibet and also urged the Chinese government to release the peaceful protestors of 1987.
In 1988, the 10th Panchen Lama also met the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama visiting Tibet and advised them. He had established 12 schools and dialectic schools to protect Tibet’s culture, language and arts.
His Holiness the 10th Panchen Lama passed away on 25 January 1989 at the age of 50 and no investigations were done regarding his death, even though people claim he was poisoned and Before the demise of the 10th Panchen Lama, the Central Government of China had asked the 10tH Panchen Lama to finalize all the tulkus, to which he responded that it is not necessary for the tulkus to be born before the death of the previous body or a very long time after the death of the previous body, like His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama who was born before the death of the 6th and objective of incarnation is to serve Buddhism and monastery. The 11th Panchen Lama was born on 25 April 1989.
Soon after the death of the 10th Panchen Lama, Chinese government started the search for the 11th Panchen Lama. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama send a letter to the Chinese government assuring full support to the search process of the 11th Panchen Lama. However, China rejected saying outside interference is not needed.
Chadrel Rinpoche, the head of the Panchen Lama search committee contacted Gyalo Dhondup, brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and maintained private contact with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Names of the candidates were collected from inside and outside of Tibet. Finally, on 14 May 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized Gendhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama and much international News reported the event.
However, after the abduction of the 11th Panchen Lama aged six, numerous Tibet supporters passed resolutions and scholars also wrote articles like ‘China played with the incarnation of Panchen Lama and divided Tibet’s religion into segments’.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama again wrote to Jiang Zemin regarding the 11th Panchen Lama, importance of him being alive, his education and resuming dialogue with the representatives of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, to which China never responded so His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a press release.
The Green Political Party of Germany visited Beijing and Lhasa in 1997 and they asked about the 11th Panchen Lama, to which Chinese government tried avoiding and didn’t answered directly. They were shocked to find the facts when they later visited Dharamsala. In 1999 and early 2000, Tibet supporters were fooled by the China showing a fake photo of the Panchen Lama but now a days, they claim that ‘He is leading a normal life and getting education, his life is in danger so he does not comes out in public’.
The 11th Jetsun Tenzin Gendhun Yeshi Trinley Phuntsok Pal Sangpo, who is 30 now and nobody knows about him. Central Tibetan Administration, Tibet supporters, organizations etc are supporting and campaigning to which Deputy Speaker urged them to continue their good work.
Deputy Speaker requested all the individuals to take responsibilities like the 10th Panchen Lama, who in his 50 years of life worked for the Tibet and Tibetans.
Finally, Deputy Speaker concluded by paying gratitude to His Holiness the 10th Panchen Lama, prayed to meet His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama soon.