|Official title: Panchen Erdeni|
|Literal meaning||Pandita-Chenpo (Sanskrit-Tibetan Buddhist title, meaning "Great Scholar")|
Erdeni (Manchu loanword from Mongolian, meaning "treasure")
|Part of a series on|
|Tibetan Buddhism portal|
The Panchen Lama (Tibetan: པཎ་ཆེན་བླ་མ།, Wylie: paN chen bla ma), officially the Panchen Erdeni (simplified Chinese: 班禅额尔德尼; traditional Chinese: 班禪額爾德尼; literally: 'Great Scholar the Treasure'), is a tulku of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Panchen Lama is one of the most important figures in the Gelug tradition, with its spiritual authority second only to Dalai Lama. "Panchen" is an abbreviation of "Pandita" and "Chenpo", meaning "Great scholar".
The lineage of Panchen Lamas began with Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen, tutor of the 5th Dalai Lama, who received the title "Panchen Bogd" from Altan Khan and the Dalai Lama in 1645. "Bogd" is Mongolian, meaning "holy". Khedrup Gelek Pelzang, Sönam Choklang and Ensapa Lobsang Döndrup were subsequently recognized as the first to third Panchen Lamas posthumously.
In 1792, Qianlong Emperor issued decree The 29-Article Imperial Decree for Better Governing in Tibet, Article One of the decree was designed to be used in the selection of rinpoches, lamas and other high offices within Tibetan Buddhism, including the Dalai Lamas, Panchen Lamas and Mongolian lamas.
Traditionally, Panchen Lama was the head of Tashilhunpo Monastery, and held religious and secular power over the Tsang region centered in Shigatse, independent of the Ganden Podrang authority led by Dalai Lama. However, Dalai and Panchen Lamas are closely connected, and Panchen Lama is part of the process by which each new Dalai Lama is chosen.
The identity of the current, 11th Panchen Lama is controversial. Under Chinese official support, Chökyi Gyalpo currently acts as the 11th Panchen Lama in Tibet. However, he has been rejected abroad. The Chinese government has been accused of kidnapping Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the Panchen Lama recognized by the 14th Dalai Lama. In Qianlong Emperor's essay “Speech on the Lamas” (喇嘛说) which was published in 1792, emperor wrote that Golden Urn is a fairer mechanism than method of deciding reincarnation with only one person. (虽不能尽去其弊，较之从前一人之授意者，或略公矣。).
The successive Panchen Lamas form a tulku reincarnation lineage which are said to be the incarnations of Amitābha. The title, meaning "Great Scholar", is a Tibetan contraction of the Sanskrit paṇḍita (scholar) and the Tibetan chenpo (great). The Panchen Lama traditionally lived in Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse. From the name of this monastery, the Europeans referred to the Panchen Lama as the Tashi-Lama (or spelled Tesho-Lama or Teshu-Lama).
Other titles of Panchen Lama include "Panchen Bogd", the original title given by Altan Khan at the creation of the lineage. "Bogd" (Mongolian: ᠪᠣᠭᠳᠠ богд) is Mongolian, meaning "holy, saint". In 1713, 5th Panchen Lama Lobsang Yeshe received the title "Panchen Erdeni" from Kangxi Emperor of Qing Empire, which is inherited by successive Panchen Lamas since then. "Erdeni", or "Erdini", (Manchu: ᡝᡵᡩᡝᠨᡳ erdeni) is Manchu, meaning "treasure".
First Panchen Lama
Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570–1662), was the first Panchen Lama to be accorded this title during his lifetime. He was the tutor and a close ally of the 5th Dalai Lama, "The Great Fifth", as he is known, pronounced the Panchen to be 'an incarnation of Dhayani Buddha Amitābha.'
The 5th Dalai Lama requested the Panchen to accept Tashilhunpo Monastery, built by the 1st Dalai Lama, as his multi-lifetime seat for future incarnations. Since then, every incarnation of the Panchen Lama has been the master of Tashilhunpo Monastery and it is there that they have all received their education and their mummified bodies were enshrined.
When Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen died in 1662, the 5th Dalai Lama commenced the tradition of searching for his next incarnation. He also reserved the traditional title of Panchen which had previously been a courtesy title for all exceptionally learned lamas - exclusively for his successors. Khedrub Je, Sönam Choklang and Ensapa Lobsang Döndrup were posthumously decided by the 5th Dalai Lama to have been a previous incarnation of Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen, 4th Panchen Lama (1570–1662). Traditionally, there were considered to be four Indian and three Tibetan incarnations before Khedrup, starting with Subhuti, one of the original disciples of Gautama Buddha. Gö Lotsawa is considered to be the first Tibetan incarnation of Amitabha in this line. The recognition of Panchen Lamas has always been a matter involving the Dalai Lama. Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama, himself declared, as cited by an official Chinese review that "according to Tibetan tradition, the confirmation of either the Dalai or Panchen must be mutually recognized." The involvement of China in this affair is seen by some as a political ploy to try to gain control over the recognition of the next Dalai Lama (see below), and to strengthen their hold over the future of Tibet and its governance. China claims however, that their involvement does not break with tradition in that the final decision about the recognition of both the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama traditionally rested in the hands of the Chinese emperor. For instance, after 1792, the Golden Urn was thought to have been used in selecting the 10th, 11th and 12th Dalai Lamas; but the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has more recently claimed that this was only really used in selection of the 11th, and that in the other cases it was only used to humour the Chinese to confirm a selection that had already been made by traditional methods.
In 1924, the thirteenth Dalai Lama prohibited the 9th Panchen Lama's followers from holding any office in the Central Tibetan government and imprisoned them in Lhasa, prompting the Panchen Lama to flee to Inner Mongolia, China. The Dalai Lama was attempting to collect revenue from the Panchen Lama's estate to cover Tibet's military expenses, and to reduce the power of the Panchen Lama. In China, the ninth Panchen Lama worked on plans to develop Tibet. He also held a position in the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, and was considered extremely "pro Chinese". There, he adopted the ideas of Sun Yatsen through revolutionary Pandatsang Rapga of the Tibet Improvement Party.
When the Ninth Panchen Lama died in 1937, two simultaneous searches for the tenth Panchen Lama produced two competing candidates, with the Dalai Lama's officials selecting a boy from Xikang and the Panchen Lama's officials picking Gonpo Tseten. The Republic of China government, then embroiled in the Chinese Civil War, declared its support for Tseten on 3 June 1949. Chinese Nationalist governor Ma Bufang allowed Kumbum Monastery to be totally self-governed by Gyaltsen. The Dalai Lama refused to recognize Tseten, now called Gyaltsen.
The 10th Panchen Lama sought revenge on the Dalai Lama by leading an army against him, and requested aid from Ma Bufang in September 1949. However, the Chinese Nationalist government, facing defeat from the communists, requested the Panchen Lama's help instead, formulating a plan where 3 Khampa divisions would be led by him as a broad anti-Communist base in Southwest China, but the Panchen Lama decided to defect to the Communists instead. The Panchen Lama, unlike the Dalai Lama, sought to exert control in decision making.
The Panchen Lama initially supported the Communist reform policies for Tibet. Radio Beijing broadcast the religious leader's call for Tibet to be "liberated" into the PRC, which created pressure on the Lhasa government to negotiate with the People's Republic. In April, 1959 the 10th Panchen Lama sent a telegram to Beijing expressing his support for suppressing the 1959 rebellion. “He also called on Tibetans to support the Chinese government.”
However in 1962, he wrote the 70,000 Character Petition detailing abuses of power in Tibet and discussed it with Premier Zhou Enlai. However, in 1964, he was imprisoned. In October 1977, he was released but held under house arrest in 1982. In 1979, he married a Han Chinese woman and in 1983 they had a daughter. In 1989, the 10th Panchen Lama died suddenly in Shigatse at the age of 51 shortly after giving a speech criticizing the excesses of the Cultural Revolution in Tibet but however praising the reform and opening up of the 1980s. His daughter, now a young woman, is Yabshi Pan Rinzinwangmo, better known as "Renji".
The Dalai Lama named Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th incarnation of the Panchen Lama on 14 May 1995, but the search committee ignored the Dalai Lama's 14 May announcement and instead chose from a list of finalists which excluded Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. In selecting a name, lottery numbers were drawn from the Golden Urn. Chinese authorities announced Gyancain Norbu as the search committee's choice on 11 November 1995. It has been claimed that Gedhun had been taken into protective custody from those that would spirit him into exile and is now "in captivity against the wishes of the Tibetan people", whereas the Chinese government states that he is living a "normal private life". Tibetans and human rights groups continue to campaign for his release.
Relation to the Dalai Lama lineage
The Panchen Lama bears part of the responsibility or the monk-regent for finding the incarnation of the Dalai Lama, and vice versa. This has been the tradition since the 5th Dalai Lama, recognized his teacher Lobsang Choekyi Gyaltsen as the Panchen Lama of Tashilhunpo. With this appointment, Lobsang Choekyi Gyaltsen's three previous incarnations were posthumously recognised as Panchen Lamas. The "Great Fifth" also recognized Lobsang Yeshe, 5th Panchen Lama. The 7th Dalai Lama recognized Lobsang Palden Yeshe, 6th Panchen Lama, who in turn recognized the 8th Dalai Lama. Similarly, the Eighth Dalai Lama recognised Palden Tenpai Nyima, 7th Panchen Lama. The current 14th Dalai Lama was first found by the 9th Panchen Lama when he was living in the Kumbum Monastery. In February 1937, the Panchen Lama informed his investigation to the Tibetan government's representatives, who would later confirm the new Dalai Lama's identity. The request was approved by the Central Government.
Monastic figures had historically held important roles in the social makeup of Tibet, and though these roles have diminished since 1959, many Tibetans continue to regard the Panchen Lama as a significant political, as well as spiritual figure due to the role he traditionally plays in selecting the next Dalai Lama. The political significance of the role is also utilised by the Chinese state. Tibetan support groups such as London-based Free Tibet have argued that the Chinese government seeks to install its own choice of Dalai Lama when Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, dies and that for this reason the Dalai Lama's choice of Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima went missing at the age of six, to be replaced by the Chinese state's choice, Gyaincain Norbu. It is suggested that the Chinese government may give the title of Dalai Lama to the son of a loyal ethnic Tibetan Communist party member and it will pressure Western governments to recognize its boy, and not the boy chosen by Lamas in India, as the head of Tibetan Buddhism.
- List of Panchen Lamas
- Tashilhunpo Monastery
- History of Tibet
- Choekyi Gyaltsen
- Tibet since 1950
- 11th Panchen Lama controversy
- "Panchen Lama". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
- Chuluun, Sampildondov; Bulag, Uradyn E. (2013). The Thirteenth Dalai Lama on the Run (1904-1906): Archival Documents from Mongolia. BRILL. p. 17. ISBN 9004254552.
- Lessing, Ferdinand D. (1960). Mongolian-English Dictionary. University of California Press.
- "Reincarnation". 14th Dalai Lama. September 24, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- Smith 1997, pg. 135
- Goldstein, Melvyn C. (2007). A History of Modern Tibet, Volume 2: The Calm Before the Storm: 1951-1955. University of California Press. p. 267. ISBN 0520249410.
- Goldstein, Melvyn C.; Sherap, Dawei; Siebenschuh, William R. (2004). A Tibetan Revolutionary: The Political Life and Times of Bapa Phüntso Wangye. University of California Press. p. 161. ISBN 0520240898.
- "China, Tibet and the Dalai Lama". The Economist.
- "China's Worst Kept Secret: 5 Facts About the Abduction of Tibet's Panchen Lama". huffingtonpost.
- "China says Panchen Lama 'living a normal life' 20 years after disappearance". London: The Guardian. 6 September 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
- "Pro-British Tashi Lama Succeeds Ousted Dalai Lama. British to Leave Lhasa". New York Times. 19 September 1904. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-11-11. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- Fort William-India House correspondence: In the index, “Tashi Lama. See Teshu Lama”. and “Teshu Lama (Teshi Lama, Tesho Lama)”.
- "Definition for "Lama"". Oxford English Dictionary Online.
The chief Lamas[…]of Mongolia [are called] Tesho- or Teshu-lama.Missing or empty
- "The Institution of the Dalai Lama", by R. N. Rahul Sheel in The Tibet Journal, Vol. XIV No. 3. Autumn 1989, p. 32, n. 1
- Richardson 1984, pp.54-55
- Dalal, Roshen (2010). The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths. Penguin Books India. p. 279. ISBN 0143415174. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- Lal, Dinesh (2008). Indo-Tibet-China Conflict. Gyan Publishing House. p. 49. ISBN 8178357143.
- Tibetan People's Right of Self-determination: Report of the Workshop on Self-determination of the Tibetan People: Legitimacy of Tibet's Case 1994/1996, India. Delhi, India: Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre. 2008. p. 110.
- Mullin 2001, p.174
- Tibet is My Country: Autobiography of Thubten Jigme Norbu, Brother of the Dalai Lama as told to Heinrich Harrer, p. 121. First published in German in 1960. English translation by Edward Fitzgerald, published 1960. Reprint, with updated new chapter, (1986): Wisdom Publications, London. ISBN 0-86171-045-2.
- Richardson 1984, p.54
- Mullin 2001, p.205
- Karmay, Samten C. (2005). "The Great Fifth", p. 2. Downloaded as a pdf file on 16 December 2007 from: 
- Stein (1972) p. 84.
- Das, Sarat Chandra. Contributions on the Religion and History of Tibet (1970), pp. 81-103.
- et :Ya Hanzhang, Biographies of the Tibetan Spiritual Leaders Panchen Erdenis. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1987. pg 350.
- "When the sky fell to earth" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 16, 2006.
- Panchen-lama. 1988. "On Tibetan Independence." China Reconstructs (now named China Today) (January): Vol. 37, No. 1. pp 8–15.
- Goldstein 1989
- Lama, The 14th Dalai (April 30, 2019). "Reincarnation". The 14th Dalai Lama.
- Tuttle 2006
- China Tibetology. Office for the Journal China Tibetology. 2006. p. 16.
- Powers 2004, pg. 99
- Jagou, pp. 156-159, 206-208
- Chinese Materials Center (1982). Who's who in China, 1918-1950: 1931-1950. Volume 3 of Who's who in China, 1918-1950: With an Index, Jerome Cavanaugh. Chinese Materials Center. p. 194. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- The China weekly review, Volume 54. Millard Publishing House. 1930. p. 406. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- China monthly review, Volume 56. Millard Publishing Co., inc. 1931. p. 306. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- Gray Tuttle (2007). Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 153. ISBN 0-231-13447-9.
- Gray Tuttle (2007). Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 152. ISBN 0-231-13447-9. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
- Lin, Hsiao-ting (2010). Modern China's Ethnic Frontiers: A Journey to the West. Taylor & Francis. pp. 116–118.
- Parshotam Mehra (2004). From conflict to conciliation: Tibetan polity revisited : a brief historical conspectus of the Dalai Lama-Panchen Lama Standoff, ca. 1904–1989. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 87. ISBN 3-447-04914-6. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- Santha Rama Rau (1950). East of home. Harper. p. 122.
- Melvyn C. Goldstein, in McKay 2003, p. 222
- "EXILED LAMA, 12, WANTS TO LEAD ARMY ON TIBET". Los Angeles Times. 6 Sep 1949. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
- Hsiao-ting Lin (2010). Modern China's ethnic frontiers: a journey to the west. Volume 67 of Routledge studies in the modern history of Asia (illustrated ed.). Taylor & Franci s. p. 117. ISBN 0-415-58264-4. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
China's far northwest.23 A simultaneous proposal suggested that, with the support of the new Panchen Lama and his entourage, at least three army divisions of the anti-Communist Khampa Tibetans could be mustered in southwest China.
- Melvyn C. Goldstein (2009). A History of Modern Tibet: The Calm Before the Storm: 1951-1955, Volume 2. University of California Press. pp. 272, 273. ISBN 0-520-25995-5. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- Isabel Hilton (2001). The Search for the Panchen Lama. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 110. ISBN 0-393-32167-3.
- Lee Feigon, Demystifying Tibet, page 163.
- Kurtenbach, Elaine (February 11, 1998). "1962 report by Tibetan leader tells of mass beatings, starvation". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2001-07-21. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
- Richard R. Wertz. "Exploring Chinese History :: East Asian Region :: Tibet". Ibiblio.org. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
- "BUDDHA'S DAUGHTER: A YOUNG TIBETAN-CHINESE WOMAN". Archived from the original on March 8, 2008.
- Hilton 2000, pp. 192–194
- Hilton, Isabel (March 29, 2004). "The Buddha's Daughter: Interview with Yabshi Pan Rinzinwangmo". The New Yorker.
- "Update-Communist China set to decide on a rival Panchen Lama". Archived from the original on July 25, 2008.
- "Communist China set to decide on a rival Panchen Lama". Archived from the original on March 24, 2008.
- Coonan, Clifford (2010-03-02). "China appoints Panchen Lama in tactical move to quell unrest - Asia - World". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
- "Propaganda and the Panchen Lama: playing politics". Weblog.savetibet.org. 2011-08-25. Archived from the original on 2014-03-08. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
- Alex McKay, The History of Tibet : The Modern Period, Routledge 2003, ISBN 0-415-30844-5, p. 32. Google books
- Isabel Hilton, A Reporter at Large, "Spies in the House of Faith," The New Yorker, 23 August 1999, p. 170
- Philippe Naughton October 17, 2011 10:46AM (2011-09-30). "China Says Missing Panchen Lama Living In Tibet". London: Timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- "Learn More". Free the Panchen Lama. 1989-04-25. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
- Kapstein (2006), p. 276
- Appeal For Chatral Rinpoche's Release Archived 2005-10-27 at the Wayback Machine, from the website of "The Office of Tibet, the official agency of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in London"
- Goldstein 1989, p. 319.
- Melvyn C. Goldstein (18 June 1991). A History of Modern Tibet, 1913–1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State. University of California Press. pp. 328–. ISBN 978-0-520-91176-5.
- "Report to Wu Zhongxin from the Regent Reting Rinpoche Regarding the Process of Searching and Recognizing the Thirteenth Dalai lama's Reincarnated Soul Boy as well as the Request for an Exemption to Drawing Lots - - The Reincarnation of Living Buddhas". www.livingbuddha.us.com.
- "Executive Yuan's Report to the National Government Regarding the Request to Approve Lhamo Thondup to Succeed the Fourteenth Dalai lama and to Appropriate Expenditure for His Enthronement - - The Reincarnation of Living Buddhas". www.livingbuddha.us.com.
- "Afp Article: Tibet'S Panchen Lama, Beijing'S Propaganda Tool". Google.com. 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- O'Brien, Barbara (2011-03-11). "Dalai Lama Steps Back But Not Down". London, England: Guardian. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- Goldstein, Melvyn C. A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State (1989) University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-06140-8
- Goldstein, Melvyn C. The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama (1997) University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21951-1
- Kapstein, Matthew T. (2006). The Tibetans. Blackwell Publishing. Oxford, U.K. ISBN 978-0-631-22574-4.
- Stein, Rolf Alfred. Tibetan Civilization (1972) Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-0901-7
- Van Grasdorff, Gilles. Hostage of Beijing: The Abduction of the Panchen Lama (1999) Element Books, Inc. ISBN 1-86204-561-5
- Kuzmin S. 2014. The Activity of the 9th Panchen Lama in Inner Mongolia and Manchuria. – Far Eastern Affairs, 2014, no 1, pp. 123-137
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Panchen Lamas.|
- Free the Panchen Lama, a campaigns website for the Panchen Lama's release
- Tibet Society UK - The Background To The Panchen Lama from Tibet Society – UK Organisation
- China Tibetology No. 03, a series of articles from tibet.cn explaining the Chinese government's position on the search of reincarnations of the Panchen Lama.
- Tibet's missing spiritual guide, a May 2005 article from BBC News
- 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet, a website about Gedhun Choekyi Nyima