Thubten Choekyi Nyima, 9th Panchen Lama
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Thubten Choekyi Nyima (Tibetan: ཐུབ་བསྟན་ཆོས་ཀྱི་ཉི་མ་, Wylie: Thub-bstan Chos-kyi Nyi-ma, ZYPY: Tubdain Qoigyi Nyima) (1883–1937), often referred to as Choekyi Nyima, was the ninth Panchen Lama of Tibet.
Thubten Choekyi Nyima is the 9th in his lineage, as recognized by Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, the traditional seat of Panchen Lamas. To call Choekyi Nyima the 9th Panchen Lama is a misnomer, while in exile in China he signed pictures the 16th Panchen Lama and the Tibetans regarded him as the 6th Panchen Lama Hugh Richardson "It is the habit of Chinese writers to describe the late Panchen Lama as the IXth. To the mass of Tibetans it is beyond question that he was the VIth in succession from Lobzang Chokyi Gyaltsen, the teacher whom the Vth Dalai Lama created Ist Panchen Lama." In the Historical Introduction of "The secret report of the 10th Panchen Lama"  Professor Dawa Norbu writes "The 10th Panchen Lama (actually the 7th of his line)". Charles Bell, on page 35  "The young fifth Dalai Lama made his old teacher, named 'The banner of Religion's Victory,' who was abbot first at Ta-shi Lhun-po..." Jagou "Thus the incarnation the Tibetans refer to as the Sixth Panchen Lama is known as the ninth Panchen Lama by the Chinese." When the Chinese Government forced the Tibetans to sign the 17 Point Agreement, they insisted on calling Choekyi Nyima the 9th Panchen Lama and this numbering was brought back to the west in the late 1980s until which time no such numbering had been used, outside of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and Peking.[note 1]
In 1901, Choekyi Nyima was visited by the Mongolian Lama, Agvan Dorzhiev. Although he only stayed for two days at Tashilhunpo, Dorzhiev received some secret teachings from the Panchen Lama, as well as readings of the Prayer of Shambhala, written by Lobsang Palden Yeshe, the sixth (or third) Panchen Lama, concerning the Buddhist kingdom of Shambhala, which were of great importance to Dorzhiev's developing understanding of the Kalachakra ('Wheel of Time') tantric teachings. Choekyi Nyima also gave Dorzhiev gifts including some golden statues.
He fled to Inner Mongolia, China in 1924 after a dispute with the thirteenth Dalai Lama when he sensed that he might face threat after his own monastery’s monks were prohibited from holding any office in the Central Tibetan government and his officials were locked up in Lhasa. Among the Mongols, the 9th Panchen Lama became a well liked figure. At the same time, study of documents did not confirm widespread claims that rebellions in the 1930s Mongolia were inspired or supported by the 9th Panchen Lama. The Dalai Lama was attempting to collect revenue from the Panchen Lama's estate to cover a fourth of Tibet's military expenses, and to reduce the power of the Panchen Lama, who at the time enjoyed rule over an effectively autonomous region around Shigatse.
In 1936, a team of monks from Lhasa were on the way to north-eastern Tibet to search for the new reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, who had died in 1933. First, because of the historical close relationship between the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, they visited the Panchen Lama in Kham, eastern Tibet, to seek his advice. He was staying in Jyekundo, a district of eastern Kham that had been annexed from Tibetan government control by the Chinese "during their invasion". The Panchen Lama, being under Chinese power, was being held up there in his attempt to return to Central Tibet due to Chinese interference and insistence that he must be accompanied by a force of 500 armed Chinese soldiers; naturally this condition was not at all acceptable to the Tibetan Government in Lhasa. While negotiations were going on between the Lhasa Government, the Panchen Lama and the Chinese authorities about this escort issue, he was stuck in Jyekundo. He had therefore been busy investigating reports of unusual children born in the area, who might be the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama; the deep spiritual link between the two Lamas had never wavered despite apparent political difficulties and attempted Chinese interference.
In fact, when the search team arrived to see him, the Panchen Lama had already identified three potential candidates. He gave their details to the search party leader, Kewtsang Rinpoche, who then investigated further. One of these three candidates was already dead and another ran away crying when shown the objects belonging to the late Dalai Lama. The third candidate, who lived in Taktser, was characterised as "fearless" and he was indeed found to be the true incarnation. Thus, it was this Panchen Lama Thubten Choekyi Nyima who first discovered and identified the 14th Dalai Lama.
The tombs of the fifth through the ninth Panchen Lamas were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and have been rebuilt by the tenth Panchen Lama with a huge tomb at Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, known as the Tashi Langyar.
- Yangsanjab, Mongol prince who hosted Lama's Ceremony
- In 1997 TIN released "A Poisoned Arrow" which was written by someone calling himself the 10th Panchen as explained above Professor Dawa Norbhu corrected this. However, the numbering seems to have changed due to this misunderstanding. In Melvyn Goldstein's otherwise excellent book he refers to Chokyi Nyima as the 9th Panchen. This is the first reference to him as such in the west(?) FACT the 5th Dalai Lama made his teacher the 1st Panchen.
- "Who is Panchen Rinpoche?". tashilhunpo.org. Tashilhunpo Monastery. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
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- Tuttle, Gray. Review of Le 9e Panchen Lama (1883–1937): Enjeu des relations Sino-Tibetaines, JIATS, no. 2 (August 2006) Columbia University. THDL #T2726.
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