Missing Panchen Lama Sign of Future Unrest for Buddhism

May 16, 2005

Source: BBC News


On May 16, 2005 BBC News reported, "A decade ago, a six-year-old boy was named by the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was nominated as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama - the second-most important figure in Tibetan religion, culture and politics after the Dalai Lama himself. But China disagreed with the choice and arrested the boy a few days later. Mystery surrounds his fate and outside China he is known as one of the world's youngest political prisoners. China installed their own boy, Gyaincain Norbu, as the true 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama... The crisis sparked by the disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima has now reverberated through the Tibetan Buddhist community for a decade. But, according to Tsering Shakya, a bigger crisis awaits the community. That will be sparked by the death of the Dalai Lama, now in his 60s. Traditionally the Panchen Lama is key to recognising the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama."