(TibetanReview.net, Jun29, 2015) – China said it mobilized some 500 government employees to help organize a four-day religious ceremony administered by a teacher of Gyaltsen Norbu, the ‘11th Panchen Lama’ appointed by it after taking away and disappearing the Panchen Lama recognized by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in a Tibetan area of Gansu Province. More than 110,000 devotees and tourists from Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai, Tibet and Yunnan attended it on the first day, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jun 27.
It was not clear how many of those who attended the ceremony, the Kalachakra empowerment, which began on Jun 27, were devotees. The ceremony was held in Xiahe (Tibetan: Sangchu) County, the location of the Labrang Monastery to which Jamyang Gyatso, who conferred the empowerment, belongs.
The report said some 500 government employees were mobilized “to serve the ritual and help ensure the traffic order, food safety, medical service and materials supply.” It added that the ritual was organized at the request of local devotees and approved by the provincial religious authorities.
The report said Jamyang Gyatso, a native of Xiahe, had joined Labrang Monastery at the age of eight, although China has now banned Tibetans below 18 years old from becoming monks or nuns. It added that he was chosen in 1998 to guide the Buddhist studies of the ‘11th Panchen Lama’ Gyaltsen Norbu.
A Kalachakra teaching attracts a huge number of devotees and Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has administered the empowerment 33 times so far, after the first one in a nominally independent Tibet’s capital Lhasa in 1954. He is to give his 34th empowerment at Bodh Gaya, the most sacred site to Buddhists all over the world, in Jan 2016.
China has in the past severely punished Tibetans who had travelled to India to receive this teaching from the Dalai Lama, including by subjecting them to months of political indoctrination detentions.