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China’s Panchen in Tibet: report calls Tibetan Buddhist deity by Chinese version’s name

(TibetanReview.net, Aug06’21) – The 11th Panchen Lama appointed by the Chinese government in 1995 after kidnapping and disappearing the throne-holder already recognized by the Dalai Lama is apparently on his annual visit to Tibet. Official Chinese media sought to promote the Sincization of Tibetan Buddhism during his visit by describing the statue of a prominent Tibetan Buddhist deity by the name of its Chinese version and highlighting the Chinese origin of the 12-year-old Buddha’s statue in the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa.

“In the early morning of Aug 1, Panchen Erdeni Choskyi Gyalpo, a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, vice president of the Chinese Buddhist Association, and president of the Tibet branch of the Buddhist Association of China, went to the Jokhang Temple to worship the Buddha and lead the monks in chanting sutras to pray for world peace and national peace and prosperity,” reported China’s online Tibet new service eng.tibet.cn Aug 5.

The report then said the Panchen Lama ceremonially travelled to the main hall of the Jokhang Temple and visited Gandan Lhakhang Prayer Hall, Thousand Hands Guanyin Prayer Hall, and Sakyamuni Hall one by one, praying and chanting scriptures in each.

The Tibetan Buddhist deity Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara in Sanskrit) is the Bodhisattva of compassion and the Dalai Lama is believed to be his reincarnation. Guanyin, on the other hand, is the Chinese Buddhist version of Chenrezig with the difference that to the Chinese Buddhists the deity is female.

The report also noted that in front of the Buddha statue of 12-year-old Sakyamuni, “which was brought to the plateau by Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty, Panchen Lama reverently and solemnly painted gold powder on the statue, bowed his head, worshipped, and offered a khata.”

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