(TibetanReview.net, Oct28, 2015) – ‘Gyaencaen Norbu’, the 11th Panchen Lama appointed by the Chinese government in 1995 in place of the one recognized by the Dalai Lama took part in religious functions on Nov 26 in Jokhang Temple, Tibet’s holiest place of worship, reported China’s online Tibet news service eng.tibet.cn Nov 27. Though the Panchen Lamas, Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure, traditionally live in his seat monastery of Tashi Lhunpo in Shigatse City, Gyaencaen Norbu lives in Beijing and is only occasionally brought to Tibet on short trips by the Chinese government. His visits take place under tight security as most Tibetans do not accept his legitimacy.
The report said the 25-year-old visited the temple’s major halls, paid homage and presented ceremonial scarves to statues of Buddhas, especially the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni brought by the Chinese Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty in the seventh century when marrying the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.
The report emphasized that it was before this statue in Nov 1995 that Gyaencaen Norbu was chosen as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama by the Chinese government.
The report said the ‘11th Panchen Lama’ also led sutra-chanting at the temple, praying for harvests, prosperity and stability.
Gyaencaen Norbu was reported to have arrived in Lhasa on Nov 24 and to be scheduled to hold several more activities in ‘the holy city of Tibetan Buddhism’.
Gyaencaen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama is one of the several vice presidents of the Buddhist Association of China and a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s supposedly top political advisory body.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts, if alive, and the conditions of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima recognized by the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, continues to remain unknown after the Chinese government took him away with his family on Apr 17, 1995.