(TibetanReview.net, Jun18’22) – Gyaltsen Norbu, the 11th Panchen Lama appointed by the Chinese government to replace the since long-disappeared Dalai Lama-recognized Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, had spent two days (Jun 16-17) at the Tibet Buddhism Academy, located in Chushur County of Tibet’s capital Lhasa, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jun 18.
Located in Nyethang Township of Chushur County of Lhasa City, it is the biggest centre for Tibetan Buddhists set up by the Chinese government in 2011 for training ‘patriotic’ monks and nuns with the investment of nearly 400 million yuan (about US$59.8 million).
The “big three” monasteries in Tibet each had thousands of monks before China’s full annexation of the country in 1959, with Drepung, the biggest, described as having as much as 10,000 monks at one time. But now these monasteries have monks only in low hundreds capped by the Chinese government. This makes Tibet Buddhism Academy the biggest centre for Tibetan Buddhist monastics in Tibet, with the purpose being to train Communist Party of China-loyal and China-patriotic Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns.
Gaesang Wangdue, vice president of the academy, has said the academy currently had 906 students from 469 temples across Tibet (Autonomous Region), including more than 800 monks, 132 nuns, and 14 young Living Buddhas.
The largest Buddhist academy in Tibet (Autonomous Region) has trained thousands of outstanding monks and nuns for the Tibetan Buddhist community, the report said.
As the ‘11th Panchen Lama’, Gyaltsen Norbu – born Feb 13, 1990 in Lhari County of Tibet’s Nagchu City – was stated to have chanted prayers with the monks, given lectures, and distributed alms to all the students.
He was reported to have held a discussion with student representatives after giving a lecture for more than an hour.
On Jun 17 morning, he was stated to have performed head-touching rituals for all the monks and nuns at the academy.
It was stated to be his fourth visit to the academy to give lectures and hold exchanges with students.
The report described the Panchen Lama as one of the most influential Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism and noted that Gyaltsen Norbu was approved and confirmed by the State Council as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen after lot-drawing from a golden urn and enthroned as the 11th Panchen Erdeni.