(TibetanReview.net, Nov27’23) – The Chinese government’s replacement-appointed 11th Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu appears to have spent far longer period in Tibet this year than at any time before, mainly visiting monasteries and performing prayer services, giving “head touching” blessings to local Tibetans paraded before him, and telling Tibetans to be patriotic and loyal to the Communist Party-state of China. China usually keeps him in Beijing, although the Tashilhunpo in Shigatse City of Tibet is supposed to be his seat monastery.
Panchen Erdeni Chos-kyi-rgyal-po— also known as Panchen Rinpoche —conducted a series of religious activities in monasteries in Shigatse of Xizang autonomous region between Nov 20 and 24, reported China’s official chinadaily.com.cn Nov 27.
The report said that during visits to the Pokhang Monastery and Drangmejan Monastery of Panam county, and Lhading Temple of Namling county, he exhorted the monks to reduce their dependence on electronic devices when performing their religious practices in daily life.
The report made it a point to note that during the days he visited these religious sites in Shigatse, each site welcomed “the Panchen Rinpoche” with reverence in accordance with Tibetan Buddhism’s highest traditions.
It said he was presented with mandalas by the monks; that he imparted, in his turn, spiritual teachings and scriptures to the monks, bestowed blessings by touching their heads, and distributed blessings among them. He was also stated to have sanctified the main hall and the newly constructed halls of these monasteries.
Before this latest report, Gyaltsen Norbu was stated to have concluded a three-month tour of Tibet’s capital Lhasa on Sep 12.
This was preceded by tours of Gyalthang (Shangri-La, Chinese: Xianggelila) County in Yunnan province; Lithang (Litang), Bathang (Batang), and Dhapa (Daba) counties in Sichuan province; and Chamdo, Jomda, and Markham (Mangkang) counties in Chamdo City, Tibet Autonomous Region.
Gyaltsen Norbu is not recognized by the mainstream Tibetan Buddhists, given that he replaced the then 6-year-old Gedhun Chokeyi Nyima who was recognized by the current Dalai Lama in 1995, only to be kidnapped and disappeared by the Chinese government.
Nevertheless, he is expected to play a key role in “recognizing” and installing a “reincarnate” successor to the current Dalai Lama chosen by the atheist Communist Party-state of China, even though the exile Tibetan spiritual leader has already made it clear that he will not be reborn in a territory under Beijing’s control so long as the issue of Tibet remained unresolved.