China presses Panchen Lama to address unrest in Tibet
22-year-old 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu,
who was appointed in 1995 by China replacing his Dalai Lama
appointed "predecessor" Choekyi Galtsen at the age of six in a controversial circumstances, began taking active role in the
recent months with high-profile publicity from the state-owned media.
Mostly based in Beijing, the young Lama, who is also the
Vice President of Buddhist Association and nominated member of the Chinese People's Consultative Conference, for the first time stepped out of main land China in April this year and attended a Buddhist conference in Hong Kong.
Since last week he is touring Lhasa, the provincial capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, making high-profile
visits to Buddhist temples and monasteries and urging monks to safeguard China's interests and work for social stability.
Described by China's official Xinhua news agency as "a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism", the young Lama Thursday visited the Tibet Buddhist Theological Institute in Lhasa and called on monks to "love their country and abide by laws".
Opened in October 2011, the institute hosts 150 students
including monks from various Tibetan Buddhist sects.
After performing the rituals, Panchen Lama, regarded as
the second most highest monk after the Dalai Lama, asked
students to abide by national laws and better serve the
country and its people.
"I hope you can make good use of the sound learning
conditions that the institute provides to learn the essence of
Buddhism and safeguard our country and serve its people, so as to be true Buddhists," he said.
In his meeting with local leader on July 24, the Lama said it is both the "basics" and responsibility for a religious person to help people do good deeds, and promote harmony and social development by religious preaching.
"And religious people should abide by the laws and religious code of conduct themselves," he said, apparently referring to the recurring suicides which the Chinese government assert goes against the basic tenets of Buddhism and criticises the Dalai Lama for not condemning them.
His comments were made in the back drop of 44 self-immolations by monks and other Tibetans in different parts of Tibet but mostly in Abba county in Sichuan province.
The suicides were stated to be aimed at protesting high
security as well as to demand the return of the Dalai Lama
While Chinese leaders have dismissed the recurring suicides, there is a sense of anxiety over their impact on increasing the political alienation of the local population.
As the government leaders heaped praised on him, the Lama
admits he felt "pressured" due to the high expectations.
"I feel I am given an important task and bear great responsibilities, but I will take this pressure as motivation," he said.
Though he started visiting Tibet for the past few years, it is not yet known about the impact of his visit and how much
respect he received as there is no independent feedback from the Himalayan region, which still holds the Dalai Lama in
In his interaction, Panchen Lama has stated that Tibet
and Tibetan Buddhism are in their prime time of development
and praised government's efforts to expand health insurance
and social security coverage to all monks and nuns in Tibet's
He urged monks to appreciate what they have now and do
more to safeguard social stability. He also visited the family
of farmer Anu in Thonga village.
Earlier, he visited Jokhang Temple, the most revered monastery in Lhasa, and met senior citizens, orphans and
children with disabilities.
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