Former Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche with Tsangtuk Topla, author of the new book on the 10th Panchen Lama. January 28, 2013. (Phayul photo/Phuntsok Yangchen)
DHARAMSHALA, January 28: A new book on the 10th Panchen Lama Lhundrup Choekyi Gyaltsen was released earlier today in the Tibetan exile headquarters of Dharamshala, coinciding with his 24th death anniversary.
The book release was attended by former Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, representative of Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay and Kashag Secretary, Ven. Yuthok Karma Gelek, and Tibetan researchers, translators, and writers.
Speaking at the book launch, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche welcomed the release of the book and said that he always felt the importance of conducting research and writing on the life and work of the 10th Panchen Lama.
While advising on research methodology to the Tibetan researchers, he noted that intensive research must be based on complete evidence.
The 508-page book authored by history teacher Tsangtuk Topla of the Central for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, has three broad chapters on the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, the life of Panchen Lama, and the succession of Panchen Lama.
Reviewing the book, Naga Sangay Tendar, a researcher at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, described the book as “easily readable and understandable" for anyone who can read Tibetan.
The Dalai Lama, during an earlier occasion, recalled the 10th Panchen Lama as an “extraordinarily fearless Tibetan who showed unwavering courage to work for the general cause of Tibet and its people.”
The 10th Panchen Lama wrote the famous 70,000-character petition about the Tibetan people’s plight under Chinese rule in 1962. The petition, criticising Chinese government’s Tibet policy, was met with violent and scornful reaction from Mao Zedong, who called it a “poisoned arrow shot at the party.” The Panchen Lama was condemned without trial and spent the following 14 years in prison or under virtual house arrest.
In 1978, he was freed after which he traveled extensively throughout Tibet working to preserve the Tibetan culture, and improve the lives of the Tibetan people. During his last visit to Tibet in 1989, the Panchen Lama gave an extraordinary public speech in Shigatse, the seat of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, where he publicly criticised China’s policies in Tibet and declared his loyalty to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Shortly after the address, on January 28, 1989, the 10th Panchen Lama breathed his last under mysterious circumstances. He was 51.
In 1995, the Dalai Lama recognised a young boy Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama, but Beijing soon abducted him and installed its own choice, Gyaltsen Norbu.
The whereabouts of Gendun Choekyi Nyima and his parents are still unknown.