By Tenzin Dharpo
Gyaltsen Norbu speaks at the plenary meeting of the fifth session of the 12th CPPCC National Committee in Beijing. March 11, 2017. Source-(XinhuaJu Peng)
DHARAMSHALA, MAR. 14: The Chinese appointed Panchen Lama, regarded by Tibetans as the “fake Panchen”, has called for monastic community of Tibet to love the communist party of China and to avow patriotism for the country while also advocating a halt on the commercialization of the Buddhist religion to restore its purity.
Gyaltsen Norbu (ch. Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu – Another name for Panchen Lama in pinyin) was speaking at the annual plenary meeting of the fifth session of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee in Beijing. He was cited by HKFP as saying, “(We need to) spend energy on nurturing a group of outstanding talent who love the party and love the country, are spiritually clean, and care for all living beings.” Incidentally, the 27 year old ethnically Tibetan is a member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee.
Norbu who is also the vice president of the Buddhist Association of China and the central figure of Beijing’s Buddhism card also called for the image of the religion to be restored against the evil of commercialization and that Buddhism and Socialism could be compatible. He urged Buddhist leaders and teachers to “explain their religious doctrines in ways that are appropriate in the national context, and are appropriate for the demands of societal development.”
“Some places treat monasteries as cash cows, turning them into family temples and shopping malls. Some fake ‘living Buddhas’ and fake monks use seemingly real theories to ‘spread Buddhism,’ and defraud others of money. Chaotic scenes like this cannot represent mainstream Buddhism, but they have… polluted the serious and merciful image of Buddhism,” he further said.
The Beijing appointed Panchen Lama who is considered as the “fake Panchen” by Tibetans in exile and in Tibet is seen as a pawn of Beijing in a larger geo-political assertion over occupied Tibet. The Dalai Lama who is the figurehead of Tibetan Buddhism recognised another boy, Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama as has been the custom.
However, the Dalai Lama appointed Panchen Lama, Gedun Choekyi Nyima subsequently disappeared after what Tibetans allege as a Chinese government orchestrated kidnapping and has not been seen in public since May 1995.
In a rare admission by Beijing, last September Norbu Dunzhub, a member of the Tibet Autonomous Region's United Front Work Department told reporters that the kidnapped boy was alive. He said, “The reincarnated child Panchen Lama you mentioned is being educated, living a normal life, growing up healthily and does not wish to be disturbed."
Exile based Tibetan activists claim that Chinese government – installed Panchen Lama’s Kalachakra initiation in July last year at the historical seat of Panchen Lamas in Tashi Lunpo monastery in Shigatse, Tibet was nothing more than a propaganda exercise to espouse Beijing’s legitimization of their Buddhist leadership. Sources report that mandatory attendance from each home in Shigatse and neighboring areas was stipulated by authorities as devotees for the staged Buddhist event by Gyaltsen Norbu.