Who Is The Panchen Lama?

The Panchen Lama is the second most important Tibetan Buddhist leader. Traditionally, The Panchen Lama is responsible for giving instrumental Buddhist teachings to the Dalai Lama, as well as being the leader of the search party should the Dalai Lama die and a new one need to be recognized.

What has happened to the Panchen Lama?

On May 14, 1995, the Dalai Lama recognized Gendhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet. This extremely important decision by His Holiness was the result of a difficult and thorough search which lasted six years. Gendhun Choekyi Nyima is a ten year old boy from a semi-pastoralist family that resides in the Lhari District in Kham, Tibet.

Apparently, on May 17, 1995, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, his family, the Abbott Chadrel Rinpoche and his secretary, who both lead the search party for this incarnate, were taken by the People's Republic of China (PRC) to Beijing. Thus, these persons are now political prisoners of the Chinese government. As of today, all of these persons are still missing and there has been no indication that they are alive.

In December 1995, the PRC illegally announced its own Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu. The PRC has absolutely no authority to choose the next Panchen Lama. Only the Dalai Lama has the right to select the Panchen Lama. The PRC also has no legal justification to hold Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, his family, or members of the search party as hostages.

Why should you take action?

It is very critical for the survival of Tibet that the real Panchen Lama, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, be released as well as others associated with his selection. We must all support His Holiness The Dalai Lama's selection of this important spiritual leader and fight for his security. If the PRC does not want to recognize Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, then they should release this ten year old boy to the Tibetan community in exile, along with everyone else connected with his selection. The 11th Panchen Lama must have the right to visit Tibetans in exile around the world, particularly His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

What can you do?

We strongly encourage you to pressure the Chinese government to secure the immedaite release of the Panchen Lama, his family, and all persons associated with the discovery of this significant Lama. You can write letters about this issue to:

Premier of the PR
Li Peng Zongli
9 Xihuangchenggenbeijie
Beijingshi 100032
The People's Republic of China

Director of the State Council Bureau of Religious Affairs
Zhang Shengzuo Juzhang
Guowuyuan Zongjiao Shiwuju
22 Xianmen Dajie
Baijinshi 100017, PRC

President of the Xizang Autonomous
Regional People's Government
Gyaltsen Norbu Zhuxi
Xizang Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu
1 Kang'angdonglu
Lhasa, Tibet, PRC

Qin Huasun
Ambassador, Embassy of the PRC
2300 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Department of State
Secretary Madeline Albright
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

President Bill Clinton
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20520