His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a highly revered man across the globe. His admiration and teachings stretch far beyond his Tibetan Buddhist followers. His Holiness is not only the highest spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, but he often comes out on the world stage as an advocate for international human rights, nonviolence, and harmony as well. Simply put, the Dalai Lama is a symbol of hope, peace, and wisdom.
The same, however, cannot be said of the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, the 11th Panchen Lama. Rather than be a voice of wisdom, he has become yet another face of Chinese Communist propaganda.
China, officially, is an atheist nation. However the Party, ignoring the religious and cultural significance of Tibetan Buddhism, decided it was best to select a new Penchant Lama. And so it did just that: in 1995 in an effort to win the support of Tibetans – a failed quest, I might add – the CCP named Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama.
The Panchen Lama, who is believed to spend most of his time in Beijing rather than in Tibet, met with head of the United Front Work Department Sun Chunlan Friday where he vowed to uphold the “glorious tradition” of patriotism, state-run news agency Xinhua News reported.
Xinhua paraphrased him as saying, “[he will] resolutely endorse comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the Communist Party, endorse socialism with Chinese characteristics and continue the glorious tradition of Panchen Lamas in the history of loving the country and loving religion.”
The irony, as you can see, is incredible. But unfortunately this statement is no Alec Baldwin-plays-Trump-on-SNL scenario; it’s not a joke story. No, this young man actually is the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, his young mind warped by China’s overbearing authoritarian government.
According to the report, Sun told Xinhua news she hoped the Panchen Lama “deeply understands” that the Communist Party and its leader Xi Jinping are the only representation the Tibetan people have for their basic interests, and that he “should always stand with the Party”.