08 December 2008

11th Panchen Lama calls on Buddhists to back national unity

One of China's most respectable Tibetan living Buddhas, the 11th Panchen Lama Erdeni Gyaincain Norbu, told Buddhist believers to make due contributions to the unity of the country and harmony among different ethnic groups.

The remark was made by the 11th Panchen Lama to followers while doing prayers at two local temples during an inspection tour to central China's Hunan Province from Nov.26 to Dec.4.

On the first day of his stay in Hunan, the Panchen Lama toured a memorial for late Chairman Mao Zedong and Mao's former residence in Shaoshan, a village-turned city to the southwest of Changsha, the provincial capital.

He wrote a piece of calligraphy in Tibetan language saying "Long Live Chairman Mao's Spirit" on the very desk Mao used to work at.

The 11th Panchen Lama also presided over prayers at Fuyan Temple in Hengyang, a key city in southern Hunan, on Nov.27 and Lushan Temple in Changsha on Dec.1.

"Buddhist believers should blend holy Buddhist doctrine with socialist construction, work for harmony with the society, and make due contributions for national unity, social stability and reunification of China," said the eminent living Buddha.

Gyaincain Norbu, born on February 13, 1990 in Lhari county of Nagqu prefecture in northern Tibet, was approved by the central government in November 1995 as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama, who died in 1989, after a lot drawing ceremony among three candidates in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. He was enthroned as the 11th Panchen Lama on Dec. 8, 1995.

Drawing lots from a gold urn to decide on the final choice of the reincarnation of a high lama is a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. Gaining the approval from the central government on the choice began in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
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