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Tibet Earthquake and Chinese Panchen Lama

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010
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By Rabjor

It is very crucial for Tibetans to invite Lamas to pray for the deceased and restore some dignity to him or her after leaving the world. Family members feel consoled and suffer less pain in their hearts if they are able to call on the presence of a high ranking lama. The custom is not only an enactment of religious faith but it is the strongest expression of love, compassion and sorrow for the deceased. In this time of great suffering and loss, the presence of HH the Dalai Lama or HH Karmapa is much needed and much hoped for in the quake-hit regions of Tibet.

Survivors of the earthquake have written an open letter to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao to allow HH the Dalai Lama to visit the quake-hit areas to provide comfort to people as they continue to search for their loved ones in the collapsed buildings. In response, HH the Dalai Lama expressed his eagerness to visit the disaster zone to comfort the survivors and pray for the deceased but China has declined to make any official statements to this request. I personally doubt they will agree to HH the Dalai Lama visiting the region.

China remains silent on this matter. Perhaps they are restrained out of concern for the pain the people are going through or they fear their response might transform the suffering into explosive rage. Or maybe they are negotiating secretly with HH the Dalai Lama. China must have a reason for this silence.

In the hierarchy of Tibetan Buddhism, HH Panchen Lama and HH Karmapa are accepted as the main religious figures following HH Dalai Lama’s prominence. It is obvious HH Karmapa will not be permitted to return to Tibet, but China has the Panchen Lama, the one they recognized and enthroned. He is young, intelligent, and well educated in both Tibetan Buddhism and contemporary studies, and, he is available to comfort the people of Kyegu. Yet the Chinese have not invited him to Kyegu. If the Chinese government had confidence in their own Panchen Lama why would they hesitate to have him help the people of Kyegu in their hour of need?

My heart goes out to the Chinese Panchen Lama. The throne he sits on must be uneasy and uncomfortable because he knows he cannot be the Panchen Lama for the people of Kyegu.

(This article was originally published in Tibetan on and was translated by DTR)

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