Marla R. Stevens

Long Live The 11th Panchen Lama

Filed By Marla R. Stevens | April 25, 2007 6:42 AM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Living
Tags: Buddhism, Chinese gays and lesbians, human rights abuses, Panchen Lama, PRC, Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism

ACTION: Write your Congressional delegation, asking that China's most favored nation trade status not be renewed until the Panchen Lama is freed.

BACKGROUND: In Tibetan Buddhism, the two highest spiritual leaders, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, have chosen to be continually reborn into their earthly jobs. It is the job of each to find the other among all the small children of the earth. The People's Republic of China, in an attempt to gain complete control of the Tibetan people, including the diaspora fighting the brutally murderous Chinese occupation of their homeland, kidnapped the young Panchen Lama at age twelve, hiding him near Beijing, and installed their hand picked substitute on his throne, waiting for the day when the Dalai Lama dies and the Dalai Lama's reincarnation needs to be found and recognized by the Panchen Lama. They plan to have their faux Panchen Lama "recognize" a faux Dalai Lama that they can control. The current Dalai Lama's incarnation has said that he will not be reborn in Chinese-controlled territory and has toyed with not reappearing at all in order to thwart the PRC's nefarious plans but that has not resulted in the freeing of the real Panchen Lama.

Statement of the International Tibet Independence Movement
Fishers, Indiana USA
April 25, 2007

Today should be a joyful day for all those who practice Tibetan Buddhism and support Tibet, as it is the 18th Birthday of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, The Panchen Lama. Under different circumstances, our celebration would begin in the early hours of the morning with prayers. Many of us also would have the opportunity to offer His Holiness The Panchen Lama, in person, katas and gifts. We would receive His blessings as well. This year like every other year since His Holiness The Dalai Lama recognized Gendhun Choekyi Nyima in 1995, we are denied this opportunity, and as such, our human rights and religious freedom are violated.

The violation of our rights and freedom of expression pale, however, in comparison to what His Holiness The Panchen Lama has endured these past twelve years. ...

... It is impossible to imagine that since the age of six, He has been tucked away in isolation unable to pursue a proper education as both a child and as a Tulku*. It is also unfathomable that He has been completely restricted from interacting with the outside world and performing His responsibilities as Tibet's second most important spiritual leader. For practically His entire life, China has held Him hostage, and it is absolutely unclear how Chinese officials have treated Him. China has refused to abide by any of the accepted international codes of human rights and it has denied diplomats and leaders of various NGOs the opportunity to see or talk to Gendhun Choekyi Nyima. Thus, we do not know the status of His health or well-being.

Today, as an eighteen-year-old individual, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima enters adulthood without any of the normally sanctioned privileges, rights, and benefits granted by governments throughout the world. He also is denied the freedom to express His independence as a young adult and display His own unique identity as a Tibetan and spiritual leader. Moreover, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima's passage into adulthood is tainted by a childhood replete with oppression, abuse, and a brutal, systematic attempt to control His mind and a highly successful effort to control His physical movements and surroundings.

Regardless of the extent of this tragedy, many of us continue to maintain our deep respect and belief in the wisdom and talents of The 11th Panchen Lama. We believe China's government will never convert Gendhun Choekyi Nyima to their communist ideology nor can they erase His devotion to His Holiness The Dalai Lama and His dedication to the philosophy and practice of Tibetan Buddhism.

In this dark time of The Panchen Lama's life and Tibet itself, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima symbolizes the consequences of China's illegal occupation and the essence of our entire struggle. As such, His infinite light reminds all of us of our basic tasks. That is, securing Tibetans' human and religious rights, preserving Tibet's culture, and fulfilling the political aspirations of the Tibetan people inside of Tibet, specifically their desire for Rangzen**.

The Panchen Lama appears to be a political pawn in the Tibet-China conflict. He is also, however, a major threat to the stability of China's atheistic policy and general control over its people. Historically, prior to the communist takeover of China, the Chinese people valued and respected Buddhism, particularly Pureland Buddhist practices. The main inspiration for their practice was Amitabha Buddha. Interestingly, The Panchen Lama is thought to be an emanation of this Buddha. Therefore, it is highly conceivable that China's government is afraid of the potential influence The Panchen Lama might have on their citizen's values, beliefs, and behaviors. Further, China's government may fear losing control of its citizens if, for instance, The Panchen Lama was free.

We will not accept any reason China offers for keeping The Panchen Lama secluded from the rest of the world. There is no viable excuse for violating His human rights nor is there any valid reason for holding Him under house arrest. He must be set free and permitted to pursue whatever activities He so desires. If China is afraid of the influence Gendhun Choekyi Nyima may have on the Chinese people, there is a simple solution. Let Him immigrate to another country like India or the United States.

Until Gendhun Choekyi Nyima is set free we will not rest. We will actively and aggressively struggle for His release. In fact, this summer we will once again organize a walk to advocate for His release and to speak out for Tibet's independence. This walk will be between New York City and Philadelphia.

Finally, we want to wish His Holiness The Panchen Lama a long, healthy, and prosperous life. In time, we are certain He will grace us with His physical presence and sit upon His Tashi Lhunpo Monastery throne in an independent Tibet.

Long Live The Panchen Lama!
Long Live The Panchen Lama!
Long Live The Panchen Lama!

* A Tulku is a being who has achieved nirvana yet has chosen to be reborn to help, through infinite compassion, fellow beings achieve spiritual growth.

** Rangzen is freedom and independence.

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Zach Adamson | April 25, 2007 8:47 AM

Im with you on this Marla, but what are the chances of the US taking a stand on this? The Chinese are becoming a world power now and are worth lots of commercial dollars. Too many Americans are gona make loads of money there to bring up trade restrictions. I'll write congress, but I cant see them acting... Sadly

Marla R. Stevens | April 25, 2007 1:58 PM

We have successfully used the talks surrounding them and other things to free people, so we don't have to have perfection of success for all time to make a difference. It is about the only thing that this administration has done that I've been pleased with. This one's a much longer shot, granted, but the U.S. voice is not the only one out there. Keep hope alive.

Marla R. Stevens | April 26, 2007 5:34 AM

Sometimes good news happens:

It's official: Colorado will not help fund genocide

... HB 1184 (sponsored by Speaker Romanoff), which directs the state's pension funds to pull out any investment in Darfur, sailed through both the House and the Senate.
And now Governor Ritter has signed it into law; it's a good day.

If you're ever tempted to throw up your hands in despair when faced with horrors too vast to comprehend and perhaps too far away to affect, remember this legislation began when a handful of CU Boulder students made their way to Denver to talk to Speaker Romanoff.

(I'm going to stop now, before I get too deeply into the importance of communicating with our elected officials, but no doubt you can sense it hovering there in the corner.)