The Dalai Lama is easily one of the most recognized personalities in the world today. This is in part due to the plight of the Tibetan people after the Tibetan exodus of 1959, and in part due to the popular albeit incorrect view that the Dalai Lama is the most ‘attained’ and qualified Buddhist in the world. The Dalai Lama has been riding on the crest of his stardom as the most visible victim and refugee for decades. And this, coupled with his usefulness as India and the Western powers’ most effective thorn in the side of a rising China who threatens the global balance of power, has meant that the Dalai Lama has been left unfettered for over half a century.
Emboldened by the passivity of the nations of the world intoxicated by his charm, and empowered by his cult status, the Dalai Lama has progressively decimated the nation of the Tibetan people via a series of moves calculated to divide and subdue the only people who can puncture the Dalai Lama myth, the Tibetan people themselves led by the spiritual leaders of the various Tibetan Buddhist sects. We see how the Dalai Lama successfully split the Tibetan people via introducing confusion and schism into the community – the two Karmapas, the Dorje Shugden ban, the definition and direction of the ‘Tibetan Cause’ – rangzen or umaylam, and last but not least, by engaging in political gamesmanship with China, using the recognition of the 11th Panchen Lama as a gambit. Next to the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama is regarded as the highest Tibetan lama in terms of status although they rank equally in terms of spiritual importance.
The Panchen Lama
The 10th Panchen Lama had been a very important figure in Sino-Tibetan history and when the Dalai Lama escaped to India in 1959, it was the 10th Panchen Lama who chose to remain in China to represent the Tibetan people, protect the Tibetan culture and act as an intermediary between the Tibetan people and their new overlords, the government of Mao Zedong. Initially seen as a traitor, he eventually won the hearts and trust of the Tibetan people by his defiance of Chinese government policies that he deemed to be unfair towards the Tibetans. And when the 10th Panchen Lama openly voiced his opposition to the harsh treatment of the Tibetan people by Mao’s army, he was incarcerated.
When the 10th Panchen Lama passed away, both China and the Dalai Lama hastened to claim the right to find his reincarnation. For China, finding and enthroning the next Panchen Lama would mean getting a handle on the control that steers the Tibetan psyche. For the Dalai Lama, it would mean denying China any legitimate opportunity to shape Tibetan thoughts and actions. Critics say that both intended to use religion as a political tool. When the Dalai Lama’s chosen candidate disappeared mysteriously, China recognized and enthroned a six-year-old boy, Gyaincain Norbu, who became Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, the 11th Panchen Lama.
If anyone could rival the 14th Dalai Lama’s deistic hegemony, it would be the 11th Panchen Lama as both have long been regarded as equals in terms of religious authority and this, and not political weight, is what moves the Tibetan people and adherents of Tibetan Buddhism. And so from Dharamsala, word quickly spread that the ‘Chinese Panchen Lama’ was a fake reincarnation and no more than a puppet of the Chinese government.
However, many who understand the divine nature of a Buddha’s mind or ‘life force’ (the Panchen Lama is long regarded as an emanation of the Buddha Amitabha) argue that no worldly maneuvers can outwit the passage of an enlightened being returning to resume his sacred work to lead all sentient beings out of suffering. In addition a high lama of the 10th Panchen Lama’s caliber can manifest concurrent Body, Speech, Mind, Activity and Quality emanations.
Nevertheless, for over 20 years, the new Panchen Lama remained relatively low-key as the Dalai Lama continued to lord over the Tibetan Buddhist domain with his every word taken as secular law and celestial mandate. And in that time, the world turned a blind eye to the Dalai Lama’s tyranny that included the forced division of the Karma Kagyu sect, inciting violence to undermine events of religious leaders the Dalai Lama does not approve of, and unilaterally declaring the deity of a group of Buddhists the Dalai Lama opposes, to be a demon and its worshippers, outcasts who are to be denied even the most basic human rights.
However, a recent event in Tibet indicates that change is underway and that perhaps the reign of the 14th Dalai Lama is coming to an end.
The Rise of the 11th Panchen Lama
The Kalacakra Tantra, meaning the ‘Wheel of Time’ belongs to the highest yoga tantra and like all Tantras, is an esoteric practice given to only the most qualified practitioners. However, a unique feature of the Kalacakra Tantra is the geo-location of its mystical pure realm known as Shambala, which is believed to be on the planet Earth. By that virtue, the Kalacakra is believed to be a particularly efficacious practice that allows denizens of our planet to enter the mystical pure land of Shambala, and hence its popularity, usually drawing tens to hundreds of thousands of initiates.
Kalacakra initiations and teachings also happen to be the Buddhist event the 14th Dalai Lama is especially known for. And whether by design or not, the masses drawn to the Dalai Lama’s Kalacakra initiations become bound by oath to obey the Dalai Lama and by default support his views and agendas.
And so, when it was announced that the 11th Panchen Lama would be conducting a Kalacakra initiation in his summer palace, Dechen Kelsang Phodrang, in Shigatse within the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), it became clear that the Dalai Lama and his supporters saw what was in fact a victory for the Dharma, to be a matter of concern instead.
After weeks of preparation, the event commenced on 21 July 2016, a historic day since the last Kalacakra initiation conducted in China was 60 years ago, ironically by the 14th Dalai Lama before his escape to India. The success of the Panchen Lama’s Kalacakra event cannot be understated and various media reported that the four-day occasion drew crowds of over 100,000 each day. Many braved long journeys to Shigatse to be present. In addition, many high lamas such as Nyetru Rinpoche, the young incarnation of the illustrious Denma Gonsa Rinpoche, and prominent lamas such as Lama Jampa Ngodup were in attendance.
A Problem for the Dalai Lama and CTA
If ever there was a need for evidence to show that the Dalai Lama’s government is more interested in personal gain than the welfare of the Tibetan people, then such evidence can be clearly seen in the way Dharamasala responded to this joyful affair.
Phayul.com, the CTA’s mouthpiece reported a few days before the event that:
The Chinese appointed Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu regarded as the ‘fake Panchen’ by most Tibetans is set to give the foremost Buddhist teaching, the Kalachakra initiation or the ‘wheel of time’ teachings next week in Tashi Lhunpo monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lamas in Shigatse, Tibet.
And on the first day of the Panchen Lama’s Kalacakra initiation, Phayul.com reported:
The Tibetan Women Association, Students for a Free Tibet, Gu Chu Sum Movement and the National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT) today organized a ‘scarf offering ceremony’ near Tsuglakahang Temple, to a portrait of the Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima recognized by the Dalai Lama.
Instead of rejoicing that hundreds of thousands of Tibetans would be blessed by this rare and highly propitious ritual, the CTA chose to turn it into an opportunity to slander the Panchen Lama. The CTA would rather Tibetans who have been refugees for over half a century and no closer to having legitimate citizenship anywhere, make offerings to an empty throne, than to rejoice in the good fortune of hundreds of thousands of their countrymen attending this Panchen Lama’s event.
Dharamsala regards the Panchen Lama as a ‘fake’ but completely disregards the fact that the person who is the 11th Panchen Lama is also a monk, trained and qualified to give the very beneficial Kalacakra initiation. Clearly the CTA labels a lama good or bad depending on whether or not the lama toes the CTA’s political line, not by the lama’s individual qualities and spiritual attainments. This is patently wrong. Just because a lama does not vigorously agree with the CTA and the Dalai Lama’s politics does not disqualify him as a competent, practiced and attained monk and neither does it negate the blessings and power of Kalacakra. Neither the Dalai Lama nor the CTA can claim ownership of the Kalacakra initiation or indeed any part of the Dharma and neither can they insist on monopolizing any Buddhist rituals.
The fact that Dharamsala even attempted to, presumably under the instructions of the Dalai Lama, if not with his consent (seeing that nothing happens without the Dalai Lama’s approval) is a clear indication of their priorities and lack of sincere Buddhist values.
Moreover, it is a well-known belief that a fake or falsely recognized incarnation of a high lama will not posses the merits to occupy the high seat for long. He will simply not have the force and karmic puissance to hold that high position. And yet, we see the 11th Panchen Lama growing in relevance and activity and displaying the demeanor of an enlightened being.
Neither can it be said that only Kalacakra initiations given by the Dalai Lama are potent. The line of Dalai Lamas as well as Panchen Lamas have historically been intimately involved in this tantra. Both have written important commentaries on Kalacakra and both are associated with various kings of Shambala, the pure realm of Kalacakra. Therefore, initiations given by the Panchen Lama are every bit as potent as those of the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama and CTA have also implied that the event is a manufactured gambit by the Chinese government to assert authority in Tibetan Buddhist matters, and that the sponsors of the Panchen Lama’s Kalacakra initiation do not have pure intentions.
However, the very same accusations can be levied at the Dalai Lama prolifically giving Kalacakra initiations (33 up until 2014, which is a lot more initiations than any other lamas have given in the past). A key aspect of the ritual is the initiate visualizing his or her rebirth as the child of the lama performing the initiation, or belonging to a sacred community with the lama as the central focus. Therefore it can also be said that in conducting as many Kalacakra rituals as the Dalai Lama has, he maintains his symbolic dominance over the people, very much in the same way the feudal lords of old Tibet did. In addition, how do we know what motivations all the Dalai Lama’s sponsors had?
The way the CTA attacks the Panchen Lama’s Kalacakra initiation is strange and incongruous when we try to see it from an assumption that it is the government of Avalokiteshvara. However, if we were to shift our assumption and view the CTA as nothing more than a corrupt and incompetent administration that hides behind the veil of the Dalai Lama’s supposed divinity, it all makes sense.
The Undoing of the Dalai Lama’s Government
The rise of the 11th Panchen Lama is a bane to the Dalai Lama’s coterie for a number of reasons:
- It is evidence that contrary to the CTA’s well-oiled propaganda machinery, China is not opposed to Buddhism and in fact carefully promotes it. China has always been firm that it does not oppose Tibetan Buddhism but it is the Dalai Lama’s splittist objectives and activities that often hijack Buddhist apparatus for its political purposes.At no point during the four-day Kalacakra initiation did the Panchen Lama or any Chinese official indulge in anti-Dalai Lama rhetoric or political agenda. On the other hand, it is common for the Dalai Lama to use teachings and sacred events to attack those whom he has decided to be enemies with, such as Dorje Shugden practitioners.
- Neither do we see the supposedly ‘bigoted’ Chinese government impose conditions on anyone attending the Panchen Lama’s event. This is in stark contrast to the way the Dalai Lama’s camp forbids practitioners of Dorje Shugden to attend the Dalai Lama’s teachings and other spiritual events intended to liberate all beings;
- It is also clear that since his official installation in 1995, the 11th Panchen Lama has progressively gained the trust and devotion of the Tibetan people. The number of Tibetans who travelled great distances and withstood days of rain and cold to see and receive blessings from him means that the Panchen Lama has gained acceptance as the Dalai Lama’s significance to Tibetans in the Autonomous Region begins to wane. Over time, the young Panchen Lama’s popularity will only increase, as the aging and ailing Dalai Lama becomes a fading memory;
- As the Panchen Lama’s activities grow, so does the number of his disciples and this is precisely what the Dalai Lama does not wish to see. Those who regard the Panchen Lama as their guru will surely oppose the Dalai Lama’s attacks on the Panchen Lama, on China and on worshippers of the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden, seeing that the line of Panchen Lamas have always believed in Dorje Shugden. It was after all the 4th Panchen Lama Losang Chokyi Gyaltsen who recognized Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen (from whom Dorje Shugden arose), as Manjushri. To the Dalai Lama, this represents a drastic weakening of his use of religion as a political tool;
- The Panchen Lama’s ascendancy is also seen as a problem for the CTA and the Dalai Lama. They have openly declared this Panchen Lama to be an impostor. And yet as this Panchen Lama gains popularity and the acceptance of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama may have to recant his accusations or lose the support of the Tibetan people, which he cannot afford to do. It would not be the first time the present Dalai Lama would go back on his decision, based on his supposed omniscience, as the Dalai Lama’s camp would have you believe.
A similar situation occurred with the 10th Panchen Lama. The 14th Dalai Lama had initially rejected the boy known as Gompo Tseten as the rightful incarnation of the 9th Panchen Lama. Instead the 14th Dalai Lama recognized another candidate as the 10th Panchen Lama. However, Gompo Tseten had the support first of the Kuomintang and later the Chinese Communist Party. The 14th Dalai Lama, concerned that the newly legitimized 10th Panchen Lama might, with the support of China claim secular and religious control over Tibet, decided to quickly recognize the Chinese-endorsed 10th Panchen Lama. The Dalai Lama’s first choice of the 10th Panchen Lama was unceremoniously relegated to the position of ‘Panchen Otrul’ or merely an emanation of the Panchen Lama.
So, we see that the Dalai Lama has been proven to be quick to change his mind on whom he deems to be the ‘right’ incarnation of a high lama, depending on which way the political winds blow. As it turned out, the 10th Panchen Lama whom the Dalai Lama initially denied performed tremendous deeds for the Tibetan people as well as the religion that left no doubts in anyone’s mind that he was an enlightened being;
The Dalai Lama and CTA’s days of unchecked abuse of power, corruption and manipulation of the Tibetan Buddhist religion is coming to an end. As it turns out, so is their persecution of Dorje Shugden practitioners. For over 20 years, the CTA has made every effort to destroy an ancient and holy Dharma Protector practice and in the process, they have distorted the Dharma, divided Tibetan Buddhists worldwide and forced countless Buddhist believers into confusion and broken samaya.
In the same time span, Dorje Shugden masters who, according to the Dalai Lama, should be burning in Avici Hell became learned and knowledgeable, matured, began manifesting the high attainments they had achieved in their previous lives and emerged as the powerful lamas they are.
We see this in the rise of the 11th Panchen Lama, H.H. Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche, H.E. Rabten Rinpoche, H.E. Zawa Tulku Rinpoche, H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, Lama Michel Rinpoche, H.E. Achok Rinpoche and the return of great masters such as H.E. Domo Chocktrul Rinpoche and H.E. Denma Gonsa Rinpoche, all great masters who did not abandon their faith in Dorje Shugden. None of this was supposed to happen if the Dalai Lama is right about Dorje Shugden being a demon.
Concurrently we see the tremendous rise of China as a world super power. China had no interest or stake in the Dorje Shugden conflict until Dharamsala made it their business to get involved, by accusing Shugden believers worldwide to be covert agents of China trained to undermine the Dalai Lama. Combined, they represent the unraveling of the Dalai Lama’s CTA, not because Shugden lamas harbor any anti-CTA or anti-Tibetan agenda but because their mere presence exposes the CTA’s malicious agenda that it has carried out for decades.
H.H. the 11th Panchen Lama giving Kalacakra Initiation
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More Pictures from the Kalachakra Initiation