Author Topic: Panchen & Shugden  (Read 9088 times)


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Panchen & Shugden_ A Poisoned Arrow
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2008, 03:01:04 AM »
A Review of A Poisoned Arrow

by Albion Butters

In 1962, Ch?kyi Gyaltsen, the10th Panchen Lama, delivered a 70,000 character petition of observations and suggestions regarding the implementation of Party policy in Tibet to the top leaders of China. Why is this highly confidential report, only recently translated into English and published in December 1997 by the Tibet Information Network, so important to the understanding of modern Tibetan history? The report itself received initial acceptance and favor by the Party and the Central Committee approved steps to implement some of its suggestions, at least before Chairman Mao reportedly called it "a poisoned arrow aimed at the Party by reactionary feudal overlords."

Historical Role of the Panchen Lama

The historically intimate relationship between China and the Tashilhunpo office of the Panchen Lama has long been a problematic issue in Chinese-Tibetan relations. The role of the Panchen Lama has historically been understood in very different ways by Tibet and China. For example, they both recognize Ch?kyi Gyaltsen, the author of this petition, as the 10th Panchen Lama, contrary to the view of the Tibetan government and people that he is the 7th Panchen Lama. In the latter case, the first Panchen Lama would be the venerable teacher of the 5th Dalai Lama rather than the tutor of the 4th Dalai Lama.

When the 5th Dalai Lama pronounced in the 17th century that his teacher an incarnation of the Buddha Amitabha, would reincarnate as the Panchen Lama, he used the title as an abbreviation of Pandita Chenpo or ‘great scholar’. Not long thereafter, however, in a period of internal Tibetan political turmoil, the Manchus offered this reincarnation the sovereignty of large areas of central and western Tibet. With the exception of a few districts surrounding his monastery at Tashilhunpo, however, he declined to assume such jurisdiction, replying that his office was neither secularly motivated nor interested in competition with that of the Dalai Lama. Two centuries later, a new Chinese government would make a similar offer.

The 10th Panchen Lama was only 14 years old in 1952 when he was appointed to a Consultative Committee which directly usurped the authority of the Dalai Lama. Following a schism with the Tibetan government, the 9th Panchen Lama had gone to China in 1923 where he would remain until his death in 1937. When his reincarnation was announced in Ch’ing-hai in 1949, the Nationalist government of China recognized him as the 10th Panchen Lama notwithstanding the numerous other candidates for Panchen Lama already in Tibet. This was not in accordance with the traditional means of recognition, which relied on the supervision of the Dalai Lama or regent. The Tibetan government gave aspersions on the validity of this Panchen Lama, condemning him as a puppet ruler for the Chinese government. His office became a clear point of contention and a rallying point for Tibetan independence and religious self-determination before the role of the Panchen Lama itself rose to secular power.

Despite the public aspersions cast upon him, Ch?kyi Gyaltsen was engaged for the next ten years with the intense scholastic curriculum required for a lama of his title. Such application entailed administrative training as well as a serious commitment to religious empowerment within the Gelugpa tradition. He accompanied the 14th Dalai Lama to India in 1956 for the 2500th anniversary of the Buddha’s birth; the Dalai Lama would visit the Panchen Lama in Tashilhunpo on his return to Lhasa. At the time of the Dalai Lama’s flight to India in 1959, the Panchen Lama filled his position as the acting Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region. His report is based primarily on personal observations and reflections, and is written as much from the perspective of Party member as concerned Tibetan monk. It was translated from Tibetan into Chinese for Premier Zhou Enlai and Chairman Mao Zedong.

"A Poisoned Arrow" or Blueprint for Peace?

Originally titled "A Report on the sufferings of the masses in Tibet and other Tibetan regions and suggestions for future work to the central authorities through the respected Premier Zhou," the 70,000-character petition included suggestions on how the implementation of Party policy in Tibet could have been improved. The Panchen Lama displays an excellent knowledge of the Marxist ideology found in the Chinese state Constitution. He begins the report with praises of democratic reform and the greatness of socialism, providing examples of how Tibet has been ameliorated by mobilization of the working masses, improved labor production, and freedom of religion (for example, allowing those who did not wish to be monks to return to the life of a householder). "The whole of Tibet had a flourishing, auspicious, bright and glorious new appearance, as if spring were coming to the earth." The conciliatory tone of his introduction is maintained in his critique of the Chinese government. Speaking on the actual implementation of policy, "The democratic reform campaign, which was carried out in conjunction with suppression of the rebellion, was a large-scale, fast-moving, fierce, acute life-and-death class struggle, which overturned heaven and earth, and so it was possible for some unavoidable errors and mistakes to arise. However, some unnecessary and disadvantageous mistakes were also made during the campaign."

The report on Tibet is divided into eight sections of "problems" which receive the Panchen Lama’s critique and suggestions:

1. Suppression of the Tibetan Rebellion
Chinese repression caused the deaths of up to 10,000 Tibetans during the Lhasa Uprising of March 10, 1959 alone. The Panchen Lama points specifically to the harsh treatment of those who surrendered and apologized, the "vengeful, discriminatory, casual and careless methods" of cadres, and the attempted destruction of the Tibetan religion which "caused the rebellion to be large-scale, to involve many people, to last a long time, to be stubborn in its stance and to rebel to the end."

2. Democratic reform in Tibet
The Panchen Lama suggests that certain aspects of the democratic reform could have been better implemented. He cites the example of innocent Tibetans accused of rebel activity or crimes which are actually fabricated by cadres, saying, "If even I and other well-known, patriotic and progressive people could unexpectedly and groundlessly be labeled as reactionaries, how much less need we speak of anyone else." He indicates the flawed ramifications of this overzealous implemention of policy, including the systematic confiscation of land and the careless manner in which middle-class Tibetans were classified as "agents of feudal lords" and subjected to recrimination. This further alienates the masses and leads "to the ideological problem becoming much more complicated."

3. Decline of agricultural production in Tibet
During the transition between the "feudal" system and "voluntary mutual benefit," agricultural production in Tibet declined to such an extreme that many people were starving to death. The Panchen Lama states pointedly in his critique, "In the past, although Tibet was a society ruled by dark and savage feudalism, there had never been such a shortage of grain... In Tibet during the two years of 1959 and 1960, free exchange of agricultural and animal herding products [i.e., donation to beggars] more or less ceased."

4. The United Front
The Panchen Lama’s petition is a direct result of the United Front, the fourth problem. The United Front theoretically encouraged non-Chinese nationalities and non-Party members to criticize policy, but this actually led to indiscriminate attacks on the "feudal lords". Through its refusal to accept apologies or criticism, the United Front’s policy of class-struggle left little recourse to the people besides demoralization and despair. As the Pachen Lama points out, "They no longer retained any hopes about the world, and their situation appeared miserable. Therefore,it was difficult to win over and reform these people."

5. Democratic centralism
Democratic centralism is upheld as a core facet of Party ideology which claims to directly address the hopes and concerns of the people themselves. The Panchen Lama criticizes its "incomplete, non-universal and imperfect implementation" in terms of the basic two tenets of democracy and centralism. Such ideological pretense to democracy is tantamount to a sick man ingesting medicine which gives rise to new ailments instead of curing him; the problem of centralism, on the other hand, is concerned with the complexity of restructuring government administration.

6. Dictatorship in Tibet
Dictatorship can be legitimately used as a tool against the most reactionary counter-revolutionaries. The Panchen Lama deplores the abuse which has resulted in "many good and innocent people (being) unscrupulously charged with offences, maligned, and categorized with criminals." People can be arbitrarily assigned to vocational training; furthermore, large numbers of people are actually imprisoned and put through forced "labor reform".

7. Religion in Tibet
The problem of religion is naturally of crucial importance to the Panchen Lama. Personally upholding the freedom of Tibetans to adhere to Buddhism, he would rather let personal choice determine the number of Tibetan monastics rather than some dogmatic leftist force. Furthermore, he promotes the religious reform of monasteries in order to "eliminate all feudal privileges and the systems of oppression and exploitation which are inconsistent with the profound doctrines of Buddhism, not appropriate to the revolutionary spirit and a hindrance to social development." His argument for the freedom of belief is briefly detailed in Article 88 of the State Constitution: "The policy of the Party and the Constitution of the State can only be the sun for the whole body of citizens, and cannot be a sun which shines on one side. Therefore, so-called freedom of religious belief can only be legal protection for those who do not believe, and it should give similar protection to believers; if those who do not believe in religion use the law on freedom of religious belief as a pretext to obstruct or harm religious belief, this is a serious violation of the law."

8. Tibetan nationality
The Panchen Lama views the incorporation of Tibet into the "Motherland" as the positive unity of nationalities, notwithstanding dangers of racism, "modernity", and the assimilation of national characteristics such as language, costumes, and customs. Through his emphasis on the preservation of these characteristics, by reading between the lines, one can almost perceive the challenge of restructuring an autonomous Tibet, able to interface with a distant capital in Beijing through a distinctly Tibetan form of socialism.

Can Marxism save Tibet?

Uniquely affiliated with both China and Tibet at a historical turning point for both parties, the Panchen Lama was able to recognize the potential benefits of applying Marxist theory to a culture which had minimal contact with the spirit of capitalism. Collectively seeking an enlightenment which prized daily acts of compassion rather than escapism, Tibet was ripe for the realization of an ideal political system. That the practical implementation of this process tended toward the deconstruction of religious sensibilities and cultural identity must have confounded the Panchen Lama.

It is on the subject of Tibetan religion that his split with Marxist ideology becomes evident. This is not merely from his personal perspective as a monk but rather a shared consensus regarding the Tibetans’ Weltanschauung of Buddha as the ideally realized human. Every time he speaks for the majority of the Tibetan people in his report, he refers to the value they place on religion. He writes that the "voluntary" return of scores of monks and nuns to secular life "does not fit with what is acknowledged in the thinking of more than 90% of the Tibetan people including myself." Similarly, observing that "the sweet dew for ‘teaching, debating, and writing’ and ‘listening, thinking and contemplating’ has dried up" as a sign of the "elimination of Buddhism, which was flourishing in Tibet and which transmitted teachings and enlightenment", he states simply, "This is something which I and more than 90% of Tibetans cannot endure."

For any rapprochement between China and the Tibetan government-in-exile, it may be hoped that the Panchen Lama’s cogent analysis of the situation in Tibet serves as an ideological bridge which may bring China and Tibet closer to reconciliation. If history may be compared to a spotlight, this one shines on those errors of the past which cannot be ignored and yet does not seek to blind. Rather than casting blame, the tone of the Panchen Lama looks for ways to improve what already exists. Indeed, it is more like a reflection which shines for those today who would walk the path of peace and reconciliation.


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Re: Panchen & Shugden
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2016, 04:20:38 PM »
Although many choose to believe that the real Panchen Lama had been kept by the Chinese government and the Panchen Lama that is 'appointed' by the Chinese is fake. However, recently there was a large scale Kalachakra initiation that was given by the Panchen Lama that is recognised by the Chinese government.

The number of attendees show differently to what is being said. I believe that this Panchen Lama is the true incarnation of the mind, otherwise, the looks of the past incarnation and current incarnation will not have so much similarities in their looks. It is just a very nice seen to see that the Panchen Lama giving such a beautiful initiation to such a big crowd.