Beijing: Twenty-year-old Panchen Lama, being projected by China as the Dalai Lama's successor, has made his "political debut" by making a maiden address at a prominent monastery in Tibet, the state media said on Tuesday.
The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, addressed for the first time a congregation at Tashilhunpo Monastery in Tibet, the designated home of successive Panchen Lamas since 14th century.
Qoigyijabu was appointed by China as the 11th Panchen Lama repudiating the designation of six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima for the same post by Dalai Lama in 1995, took his seat at the Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse yesterday.
He took his seat nearly 15 years after his appointment and addressed a gathering of monks.
The Chinese state television, CCTV projected it as a "political debut" by the young monk to take over mantle of high seat of Tibetan Buddhism without referring to Dalai Lama, who is on exile in India at Dharamshala.
China considers Dalai Lama as a separatist, colluding with anti-China forces to separate Tiber from the country.
"The monastery is the home base of Panchen Lama. Though he doesn't live there most of the time, the close connection makes it appropriate for him to preach there," the CCTV report said. The Lama lives mostly in Beijing.
"With the strong support of the Central (Chinese) Government and believers he is expected to play a bigger role for modern China," a TV reporter covering the event said.
The young monk's address at Tashilhunpo Monastery built in 1447 by the First Dailai Lama for Panchen Lama, regarded as the second in command of the Tibetan Buddhist remained home for successive Panchen Lamas.
The successive Dali Lamas lived Potala Palace in Lhasa. "It is a precious movement. Accompanied by monks walked into the lobby (of the monastery) he elaborated on the essence three principle aspects of the path, the classic by Kampa the founder of the Galax school," the TV report said.
His address at the monastery was being projected as a major event as it marks the "formal" take over to the top seat.
China while projecting him as the "real" Panchen Lama also recently revealed that Nyima, who along with his family were imprisoned immediately after his name was announced by Dalai Lama from his exile in Dhamashala, was leading a normal life as a common Tibetan.
The Chinese government nominated Panchen Lama, however, began appearing in public since 2006 during which he addressed a World Buddhist Congress in China.
Earlier this year, he was appointed to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), one of the Chinese legislatures after which began appearing in public in social get togethers.
He recently visited the earthquake victims in the Tibetan majority Qinghai province after which went to Tibet, which is recovering from 2008 riots by section of monks in 2008 protesting the detention of the some Buddhist monks.
His visit to Tashilhunpo Monastery came days after Chinese official media attacked Dalai Lama questioning his credentials to speak for six million Tibetans.
As the 14th Dalai Lama had never managed any Tibetan region outside Tibet, he is even further from being qualified to discuss the "welfare of 6 million Tibetans," Peoples Daily said, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party commented.
First Published: Tuesday, June 15, 2010, 16:19