Panchen Lama- The Forgotten Lineage

Welcome to the interactive journey celebrating the life and accomplishments of the 11th Panchen Lama.

The Panchen Lama, revered as a manifestation of Buddha Amitabha, holds immense significance in Tibetan Buddhism, ranking second to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Gelugpa sect. The title “Panchen” denotes greatness in scholarship and is derived from the Sanskrit term “Pandita,” meaning scholar, and the Tibetan word “chen-po,” meaning great.

Traditionally, the abbots of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, established in Shigatse by the First Dalai Lama, were honoured with the title “Panchen” due to their scholarly prowess. In the 17th century, the Fifth Dalai Lama bestowed the title upon his teacher, the then abbot of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, initiating an unbroken lineage of successors. This lineage involved the identification of the Panchen Lama’s reincarnation, a process deeply intertwined with that of the Dalai Lama.

The monastery is the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, the second highest ranking tulku lineage in the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Amidst this historical context, the Chinese government’s attempts to manipulate the Panchen Lama for their political agenda stand out starkly. Their efforts to control the tenth Panchen Lama, Lobsang Trinley Lhundrup Choekyi Gyaltsen, as a puppet regime failed miserably.  Instead, the tenth Panchen Lama emerged as a symbol of Tibetan resilience, challenging Chinese oppression through courageous dissent.

Following his mysterious demise in 1989, the Chinese government’s attempts to undermine the Panchen Lama’s legacy persisted. Their selection of a rival incarnation, Gyaltsen Norbu, epitomizes their relentless efforts to assert control over Tibetan spiritual leadership.

Today is the 35th birthday of Panchem Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima who in 1995, at the age of six, was taken away from his village by Chinese Government representatives in an act of enforced disappearance.

The plight of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, epitomizes China’s systematic repression of Tibetan identity and religion. His enforced disappearance since 1995, along with the suppression of the Tibetan people’s religious and cultural rights, underscores the urgent need for international intervention.


“The safety of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his proper religious training is of particular concern to me. He has not been seen in public for some months and is reported to be detained somewhere in Beijing. I, therefore appeal to all governments, religious and human rights organizations for their intervention in ensuring the safety and freedom of the young Panchen Lama, “His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama said in 1995 after the disappearance of His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama and the appointment of a rival Panchen Lama by the Chinese government.”

In light of these injustices, we call upon the global community to demand:

  1. The immediate release of the 11th Panchen Lama and his family without any conditions.
  2. The appointment of independent observers to assess the well-being of the 11th Panchen Lama.
  3. The provision of special religious education and broader educational opportunities for the 11th Panchen Lama.
  4. The installation of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the rightful holder of the Panchen Lama lineage.
  5. The granting of freedom and the right to return to Tashi Lhunpo Monastery for His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama.
  6. The release of Chadrel Rinpoche and Jan-pa Chungla, members of the Search Committee for the 11th Panchen Lama, along with the restoration of their previous positions.
    Where is Panchen Lama?

Join us in supporting the campaign to free the 11th Panchen Lama. Visit for more information and to take action. #FreeThePanchenLama #JusticeForPanchenLama #TibetanRights #HumanRights #ChinaTibetIssue

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