China today said all the 358 top Tibetan Buddhist monks revered as ‘Living Buddhas’ should be certified by the government as it commemorated the 20th anniversary of the enthronement of Panchen Lama, being groomed to rival exiled Dalai Lama.
Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu was officially selected as Panchen Lama in 1995 in controversial circumstances after China removed the then – incumbent of Tashilhunpo Monastery, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, as he was appointed by the Dalai Lama.
While whereabouts of Nyima were not known, a Tibetan official said in September this year that he is receiving education, and living normally.
Panchen Lama is second most influential monk after the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy.
Special ceremonies were held in Tibet to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Qoigyijabu’s appointment as Panchen Lama.
Addressing the monks, the 25-year-old Panchen Lama recalled some of his experiences and thanked the Communist- party led government and senior monks for their help and care, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The Panchen Lama is also the Vice President of Buddhist Association of China and a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the country’s top political advisory body.
Also the official media here today highlighted a rule that all top Buddhist monks who are considered to be reincarnation of their previous peers should be certified by the government.
There are about 358 Living Buddhas, state-run China Daily quoted an official white paper as saying.
“All reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism must receive government approval,” the report said.
All top Buddhist monks including the Dalai Lama are regarded as reincarnation of their predecessors.
The 14th and current Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and is shunned by Beijing as a die-hard separatist.