A youth named by China as the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, but reviled as a fake by many Tibetans, began an important Buddhist rite on Thursday, the first time in 50 years it has happened in Tibet, state media said.
Although officially atheist, China selected Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995 in a drive to win the hearts and minds of Tibetans.
Tibet’s current spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing brands a dangerous separatist, had announced his own choice of a six-year-old boy, but he was taken away by authorities and has since vanished from public view.
The Kalachakra ritual is an esoteric but for Buddhists very important rite for activating dormant enlightenment, and has not been carried out in what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region for half a century. Read More