Banchen Lama has a tender heart
XIGAZE, Tibet: At the tender age of 15, Gyaincain Norbu is particularly concerned with world peace.
Gyaincain Norbu, the 11th Panchen Lama, gave his first interview since he was officially recognized in 1995 as the highest ranking figure of Tibetan Buddhism in China.
Busy as he is studying Buddhist sutras, the young Tibetan Buddhist leader is attentive to what is going on in the world and cares for those ravaged by war.
"A war breaks out when too many people are self-centered," he said, "there'll be peace in the world only if we're as selfless as our own mothers, and treat all flesh as our own children."
It is what all Tibetan Buddhists firmly believe, he added.
His personal attendants all say the young Panchen Lama is polite to the elderly and loves children. He cuddles and feeds birds, cats and dogs whenever he sees them, they say.
The young high lama is living in the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, the residence of all previous Panchen Lamas, in Xigaze, the second largest city in Tibet.
Crowds of Buddhists have been lingering outside the young lama's residence since he came to Tibet in August, hoping to catch a glimpse of him.
He has been occupied by religious rituals at the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery since early September, and has held head-touching ceremonies to bless lamas and Buddhists.
The young lama told reporters he was happy with the social stability and economic development in Tibet, as well as the people's improved quality of living.
"We wouldn't have made all these achievements without the good leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the support from all the Chinese people and the painstaking efforts of the Tibetans," he said with a sincerity beyond his years.
The young high lama said he would carry forward the traditions handed down by his predecessor, the 10th Panchen Lama and continue to promote social and economic development in Tibet.
Every morning before breakfast, he kowtows to the portrait of the 10th Panchen Lama three times in his bedroom and chants a sutra left by Zongkaba, founder of the Gelugpa School, or the yellow sect, of Tibetan Buddhism.
The kowtow signifies the beginning of his daily religious activities.
The 10th Panchen Lama died in 1989 and Gyaincain Norbu was listed as one of three candidates for his reincarnation in 1995.
The boy was born on February 13, 1990 in Lhari county of Nagqu prefecture in northern Tibet. He was approved by the Chinese Government as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama in November 1995 after a lot drawing ceremony among the three candidates in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa.
Drawing lots from a gold urn to decide on the final choice of the reincarnation of a high lama is a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. Gaining the approval from the central government on the choice began in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).