Choekyi Gyaltsen

10th Panchen Lama of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism (1938-1989)

Lobsang Trinley Lhündrub Chökyi Gyaltsen (born Gönbo Cêdän; 19 February 1938 – 28 January 1989) was the tenth Panchen Lama, officially the 10th Panchen Erdeni of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was often referred to simply as Choekyi Gyaltsen.

Choekyi Gyaltsen in 1954 or 1955


  • I must pronounce my firm belief that Tibet will soon regain her independence and that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will return to the Golden Throne. Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama and I are spiritual friends. There is no difference between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and me. Some people are trying to create discord between us. This will not succeed.

A Poisoned Arrow (1962) (excerpts)Edit

From The Heart of The Panchen Lama (Major Speeches and a Petition: 1962–1989)

  • When opposing the rebellion, it was correct and necessary to declare the criminality of the rebellion, to give the masses of the working people a through class education, including as to who are our enemies and who are our friends, to stimulate a mood of anti-imperialism, patriotism and hatred towards rebels among the people, so destroying the foundations of the rebellion. As for the investigation of the rebels and others who may or may not have colluded with them, due to the fact that the causes, circumstances and characteristics giving rise to the rebellion in each place, and the causes, circumstances and characteristics causing each person to take part in the rebellion certainly had all sorts of differences, these needed through investigation and review. Therefore, it was very important to completely mobilize the masses, for the cadres to carry out a conscientious and careful analysis, and to deal with every aspect of the situation.
  • When investigation is made into whether or not people were rebels, and whether or not the supported and collaborated with the rebellion, we should acquaint ourselves with the cases conscientiously and thoroughly; in dealing with the cases in accordance with the factual situation.
  • It was very important on the foundation of enhancing the class consciousness of the masses, to thoroughly and conscientiously carry out overall investigation and review, to provide relief for those households which have run out of grain, not to allow the masses to go hungry, and for those households which have grain not to have to hand it over as collective grain without reason.
  • When Buddhism in Tibet has firm foundations in terms of the transmission of teachings and of enlightenment, the deliberate destruction of this religion must not happen, is very serious and bad. For example, people become old and then they die. This is a universal law. But what if you took a very loveable, much in demand, vigorous and innocent youth and deliberately put him to death? In just the same way, this is the reason why we, all the people of Tibet, feel that it is unendurable that Buddhism has suffered such a huge decline that it is near extinction.
  • Democratic life is not fully established; as regards the various nationality rights which should be protected by law, these have not been implemented strictly in accordance with the law. There are, among the cadres, people who are ―big nationalists. The think that they are terrific, they are proud, complacent and opinionated, they favour their own nationality and ignore the characteristics of the Tibetan nationality, they violate the rights of the Tibetans and even forcefully label those who mention the rights and interests of the Tibetans as ―local nationalists.

Unity is imperative (1986) (excerpts)Edit

From The Heart of The Panchen Lama (Major Speeches and a Petition: 1962–1989)

  • If we look back at the history of Tibet, we see that Tibet suffered as a result of breakdown of unity since the reign of King Lang Tharma. If we are united, the Tibetan nationality will progress and Buddhism will flourish. On the other hand, if we are divided, Buddhism and the Tibetan nationality will suffer set back. Our people will also suffer misery. Therefore, I would like to request all of you to shun divisive attitude. The monasteries also should not talk in terms of you and us.
  • In the past, when we were suppressed under the leftist policy, none of us dared utter a word of protest. It is not good to open uphold wounds now that happier times are coming. If we are all united, Tibet will progress and our nationality will join the circle of developed nationalities. Our region will then be as developed as any other region in the Great Motherland. We will also be successful in our efforts to promote the Buddhist religion. I request all of you to keep this in your mind.

The Panchen Lama’s warning to China (1987) (excerpts)Edit

From The Heart of The Panchen Lama (Major Speeches and a Petition: 1962–1989)

  • The expense of keeping one Chinese in Tibet is equal to that of keeping four in China. Why should Tibet spend its money to feed them? Instead, we should think carefully on how best the money can be used for the development of Tibet. Tibet has suffered greatly because of the policy of sending a large number of useless migrants. The Chinese population in Tibet started with a few thousand and today it has multiplied manifold. That is the reason why many old Chinese personnel who worked very hard in the initial period are left without any career now. Today, the Chinese personnel come to Tibet accompanied by their families. They are like the American mercenaries. They fight and die for money. This is ridiculous.
  • Tibetans are the legitimate masters of Tibet. The wishes and feelings of the people of Tibet must be respected.
  • The rebellion in Tibet was started by a few who had no sense of timing and were completely ignorant of politics and military strategy. If you really want to fight a war, you have to have a sense of timing. You should be sufficiently powerful. You should know your own might and that of your enemy. Without these elements you cannot hope to win a war. You cannot fight a war with a few outdated rifles. The rebels of that time were ridiculously naive. However, if something like that happened in the event of a foreign invasion, then it would be a serious matter for our nation. That is why it is essential to think about the welfare of the minority nationalities during peacetime.
  • We should make sure that the people of these nationalities are happy as part of the motherland. If this happens, they will be happy to work with the Chinese people in developing the nation. On the other hand, if you cling to the attitude that you will always rule and suppress the minority nationalities, then there will be serious problems in the future.
  • Although there may be peace and stability today, many minor disturbances will occur. But it is good to think about the entire problem. There is at the moment racial harmony, peace and stability. But we should not be satisfied with this. What are we going to do if there are disturbances in the future?

The Panchen Lama's Last Speech: Full Text (1989) (excerpts)Edit


  • All the successive Panchen reincarnations had turned out to be profoundly learned and great proponents of Buddhism, inspiring deep faith and reverence from all - lay and ecclesiastical, male or female - thus attaining religious pre-eminence as protectors of Buddhism.
  • From a political point of view, all the Panchen Erdeni lineage-holders have proved to be lovers of the Motherland and promoting and protecting the unity of the Motherland, promoting friendly relations between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples and promoting unity among the Tibetan people themselves. Such manifestations of their great achievements are recorded in history, of which the accounts might be narrated one by one like counting the beads of a rosary.
  • Whether viewed from the perspective of Tibet or from the perspective of the monasteries as centres for the preservation and promotion of Tibetan people's culture or from the perspective of the Tibetan people's deep religious faith and attachment to spiritual values, the destruction of the monasteries and the holy artefacts therein, these have all been systematically perpetrated under Leftist policies towards religion. This is a total mistake committed both at the level of the collective and at the level of the individuals concerned. There is no doubt whatsoever that evil consequences will follow as a result of such mistakes
  • The main aim and purpose of renovating the monastery and opening the religious door is to satisfy adequately the spiritual needs of the masses of believers and to preserve and promote the teachings of Lord Buddha as enshrined in the Sutras and the Tantras. It is neither a renovation work merely to hold religious functions nor is it an attempt to follow the traditional old society's custom of renovating and opening monasteries.

Quotes about Choekyi GyaltsenEdit

  • In person, the 10th Panchen Lama is an extraordinarily fearless Tibetan who showed unwavering courage to work for the general cause of Tibet and its people. Panchen Lama was someone who held firm conviction to fight for the truth. If the 10th Panchen Lama still been alive, he would have certainly made far more contribution to the cause of Tibet.
  • On 9 January 1989 the Panchen Lama visited Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest town and the traditional parish of the Panchen Lamas, to consecrate the newly-renovated mausoleums from the Fifth to the Ninth Panchen Lamas at his main monastery of Tashi Lhunpo. On 24 January in his address to the monks of his monastery and the people of Shigatse, the Panchen Lama said that the Chinese rule in Tibet had brought more destruction than benefit to the Tibetan people.

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