A 6-year-old boy in a remote corner of Chinese-controlled Tibet was designated Sunday as the reincarnation of the second-most-important monk in Tibetan Buddhism.
Tibet’s exiled leader, the Dalai Lama, announced that Gedhun Choekyi Nyima has been revealed as the reborn Panchen Lama, and the Dalai Lama appealed to Chinese authorities to allow the boy to be trained as a senior monk.
The announcement opens another potential quarrel between China and the Dalai Lama, who fled Chinese rule in Tibet in 1959. Each claims to have final authority in recognizing the reincarnation.
The Panchen Lama is second only to the Dalai Lama in authority and prestige.
Recognition of the reincarnation “is a religious matter and not political,” the Dalai Lama said in a statement from his home in northern India. “It is my hope that the Chinese government … will extend its understanding, cooperation and assistance.”
There was no reaction Sunday from Chinese authorities.
The Dalai Lama said that in 1991, China refused him permission to send a delegation to Tibet to begin hunting for the reincarnated monk.
Instead, Beijing named its own search committee and said it did not want “outside interference.”
The Dalai Lama gave few details about the boy or how he was discovered.