Tibetan women launch art campaign to mark Panchen Lama's birthday

ANI, April 26, 2010

Dharamsala, India -- The Tibetan Women's Association launched an art campaign in Dharamsala to mark the birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama.

The 11th Panchen Lama is the second highest-ranking figure in Tibetan Buddhism.

Sunday marked the 21st birthday of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, named by Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, as the 11th Panchen Lama.

Prayers were held at several places in India including the northern hill station of Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama, on Sunday.

More than 20 acclaimed Tibetan artists created a portrait of the imaginary face of the 21-year-old Panchen Lama, during the Panchen Lama Artwork Campaign.

ne of the portraits made by the artists would be chosen as an emblem for the campaigns aimed at pressing for the release of Panchen Lama.

"All of us are really saddened by the fact that despite 15 years of his imprisonment and despite 15 years of our consistent call for his release, we have not heard a word about him since his abduction in 1995," said Dhardon Sharling, spokesperson of Tibetan Women's Association

"Today, we are all remembering the Panchen Lama, who is the most important spiritual leader for Tibetan Buddhism and for the Tibetan people at large," he added.

Also, as a part of the awareness campaign, young monks and nuns from the monastic institutes in and around Dharamsala wrote essays expressing their thoughts on the Panchen Lama.

"Today is the 21st birthday of the Panchen Lama. We have come here to share our feelings. We are just writing some poems and whatever we feel about him," said Tenzin Cheodon, a Tibetan Buddhist nun.

After the 10th Panchen Lama died in 1989, Beijing and the Dalai Lama made rival choices for his successor, and the Dalai Lama's choice, then aged six, suddenly disappeared from public view.