Penchen Lama

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Tibetan name
Tibetan script :
པན་ ཆེན་ བླ་ མ་
Wylie transliteration :
pan chen bla ma
Official transcription of the PRCh :
Bainqên Lama
THDL transcription :
Penchen Lama
Other spellings:
Panchen Lama, Pänchen Lama, Panchen Lama, Panchen Erdeni, Banchen Erdeni, Bainqen Erdini
Chinese name
Traditional :
班禪 額 爾德尼
Simplified :
班禅 额 尔德尼
Pinyin :
"Bānchán É'ěrdéní"

Penchen Lama ( Tib . : pan chen bla ma ; also: Penchen Rinpoche , Tib .: pan chen rin po che ) is the title of an important reincarnation line ( Trülku ) of the Gelug order in Tibetan Buddhism . The Penchen Lama is considered to be the second highest trülku of the Gelugpa and traditionally the emanation of the " Buddha of the Immeasurable Light" Amitabha .


Many lamas are seen in Vajrayana as beings who have chosen to be born again in order to be able to help other sentient beings. Such lamas are called "Trülku".

The "Penchen Lamas" were introduced to Tibet in the 17th century . The title “Penchen Lama” is a hybrid word formation from Sanskrit paṇḍita (scholar) and Tibetan chen-po (large), and it can be translated as great learned guru . He is related to the important and respected Buddhist teacher Lobsang Chökyi Gyeltshen , who was the abbot of Trashilhünpo Monastery . Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen was the 4th Dalai Lama Yönten Gyatsho the monastic vows and was a teacher of the 5th Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobsang Gyatsho . After Lobsang Chökyi Gyeltshen died at the old age of 92, the 5th Dalai Lama had his teacher - whom he called Penchen Lama - reincarnated so that his spiritual work in Tibet could continue. Since that time, the respective Penchen Lama has been an important authority in the recognition of the respective Dalai Lama, just as the respective Dalai Lama is an important authority in the recognition of the respective Penchen Lama.

Since three other Tibetan scholars were retrospectively recognized as previous incarnations of the Penchen Lama, Lobsang Chökyi Gyeltshen is also referred to as the 4th Penchen Lama.

Newer development

At the beginning of the 20th century, a significant part of the Tibetan population did not regard the Dalai Lama but the Penchen Lama as their supreme ruler in both the secular and the spiritual sense.

Recognition of the current Penchen Lama is controversial, as the 11th Penchen Lama Gendün Chökyi Nyima , recognized by the 14th Dalai Lama, was kidnapped and Gyeltshen Norbu was recognized by the Chinese government in his place .

List of Penchen Llamas

Name ( list of Tibetan names and titles ) Lifetime image Wylie transliteration
1. Khedrub Geleg Pelsang 1385-1438
Khedrup Je.jpg
mkhas grub dge legs dpal bzang po
2. Sonam Choglang 1438-1505
Sonam Chhyog-Lan.jpg
bsod nams phyogs kyi glang po, bsod nams phyogs glang
3. Wensapa Lobsang Dondrub 1505-1568
Lossan Tondub.jpg
dben sa pa blo bzang don grub
4th Lobsang Chökyi Gyeltshen 1570-1662
Lossan Chho Kyi Gyal -Tshan.jpg
blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan
5. Lobsang Yeshe 1663-1737
Lobsang Yeshe.jpg
just bzang ye shes
6th Lobsang Pelden Yeshe 1738-1780
Lobsang Palden Yeshe.jpg
dpal ldan ye shes
7th Tenpe Nyima 1782-1853 - bstan pa'i nyi ma
8th. Tenpe Wangchug 1854 / 1855-1882 - bstan pa'i dbang phyug
9. Thubten Chökyi Nyima 1883-1937
Thubten Choekyi Nyima, 9th Panchen Lama.jpg
thub bstan chos kyi nyi ma, chos kyi nyi ma dge legs rnam rgyal
10. Penchen Chökyi Gyeltshen 1938-1989 - phrin las lhun grub chos kyi rgyal mtshan
11.1. Gendün Chökyi Nyima 1989– - dge 'dun chos kyi nyi ma
11.2. Gyeltshen Norbu 1990– - rgyal mtshan nor bu



  • Isabel Hilton: The Search for the Panchen Lama. On the trail of a lost child . 2nd Edition. Piper, Munich and Zurich 2003, ISBN 3-492-23629-4 .
  • Klemens Ludwig / Holm Triesch: Gendün - The return of the Panchen Lama. 1st edition. Longtai Verlag, Giessen 2013, ISBN 3-938946-22-9 .


  • Melvyn C. Goldstein: A History of Modern Tibet, 1913–1951 . University of California Press, 1991, ISBN 0-520-07590-0
  • Melvyn C. Goldstein: The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama . University of California Press, 1997, ISBN 0-520-21951-1
  • Ya Hanzhang: Biographies of the Tibetan spiritual leaders Panchen Erdenis . Foreign Languages ​​Press, Beijing 1994, ISBN 7-119-01687-3 .
  • Gilles Van Grasdorff, Hostage of Beijing: The Abduction of the Panchen Lama , Thorsons, 1999, ISBN 978-1-86204-561-3

Web links

Commons : Penchen Lama  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ AC McKay: Tibet 1924. A Very British Coup Attempt? In: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society , 3rd series, Vol. 7, No. 3 (November 1997), pp. 411-424, here p. 414.
  2. Resolution on the situation in Tibet and the disappearance of the six-year-old Panchen Lama European Parliament (1995)
  3. a b c recognized retrospectively.
  4. Lobsang Chinlai Lhünchub Qoigyi Gyaicain was proclaimed in 1944 by the entourage of the 9th Panchen Lamas, who fled to China in the 1920s due to an internal Tibetan conflict, but only recognized by Lhasa under Chinese pressure in 1950/51.
  5. Recognized by the Tibetan government in exile
  6. Recognized by the Chinese government