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A song in Honor of the  missing Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.  Purchase song and help support The PLTL Project.

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The 28th Birthday of Gedun Choekyi Nyima

The Panchen Lama Tashi Lhunpo Project commemorates the 28th Birthday of Gedun Choekyi Nyima.

Below is the official statement from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in exile honoring the Panchen Lama.
Your continued kindness and compassion will support our efforts to rebuild the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in exile, to its former greatness as the historical seat of the Panchen Lama.  Please donate as generously as possible to help complete the next project at Tashi Lhunpo, building the new state-of-the-art Library.



March 2017.

The monks at the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery thank you for your recent contributions in honor of Khen Rinpoche’s birthday and the LOSAR Tibetan New Year.

Our matching campaign has now ended. We raised just over $10,000.00 which will be matched by a generous benefactor! Thank you all who contributed to this fund raising event.

We hope to offer another matching opportunity in May, 2017.

Our CAPITAL CAMPAIGN IS $600,000.00. So far we have raised $240,000.00, leaving a remaining Fund goal of $360,000.00.

Below is the official statement from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in exile honoring the Panchen Lama.
Your continued kindness and compassion will support our efforts to rebuild the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in exile, to its former greatness as the historical seat of the Panchen Lama.  Please donate as generously as possible to help complete the next project at Tashi Lhunpo, building the new state-of-the-art Library.


New Executive Director of PLTLP, Adrienne Moberly Vilaubi, reflects on the experience of being at Tashi Lhunpo for the consecration of the Prayer Hall December 2015.

Dear PLTLP Board Members,

The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is beautiful.  I arrived to Bylakuppe with my daughter the evening before the Inaugural Ceremony.  The Dalai Lama consecrated the Prayer Hall on December 19, 2015 and the ceremony was a grand affair with guests and dignitaries all seated in the front of a huge tent.  Many officials spoke to the crowd assembled, including a presentation by Khen Rinpoche and the local ‘governor’ of the Karnataka.  The state of Karnataka, which contains a great many Tibetan settlements, has along history of being very supportive to Tibetans in exile, and numerous people including His Holiness thoughtfully noted this. The details of orchestrating such an event were amazing.

As you can imagine, security was very tight and no cameras were allowed into the enclosed monastery area throughout the time HHDL was there.  The pictures attached are primarily exterior shots from outside the main gates although we did capture a few shots early one evening after teachings were finished for the day and after having had the privilege of a brief visit with Khen Rinpoche.

The overall scope of the event is hard to convey.  The monastery was transformed into a veritable convention center and the scope of managing all of the details was, by observation, exhausting.  Most of the monks, including Rinpoche, looked tired.   Prayer flags were strung from every corner of every building, hung on every fence and gate, and bordered all roadways!  It was extraordinary; it was splendid.  There was an air of officious delight and happiness was palpable. Gold and white lights were strung in beautiful patterns across the facade of the buildings perimeters and the monastery could be seen from a great distance away like a fantastic beacon in the night.  Huge tarps were erected to provide covered areas for attendees to sit during the Inaugural Ceremony, and then throughout the Dalai Lama's teachings, which took place in both the morning and the afternoon.  The legion of monks and staff must have worked ceaselessly, months on end preparing for the massive number of guests, notwithstanding trying to complete the building itself.   The word that kept resurfacing for me was "wondrous."

The interior of the Prayer (Assembly Hall) Hall is spectacular.  Covered with Thangkas, beautiful tapestries and wall hangings of colorful brocades, and brightly painted columns with ornate caps.  There is a huge throne behind which a giant Buddha sits protected by a Plexiglas shield.

The exterior is equally as beautiful, and the area where HHDL sat to give his Lamrim Teachings had a large throne surrounded by garlands of flowers and columns covered in brocade tapestries.  Several monks and other participants sat behind His Holiness, but it was unclear how one got invited to do so.  On our last day we were invited by several people from the Siddhartha School to sit there with them and we felt quite humbled.

The entire Prayer Hall building is much larger than I thought it would be and it has living quarters for the Abbott of Tashi Lhunpo, His Holiness, and permanent quarters for the Panchen Lama.  It also has a small and beautifully appointed museum depicting the history of Tashi Lhunpo in Tibet and in exile, and the relationship between His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the 10th and 11th Panchen Lamas.   The story and picture galleries were very well done, and dedicated to Ruth, which was a moving and wonderful surprise and testament to all the many years of devotion that you all have shown to this remarkable undertaking.   At the end of the exhibit there was a postcard writing campaign using the picture of the young Gedhun Choekyi Nyima for people to write to the Chinese government praying for his return or release to his rightful home at Tashi Lhunpo.

The number of monks in attendance was estimated at 20,000 with an additional 10,000 to 15,000 guests, dignitaries, staff, and security personnel on site daily.  What makes this incredible aside from the sheer number of people in one place at one time was that the monks from Tashi Lhunpo fed everyone.  They provided daily water, breakfast buns, and butter tea in the morning (you were to bring your own cup), then there was lunch served to anyone who brought their own bowl and then more tea in the afternoon.  There were a few specific dining halls set up for dignitaries, guests, and specific committees where three meals a day were provided.

Many guests were housed at the monastery in nearly finished new monk housing or guesthouses, while others stayed in prearranged housing in nearby hotels or homestays.  There were a great many guests sponsored by different monks, and many associated with Khen Rinpoche stayed in what will be new "elder monk quarters" in what was called Block A.

I brought back to share with each of you the official Tashi Lhunpo pamphlet that was created for the event.  In it you will see that the next major official project that Khen Rinpoche is planning is to serve as a resource and center of learning for all the monks.   Please send me your physical home addresses and I will get them in the mail to you within the next week.  Rinpoche will be coming to the USA sometime in the spring and we can all look forward to seeing him again at that time.

It was a blessing to have been able to be there.

Adrienne Moberly Vilaubi


Official Statement of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery on the 27th Birth Anniversary of His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama

Today -- April 25, 2016 – the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery celebrates the auspicious 27th birthday anniversary of His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama, Jetsun Tenzin Gedhun Yeshe Trinley Phuntsok Chok Pal Sangpo, and, on behalf of all sentient beings, we bow in reverence to him and offer innumerous prayers and wishes for a long and fulfilling life.

Ever since April 25, 1996 -- a year after he was formally recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama – we have been observing His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama’s auspicious birth anniversary celebrations at the monastery and across the world. However, in the more than 20 years since the Panchen Lama’s abduction, the Chinese authorities have refused to divulge any information as to his safety, whereabouts and well-being, and even that of his very existence.

For centuries past, the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Lamas have shared a special spiritual relationship of teacher-student and the wonderful historical tradition of recognizing each other’s reincarnation and ensuring the other’s subsequent religious education. In the 17th century, His Holiness the 4th Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Yonten Gyatso, visited the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and received his religious education and empowerments from his chief tutor His Holiness the 4th Panchen Lama, Lobzang Choekyi Gyaltsen, and became fully ordained under him. After the passing of the 4 th Dalai Lama, the 4th Panchen Lama officiated the search for and recognition of His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Losang Gyatso. On April 5, 1642, His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama’s enthronement ceremony was held, making him the supreme spiritual and political head of the three provinces of Tibet and thus, establishing the office of Ganden Phodrang. From then on, the special tutor-disciple relationship between the two great masters began.

The title Panchen Lama, meaning "great scholar", was given to Lobsang Choekyi Gyaltsen by the 5th Dalai Lama and conferred to his predecessors posthumously. When the 4th Panchen Lama died in 1662, the 5th Dalai Lama took charge of the search for his rebirth and recognized Lobsang Yeshe as the 5th Panchen Lama. He took his novice vows under the 5th Dalai Lama at the age of eight, when he was given the name of Lobsang Yeshe.

In the years to come, successive older Panchen Lamas and Dalai Lamas acted as mentors for the younger and determined the next lama's rebirth. For instance, the 5th Panchen Lama, Lobsang Yeshe, recognized and ordained Losang Rigzin Tsangyang Gyatso, as the 6th Dalai Lama and thereafter, Kasang Gyatso as the 7th Dalai Lama, who in turn recognized Lobsang Palden Yeshe as the 6th Panchen Lama. The 6th Panchen Lama presided over the hair-cutting ceremony of the 8th Dalai Lama, Lobsang Tenpay Wangchuk Jampel Gyatso, who in turn recognized the 7th Panchen Lama, Tenpay Nyima, and officiated his enthronement ceremony, novice vows and final ordination. The 7th Panchen Lama presided over the hair-cutting ceremony of the 9th Dalai Lama, Losang Wangchuk Lungok Gyatso, and thereafter, that of the 10th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Losang Jampel Tsultrim Gyatso, the 11th Dalai Lama, Khedrup Gyatso, and the 13th Dalai Lama, Jetsun Ngawang Losang Thupten Gyatso Jigdrel, who in turn officiated the ordination of the 9th Panchen Lama, Thupten Choekyi Nyima Gelek Namgyal Pal Sangpo. The 9th Panchen Lama met the search team for the 14th Dalai Lama and identified the candidate born in Takster, Amdo as the rightful incarnate.

In 1959, at Dromo, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama recognized the 11th Panchen Lama, Jetsun Tenzin Trinley Jigmey Choekyi Wangchuk Pal Sangpo. On 17 May 1995, the Dalai Lama recognized the then six-year old 11th Panchen Lama, Jetsun Tenzin Gedhun Yeshi Trinley Phuntsok Pal Sangpo.

Recognizing the special historical and spiritual relationship between the successive Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas, the two are fondly referred to as the “Sun and Moon” by the Tibetan people. To mark the significance and relationship of the two great masters of Tibet, the Tibetan people coined the oft-heard saying: Just as the Sun and Moon in the sky, thus Gyalwa-Panchen on earth.

This historical tradition proves beyond doubt that the Chinese authorities have no say whatsoever in the tradition of lama reincarnations, particularly that of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. However, without paying any heed to the Tibetan people’s beliefs and practices, the Chinese government violently abducted the 11th Panchen Lama, after the Dalai Lama recognized Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the rightful Panchen Lama. All these actions highlight China’s long-standing ambitions to control the recognition of important lamas, particularly that of the Dalai Lama. It is a matter of grave concern that communist China intends to use the age-old tradition of recognizing spiritual leaders to further their own agenda and control in Tibet, threatening the very foundations of basic human and religious rights of not just the Tibetan people, but the world at large.

It is a well-known fact that the Panchen Lama has always been an important figure in Tibet's spiritual and political history. Historically, all the Panchen Lamas, in their lifetime, have made tremendous contributions to the spread and propagation of Tibetan Buddhism, while simultaneously working for the well-being of all sentient beings. The 10th Panchen Lama, in particular, was renowned for his fearlessness and role in ensuring the welfare of the Tibetan people during one of Tibet's darkest periods. A harsh critic of the Chinese government's policies in Tibet, the 10th Panchen Lama was relentless in his efforts to seek redress for the atrocities committed against the Tibetan people by the Chinese government. As a result, he suffered 14 long years of imprisonment and was subjected to untold mental and physical torture at the hands of the Chinese government. Despite these hardships, the 10th Panchen Lama was unwavering in his crusade to improve the social, economic, political, and environmental conditions in Tibet and, most importantly, to promote and revive the Tibetan language, religion, and culture.

Following his release from prison, the 10th Panchen Lama toured all the three provinces in Tibet and met with ordinary Tibetans to understand their problems and the impact of Chinese policies in Tibet. He made tremendous contributions to improve the socio-economic status of Tibetans, by promoting small and medium enterprises, education and championing the campaign to preserve the rich Tibetan culture and language. Unfortunately, in 1989, the 10th Panchen Lama passed away under mysterious circumstances at the age of 52 after delivering a public speech in which he was sharply and openly critical of the Chinese government's policies.

However, we, Tibetans, must not forget how bravely the 10th Panchen Lama fought against all olds to preserve the Tibetan religion, culture and language. During his lifetime, he laid great emphasis on and gave many public speeches championing the need to preserve one’s identity through one’s language, religion and culture. As such, from this day forward, all of us should work towards learning and preserving our own culture, language and religion.

The prominence, unrelenting spirit and tremendous contributions of the 10th Panchen Lama forced the Chinese government to take a closer look at his reincarnation and meddle with internal Tibetan religious practices. The Chinese abduction of the 11th Panchen Lama is proof of the fact that China continues to deprive the Tibetan people of our basic human rights, religious rights, and even child rights, as the 11th Panchen Lama was only 6 six years old when he was abducted. The Panchen Lama issue continues to highlight China’s oppressive rule in Tibet and the many tactics they use to manoeuver age-old traditions to further their own political ambitions in Tibet.

Around the world, Tibetans and Buddhists continue to have faith in the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Despite the many years since his disappearance and China’s continued attempts to remove him altogether from our memories, we have not forgotten Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the reincarnation of the 10 th Panchen Lama, and will continue to do so for eons to come.

It has now been 21 years since the Chinese authorities abducted the then six-year old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, along with his parents, and Chadrel Jampa Trinley Rinpoche, the then Abbott of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and head of the Search Committee for the 11th Panchen Lama. More alarmingly, the Chinese government, in 1995, appointed another Tibetan boy by the name of Gyaltsen Norbu as their version of the 11th Panchen Lama, highlighting the Chinese government’s sinister intention of using the important status of the Panchen Lama as a pawn in their political games. As such, we see Gyaltsen Norbu as a mere victim of China’s larger political ambitions. We believe that being a Tibetan himself, he may very likely be under a great deal of stress and sadness at the current situation.

Despite innumerous inquiries and calls by world leaders, activists and important non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations, human rights activist groups and child rights groups, the Chinese government has refused to divulge any details of the whereabouts and well-being of the 11th Panchen Lama, his parents and Chadrel Rinpoche.

It is indeed heartbreaking that in all these years, the world, and most notably the Tibetan people who long for a glimpse of their precious 11th Panchen Lama, have not been shown any pictures even of the young lama as proof of his existence and well-being. Still, we thank the many organizations and individuals who have campaigned for and continue to campaign for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama, Chadrel Rinpoche and the Panchen Lama’s parents. We thank the efforts made by the Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamsala, as well as various governmental and non-governmental organizations, world leaders and activists, in highlighting the importance of the Panchen Lama issue and fighting for his immediate release.

Therefore, today, on the birthday of His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama, we take this opportunity to appeal the Chinese government to release His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama and Chadrel Rinpoche. We appeal for them to be granted freedom of movement after their release and allowed to freely meet and communicate with the Tibetan people. We also appeal that they be granted the basic human rights and freedoms due to them.

We conclude with prayers for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for the fulfillment of his innumerous contributions and good work for the benefit of all sentient beings in this world. We also pray for the swift release of His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, and for his continued well-being and long life. And finally, we pray that Tibetans inside and outside Tibet are once again reunited and that glorious days of happiness and good eon be ours soon.

Issued by:
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery & Central Association for the Welfare of the Panchen Lama
25 April 2016 ׀ Bylakuppe, South India


17 Years and Counting: Disappearance of Panchen Lama - TCHRD Press release

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
25 April 2012, Dharamsala (India)

Today is the 23rd birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, one of the most important spiritual leaders of Tibet, who disappeared into the custody of the Chinese government 17 years ago.

On 14 May 1995, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama announced the then six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. Three days later, on 17 May 1995, the Chinese government secretly abducted the six-year-old boy and his parents who remain ‘disappeared’ to this day. There is no confirmed information on their well-being or if they are still alive.

Even after 17 years, no one - save the Chinese government - can confirm with reliable accuracy the current whereabouts and condition of the 11th Panchen Lama and his parents. Despite repeated interventions from the representatives of the United Nations Human Rights Council, UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations calling on China to disclose information on the Panchen Lama, the Chinese government has so far refused to share any detailed information that could shed important light on the Panchen Lama's current state. In its standard response, the Chinese government continues to maintain that Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family are in perfect health and that they do not wish to be disturbed.

On 18 October 2009, Zhu Weiqun, the Vice-Minister of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party alleged in an interview with a German reporter that the Dalai Lama had destroyed the historical and religious rituals of the reincarnation system and so his recognition of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was illegal and invalid. Zhu also said, “As for the child recognized [by the Dalai Lama], he is our child, a Tibetan child and our citizen. So we will provide facilities to ensure his healthy growth."

The reporter then asked, “Where is this healthy growth of the boy recognized by the Dalai Lama happening? In Tibet? Will the Tibetan devotees recognize the [Chinese government] approved Panchen Lama?

Zhu replied, “The Dalai Lama’s illegally recognized child is of course growing up healthy in China. He will grow into a useful man to China and to the Tibetan people.”

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is now 23 years old and must have grown into a healthy young man, as Zhu Weiqun claims. According to the Chinese law, those who are 18 years old and above are considered adults, capable of making their own decisions, responsible for their own lives. For many years, the Chinese government has claimed that Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is in "protective custody" of the Chinese authorities. Now that the boy is an adult, the Chinese government, in the true spirit of the law it drafted, should allow Gedhun Choekyi Nyima to exercise his right to self-determination and let him make his own decisions.

Ten years after the completion of his six-year prison sentence in May 2001, the fate of Chadrel Jampa Thrinley Rinpoche, the former abbot of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and the head of the Search Party to identify the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama remains unknown.

Chadrel Rinpoche was arrested on 14 May 1995, the day His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. After being detained incommunicado for two years, on 21 April 1997, the Intermediate Court of Shigatse Prefecture sentenced Rinpoche to six years’ imprisonment and three years’ deprivation of political rights on charges of “plotting to split the country” and “leaking state secrets” during his search for the 11thPanchen Lama.

There is no information on Chadrel Rinpoche except for an unconfirmed report in November 2011 that said Chadrel Rinpoche had died of poisoning. The Chinese government continues to maintain a deafening silence on Chadrel Rinpoche's whereabouts and current condition.

On the occasion of Panchen Lama's 23rd birthday, TCHRD would like to offer our gratitude to individuals, organizations and governments who have worked tirelessly and offered their steadfast support for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama.
The Centre urges the Chinese government to respect and implement the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights if it wishes to be seen as a responsible, civilized world power.

The Chinese government should go beyond mere words on the condition and whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama and provide concrete, tangible evidence to back up its claims.

Holding the Panchen Lama and his family members incommunicado for years is a serious crime that violates multiple human rights enshrined in major international human rights instruments.