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In Tibet, Panchen Lama earns highest degree
update:October 29,2021
By: chinadaily.com.cn
In a ceremony of high honor on Tuesday, the 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, was accredited with the Kachen degree, the top academic degree recognizing mastery of the Tibetan Buddhist sutra. It is the equivalent of a doctorate in the modern educational system.
Built in 1447, the Tashilhunpo monastery is one of six in the Gelukpa School of Tibetan Buddhism and the dwelling seat of a long line of Panchen Lamas throughout history. The inheriting tradition has a history of more than 600 years.
The academic recognition that took place on Tuesday included more than 800 scripture masters, high-ranking monks and local Tibetan Buddhists.
The Tashilhunpo monastery has 56 monk scholars accredited with the degree of Kachen. The 31-year-old Panchen Lama has become the youngest candidate to obtain the degree.
He was born into a family of nomads in Lhari county in northern Tibet in 1990 and was enthroned in 1995 after approval by the central government as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama.
Drangche Phuntsok, a staff member and an ordained monk at the research office of the High-level Tibetan Buddhism College of China, said the Kachen degree represents the highest academic sutra practice in Tibetan Buddhism. Attainment of the degree means the receiver has a profound understanding of the Five Great Volumes of Tibetan Buddhism.
"I am indeed pleased with the Panchen Lama obtaining the degree. It is a big achievement gained by his great efforts over decades of apprenticeships with many dharma masters. It is a great event in his life," he said.
"I think the Panchen Lama will follow the good tradition of patriotism and loving religion, just as previous Panchen Lamas did," he said.

By Daqiong and Palden Nyima in Lhasa

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