The 4th Panchen Erdeni
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The 4th Panchen Erdeni

Update: Feb. 20th, 2013

The 4th Panchen Lama

The 4th Panchen Erdeni – Brief Introduction

Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen is the 4th Panchen Erdeni. He was born in 1570 and died in 1662. He was once the leader of Gelug Sect during the period of late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty. He was not only the great religious leader but also a great political leader. He devoted himself a lot promoting the communication among Han people, Tibetan people and Mongolian people.

The 4th Panchen Erdeni – Lifetime

Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen was born in Zhugya Byaiwa Village of a manor of Southern Tibet in 1570. When he was 5 years old, a Lama of Ensa Monastery found him very intelligent and smart. When he was 13 years old he was sent to Ensa Monastery and became a monk there. He took Kezhi Sangye Yeshe as his teacher. He was named Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen. People would also like to call him Lobsang Chökyi.

In 1596 when he was 26 years old he went to Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse and Gansen Monastery in Lhasa City to learn Tibet Buddhist classic scriptures. He was well known for the great reputation during Ming Dynasty. In 1598 he got back to Ensa Monastery. In 1600 he became the Great Master of Ensa Monastery. He published many monastery's norms and disciplines, and advocated to carry the Tibet Buddha Dharma of Gelug Sect forward. He created and held the great prayer ceremony of Tashilhunpo Monastery.

In 1616 the 4th Dalai Lama – Yundan Gyatso died. Gelug Sect (Yellow Sect) has been repressed by Kargyu Sect (White Sect). Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen went to Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery in Lhasa City to manage the monastery affairs. He did a lot to find the reincarnated soul boy of the 4th Dalai Lama and help him to became the leader of Gelug Sect again.

In the late Ming Dynasty, in order to consolidate the powerful status of Gelug Sect, Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen discussed with the 5th Dalai Lama - Losang Gyatso and finally decided to invite Gushi Khan to enter Tibet region. Gushi Khan was the leader of the most powerful tribe in Inner Mongolia at that time. They combined together and eradicated hostile forces of Gelug Sect. Later on Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen and the 5th Dalai Lama called on Hong Taiji of Qing Dynasty in Shenyang. They decided to pay allegiance to Qing Dynasty. Since then on, the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama became the teacher alternately for each other. The elder one should be the teacher of the younger one. If they were at the same age, they would take others as their teachers.

In 1645 during Qing Dynasty, Gushi Khan highly praised Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen and presented him the name of "Panchen Bokdo". Panchen Bokdo implied great scholar. He became the 4th Panchen Lama and subsequently the 1st Panchen Lama, the 2nd Panchen Lama and the 3rd Panchen Lama. Tashilhunpo Monastery became Panchen's permanent residence. Panchen Lama took charge of managing the affairs of the south part of Tibet.

In 1662, Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen died in Tashilhunpo Monastery when he was 93 years old. In order to stabilize the political power of Tibet, Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty conferred the 5th Panchen Lama the name of "Panchen Erdeni". Emperor Kangxi presented him the official seal. Since then on, Panchen Erdeni established and consolidated the leader status in Gelug Sect.

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