The 4th Panchen Lama Biography
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The 4th Panchen Lama Biography

Update: Feb. 20th, 2013

Tashilhunpo Monastery

The 4th Panchen Erdeni Biography

The 4th Panchen Lama is Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen. He was born in Zhugya Byaiwa Village of a manor of southern Tibet in 1570 in Ming Dynasty and died in 1662. He was regarded as the 4th incarnated lama of Khedrup Gelek Pelzang. Khedrup Gelek Pelzang was the 1st great disciple of Tsongkhapa – the great founder of Gelug Sect. He was born in 1385 and died in 1438. Later on Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen became the Great Master of Tashilhunpo Monastery (Great Master is not only a respectful appellation but also a status in a monastery) and devoted his lifetime carrying Tashilhunpo Monastery and Gelug Sect forward. The later successive Panchen Lamas were the Great Master of Tashilhunpo Monastery, too. Panchen was named during the period of him, but Panchen Erdeni was named to the 5th Panchen Lama by Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty. The 5th Panchen Lama was conferred as the Panchen Erdeni and then the 1st Panchen Erdeni, the 2nd Panchen Erdeni, the 3rd Panchen Erdeni and the 4th Panchen Erdeni were subsequently confirmed.

When Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen was young, he listened and recited the "Manjushri Confucian Classics" at home. Manjushri Confucian Classics was very important for Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism. When he was 13 years old during Ming Dynasty, he became a monk in Ensa Monastery.

When he was 14 years old in 1583, he was regarded as the reincarnated soul boy of the Ensapa Lobsang Döndrup. Since then on, he had learned a lot of Tibetan Buddhist classic scriptures. When he was 22 years old in 1591, he took the great master of Tashilhunpo Monastery as his teacher and studied in Tashilhunpo Monastery. In the next few years, he went to Jokhang Tempe of of Lhasa City and learned the Tibet Buddhism Dharma. He took some great masters as his teachers and in the mean time he also preached here and there.

During his age of 23 to 30, he stayed in Zangwen Monastery and preached the Tibet Buddhism Dharma there.

In 1600, he went to Saigyu Monastery in spring and got back to Zangwen Monastery in summer. In autumn, he became the Great Master of Tashilhunpo Monastery. When he was 34 years old in 1603, the southern Tibet was unstable so that he went to Lhasa to pray the Buddha. Meanwhile, the 4th Dalai Lama (Yundan Gyatso, the only one Mongolian Dalai Lama) enter to Tibet. In 1604 Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen got back to Tashilhunpo Monastery.

In 1605 he went to Lhasa to teach the Dalai Lama in spring. In summer he got back to Tashilhunpo Monastery.

In 1613, he was invited by Dalai Lama to held the religious ceremony in Lhasa City.

In December of 1616, Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen built the Tibet Esoteric Buddhism Hall in Tashilhunpo Monastery, meanwhile, Dalai Lama died.

In 1617, Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen became the Great Master of Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery.

In 1622 he helped the 5th Dalai Lama to be a monk in Drepung Monastery and became his teacher.

From 1623 to 1652, Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen mainly devoted preaching Tibet Buddhism Dharma and taught and helped the 5th Dalai Lama.

During the period of late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty, the entire Tibet region was unstable. Karma Kargyu Sect destroyed many Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery, and killed a lot of Tibetan lamas. Gelug Sect was terribly repressed by Karma Kargyu Sect.

In the autumn of 1620, Mongolian force invaded Tibet region. Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen tried to reconciled but failed. But both of Mongolian force and Karma Kargyu Sect claimed that they would not fight nearby Johkang Temple. Afterwards Mongolian force waged war against Tibetan people again, Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen successfully reconciled.

In 1640 Gushi Khan invited Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen to Lhasa. Gushi Khan highly praised him and presented him the name of Panchen Lama.

In 1662 when he was 93 years old, he died in Tashilhunpo Monastery. The later generations built another golden tower to save his boy in Tashilhunpo Monastery. Afterwards, the body of Panchen Lama will be saved in this tower after their death.

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