The Dalai Lama waves towards the head table, where U.S. President Barack Obama is seated, during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday (February 5, 2015). Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

China’s Tibet party boss urges senior monk to shun Dalai Lama

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Communist Party boss in Tibet has urged the Panchen Lama, the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, to reject the Himalayan region’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, state media said on Tuesday. Controversy surrounds the position of the Panchen Lama since the boy the Dalai Lama named as the reincarnation of the leader disappeared when he was six years old. The fate of the missing Panchen Lama, one of China’s most zealously guarded state secrets, is just one area of contention between China and the Dalai Lama over Tibet, and continues to worry many Tibetans. Tibetan Buddhism holds that the soul of a senior lama is reincarnated in the body of a child on his death. The Dalai Lama and China’s officially atheist Communist Party have repeatedly tussled over who has final authority on the issue of reincarnation.