Do we have to choose between being faithful to our original spiritual teacher or His Holiness the Panchen Lama?

Response:

A teacher for a day, a teacher for a lifetime

Once the relationship between a student and a spiritual teacher is established, it is for a lifetime. Later on, even if the student chooses to have other spiritual teachers, this will not change the relationship between the original teacher and the student. As such, there is no need to make a choice.

The teachings of His Holiness ("H.H.") the Dalai Lama and His Holiness ("H.H.") the Panchen Lama are of the same origin.
There is no need to choose.

According to the teachings of Honourable Elder Master Jih-Chang and many great Buddhist masters, a true Buddhist student should respect and praise all spiritual teachers who have received lineages from Buddha. A student who abides by the teachings should not deliberately dispute or judge a spiritual teacher's eminence based on the spiritual teacher's location or school of thought.

Within the Gelug school, the two traditions promulgated by H.H. the Dalai Lama and H.H. the Panchen Lama which are respectfully followed by all Gelug students are the two main lineages tracing back to Great Master Tsong-kha-pa. Generations of the H.H. Dalai Lama and the H.H. Panchen Lama have a teacher-student relationship and their lineages are intertwined like a braid. One who is indebted to the H.H. Dalai Lama is also indebted to the H.H. Panchen Lama. Likewise, one who owes the H.H. Panchen Lama a debt of gratitude also owes the H.H. Dalai Lama a debt of gratitude.

The lineages of these two great Buddhist masters both originated from the foremost students of Great Master Tsong-kha-pa. H.H. the Panchen Lama is the reincarnation of Master Khedrup-Je; H.H. the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of Master Gendun Druppa. Therefore, students who follow the lineage of Great Master Tsong-kha-pa do not need to make a choice between H.H. the Dalai Lama and H.H. the Panchen Lama.

 

Notes:

H.H. the Panchen Lama is the reincarnation of Master Khedrup-Je, and H.H. the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of Master Gendun Druppa who was Master Khedrup-Je's student.

Thereafter, generations of H.H. the Dalai Lama and H.H. the Panchen Lama mostly have teacher-student relationships. For example, H.H. the 5th Dalai Lama was the student of H.H. the 4th Panchen Lama; H.H. the 5th Panchen Lama is the student of H.H. the 5th Dalai Lama; H.H. the 6th and 7th Dalai Lama are students of H.H. the 5th Panchen Lama; and H.H. the 6th Panchen Lama was the student of H.H. the 7th Dalai Lama. The lineages of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama are intertwined like a braid. One who is indebted to the Dalai Lama is also indebted to the Panchen Lama. Likewise, one who owes the Panchen Lama a debt of gratitude also owes the Dalai Lama a debt of gratitude.

Therefore, for centuries, all Gelug students agree on one thing: as Gelug students, being able to study the Gelug teachings is due to none other than the kindness of H.H. the Dalai Lama and H.H. the Panchen Lama.

As stated in The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems: "Thereafter, the great Buddhist masters who uphold the Ganden teachings will be countless. Among them, like the radiances of the sun and moon that are nonpareil, so too are Master Khedrup-Je and his student Master Gendun Druppa."

As such, for Gelug students, there is no need to choose between the lineages of H.H. the Dalai Lama and H.H. the Panchen Lama. Considering such a choice is like thinking: "Am I my mother's child, or my father's child?" or "Am I the descendant of my father or my grandfather?" This will only be ridiculed.

 

 

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