TEMPEST IN A GOLDEN URN

UNDER BEIJING'S EYE, TIBETAN MONKS NAME A PANCHEN LAMA TO RIVAL THE DALAI LAMA'S CHOICE

IN THE WEAK LIGHT OF DAWN ONE morning last week, hundreds of Buddhist monks gathered at the Jokhang temple in Lhasa to select a new Panchen Lama, the second highest religious leader in Tibet. Traditional yak-butter lamps glowed as three ivory markers were placed inside a golden urn. Each marker was inscribed with the name of a Tibetan boy identified, during a six-year search, as a possible incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama, who died in 1989. The urn was turned several times, and then a senior monk withdrew a marker bearing the name of Gyaincain Norbu, 6, who was quickly...

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