Tibetan Buddhism's second-highest leader—selected by China but not recognized by the Dalai Lama's supporters—spoke today in Hong Kong, appearing for the first time outside the Chinese mainland. The 22-year-old Gyaltsen Norbu, picked by China at age 6, offered thoughts on Buddhist philosophy as China works to gain Tibetan support for its rule. The reclusive Panchen Lama called Buddhism the "sweet dew that ends human suffering and is a way to promote world peace."
Slamming "materialistic technology," he said greed has "unbalanced the ecosystems, contaminated the environments, caused natural disasters, spread epidemics, induced wars and hence endangered all sentient beings now and in future." Accompanied by other Buddhist leaders, he bowed to a 2,500-year-old bone fragment that reputedly belonged to the Buddha. Meanwhile, an ex-spokesman for Tibet's exiled government said "China is trying to find a platform for him to be accepted by the larger community, which will not happen, I think." He cited concern for the "real Panchen Lama." In 1995, China refused the Dalai Lama's chosen Panchen Lama, who has since disappeared. (Read more Panchen Lama stories.)