Date: Mon, 9 Oct 1995 21:07:06 -0400
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <>
From: Steve Leibo <>
Subject: H-ASIA: Tibetan Golden Urn Lottery
To: Multiple recipients of list H-ASIA <>

Date: October 2, 1995
Subj:Tibet and the Golden Urn lottery system
From: Michael J Sullivan <>

Tibet and the Golden Urn lottery system

By Michael J. Sullivan, ASIA-L list, 9 October 1995

In the recent dispute over the selection of the new Panchen Lama between the Beijing government and the Dalai Lama, Beijing has been arguing that the lottery process known as Shaking the Golden Urn must be used in the selection process. Beijing argues that it should be given the final say in the selection process since this lottery process has historical precedents in China. Tibetans reportedly asked the KMT in 1940 for permission to dispense with this supposedly arcane lottery process when choosing the current Dalai Lama. The Golden Urn lottery process is now toted by the CCP as the official means to select senior lamas.

Tibetans refute this argument, arguing that the 1940 historical event was publicly discounted by a senior Tibetan leader in China several years ago.

The source that describe this dispute didn't offer an explanation on what the Golden Urn lottery process encompassed.

What is the origin and history of the Golden Urn lottery system? Is there any truth to the CCP and Tibetan interpretations of the event in 1940? I would appreciate any insights.

michael sullivan