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I offer this at the feet of the incomparable glorious protector of the doctrine and beings, the venerable lord and excellent being, Hotoktu Rinpoche.[1]

In these exceedingly virtuous times, I [hope] your supreme body, the singular eddy flowing from the pure conduct of your primordial and immense resolve to attain enlightenment and the source of precious jewels, is entirely brilliant.

Moreover, the garland of your incomparable, marvellous deeds brings about the benefit and welfare of the teachings and beings in an all-pervasive manner, as if it is rising to the summit of existence. We are grateful for your loving care!

I am also well, both mentally and physically. We humbly request that the precious emanation of the supreme protector, [the Paṇchen Lama], take up all the lifestyles of previous reincarnations and diligently engage in studying and conducting deeds beneficial for religious and secular matters. 

The main point of this letter is connected with an enquiry made by the head personal attendant Nomin Han.[2] Here, we have made good preparations for the long-life offering to the refuge protectors, victorious lords, father and son (the Paṇchen Lama and the Dalai Lama) and to serve and venerate the sangha. However, it has not been possible to obtain permission to do this in the last three years. Hence, [the Panchen Lama], like a thirsty person desires water, very much wishes to visit you.

However, in addition to his old age, recently, from the beginning of the second month, he has developed an illness that is combined with phlegm, blood pressure, and bo disease.[3] It is increasingly worsening. Not only that, but the divination that was conducted last year indicated that the obstacles of his sixty-second year would be significant. This divination also indicated that there would be a slightly greater obstacle on the way. Subsequently, we do not have the hope that he will recover for a while or for you both to come together.

At this time, the treasurer, master, and servants were specially delegated to offer gifts without delay to everyone, especially the government, in reciprocity with the gifts received. Apart from that, we have no choice but to take leave for a few years until his health is completely restored.

Also, as the head personal attendant himself has [already] sent a separate detailed letter requesting permission to serve you, the Excellent Protector, when you come to Tibet, if you are definitely going to come, I hope his request will be answered with a positive result. Please keep us informed of your visit and, as per your wishes, we can choose and appoint suitable and new personal attendants. Please keep [these words] in the deep expanse of your mind.

In the future, for the excellent benefit of the doctrine and beings, please spontaneously establish your precious feet in the everlasting nature. Moreover, may your enlightened resolve and beneficial activities be even better than before, and from that state, may you also keep your compassionate deeds uninterrupted like the Ganges river. I send this request and my regards along with a pair of ceremonial scarfs.[4]

Sent on an auspicious date.

[1] If the letter is from the secretary of the Ninth Paṇchen Lama, then Hotoktu Rinpoche is khal kha rje btsun dam pa 08 ngag dbang blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma, or rje btsun dam pa ho thog thu rin po che, 1870/1871–1923/1924, BDRC P4945

[2] byabs khrus mkhan po no min han

[3] 'bo nad

[4] lha rdzas


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Published: September 2021



paN chen bla ma 09 thub bstan chos kyi nyi ma (purported). Date unknown. Private Collection. London: Tib Shelf W003



A Letter to Hotoktu Rinpoche


This letter is purportedly from the secretary of the Ninth Paṇchen Lama to Hotoktu Rinpoche. It was purchased and is now conserved in a private collection in France. The means of the initial acquisition is unknown. We are happy to receive any information concerning this letter. 

A Letter to Hotoktu Rinpoche

Alongside our own publications, Tib Shelf peer reviews and publishes the works of aspiring and established Tibetologists. If you would like to publish with us or request our translation services, please get in touch, our team would be pleased to help. Tib Shelf has been accredited by the British Library with the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN):  2754–1495


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