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11th Panchen Lama leads prayer service in Lhasa

07-25-2012 01:32 BJT

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The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoi'gyi'jabu, has visited Jokhang Temple and led a prayer service in the monastery, considered the most revered in Lhasa -- the "holy city" of Tibetan Buddhism.

The 22-year-old Panchen lama serves as the vice president of the Buddhist Association of China and is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body.

The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu (R), is greeted after arriving in Lhasa,
capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, July 23, 2012. The Panchen Lama began
his Lhasa visit on Monday. The lama's visits have become an annual event in recent years.

The 11th Panchen Lama, a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, arrived at Jokhang Temple around 6 am, Tuesday. He was greeted by lamas dressed in crimson robes and holding Tibetan prayer flags, or hada, a long, scarf-like white silk used by the Tibetans for blessings.

The Panchen Lama visited the major halls of the temple, paid homage, and presented his own hada to Buddha statues, including Jokhang’s house treasure -- a life-sized statue of Buddha Sakyamuni as a 12-year-old. It was brought to the temple by Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty in the seventh century.

The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu (C),
arrives at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, capital of
southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, July 24, 2012.
The Panchen Lama began his Lhasa visit on Monday. The
lama's visits have become an annual event in recent years.

The Panchen Lama also led a 30-minute sutra-chanting service with more than 100 lamas at the temple, praying for prosperity and stability. It was followed by a head-touching ritual to bless the lamas.

The Panchen Lama began this year’s Lhasa visit on Monday. In 2010, he made a highly-publicized tour of Tibet, including visits to Jokhang and other top monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism.

China upholds religious freedom and invests huge amounts every year into preserving religious rites and cultural relics.

Lhasa authorities said investment spent on cultural heritage preservation in the city had topped 415 million yuan in the past five years.

Later this year, the government will start to renovate the imposing outdoor mural of Jokhang -- about 4,000 square meters in size -- an unprecedentedly large project.


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