Throngs seek light, wisdom in Tibet
A sacred ritual hosted by the Panchen Lama in Xigaze, Tibet autonomous region, has attracted a large number of Han Chinese devotees to hear him speak — a sign of the growing popularity of Tibetan Buddhism among the country’s urban residents.
About 100,000 devotees of Tibetan Buddhism took part in the Kalachakra initiation by the Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu during the first day of the four-day event on Thursday, according to the government news office. The initiation is regarded by believers as the highest of teachings.
Many of the Han devotees had undertaken long journeys, overcoming altitude sickness and other obstacles, to take part in the event at T ash iL hun po Monastery, the Pan chen Lama’s traditional seat.
The Kalachakra is a ritual that aims to initiate and empower disciples. The Panchen Lama continued the Kalachakra — meaning “wheel of time”— on Friday as he was joined by at least 5,000 monks and nuns.
Chen Zijuan, a 50-yearold devotee from Shanghai, said she saw news of the event on social media and quickly decided she had to attend at all costs.
“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear the Panchen Lama giving his first Kalachakra,” she said.
Chen, who was converted to Tibetan Buddhism by a guru, is part of a group of devotees in Shanghai that meetsonceevery twoweeks.
“We use the opportunity to reflect upon whether we have broken our vows during the period, and we remind ourselves of the teachings of our guru,” she said.
Chen said she traveled frequently to a monastery in Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province to visit a senior guru and hear his teachings.
“I told our guru that we would go to the event, and he offered a blessing that helped us overcome mountain sickness,” she said.