Throngs seek light, wis­dom in Ti­bet

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XUWEI and PALDEN NYIMA in Xigaze, Ti­bet Con­tact the writ­ers at xuwei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

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