Lhasa, May 21 (IANS) The 11th Panchen Lama, a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, blessed thousands of pilgrims in Lhasa on Saturday by conducting a traditional “head-touching” ritual.
The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, performed the ritual at his residence in downtown Lhasa, Xinhua news agency reported.
Saturday, the 15th day of the fourth month in the Tibetan calendar, is the traditional Tibetan holiday Saga Dawa, or the anniversary marking Buddha’s birth.
To celebrate the Saga Dawa, devout Buddhists, holding prayer wheels, circumambulated the Potala Palace and Porgor Street, two major pilgrim routes in Lhasa’s city centre.
The ritual began at 10 a.m. (local time) and will last for two days.
The Panchen Lama has travelled to most parts of Tibet and blessed 1.5 million people since he became the spiritual leader in 1995.
He arrived in Lhasa on Tuesday and visited the Jokhang Temple on Thursday.
The Panchen Lama serves as vice president of the Buddhist Association of China and a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body.