LHASA, May 20, 2016 -- The 11th Panchen Lama visited Jokhang Temple on Thursday, leading a prayer service and blessing lamas in the most revered monastery in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, arrived at the Jokhang Temple around 5:40 a.m. May 19, 2016. He was greeted by lamas lined up at the temple gates who were holding Tibetan incense.
The 26-year-old visited the temple's major halls, paid homage and presented hada – a long scarf-like piece of white silk used by Tibetans in blessings – to Buddha statues. They included Jokhang's treasure: a statue of Buddha Sakyamuni brought to the temple by Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty in the seventh century.
It was before this statue in November 1995 that the current Panchen Lama, whose secular name is Gyaencaen Norbu, was chosen as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Erdeni through the traditional method of drawing lots from a golden urn.
Following worship, the Panchen Lama led sutra chanting at the temple, praying for harvests, prosperity and stability, before he performed a head-touching ritual to bless the lamas.
The service at Jokhang Temple marked the start of the Panchen Lama's annual visit to Lhasa. Arriving on Tuesday in the city known as the "holy city" of Tibetan Buddhism, he will hold more religious activities during the visit.
The Panchen Lama serves as vice president of the Buddhist Association of China and as 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.