The 11th Panchen Lama, the highest leader of Tibetan Buddhism in China, held religious rituals in Tibetan habitats in southwestern Sichuan Province from June 12 to 28, and was warmly greeted by believers.
During his stay in the province, the Panchen Lama, or Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, held head-touching ceremonies to bless more than 60,000 local believers, living in Garze and Aba, two Tibetan autonomous prefectures, located in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
It is the first time for the Panchen Lama to visit Sichuan, where the second largest Tibetan inhabitants reside next to the Tibet Autonomous Region, since he was confirmed and approved by the Chinese government as the reincarnation of the Tenth Panchen Lama on Nov. 29, 1995 after the lot drawing from a sacred, golden urn in strict compliance with religious rituals and conventions.
More than 10,000 believers congregated and lingered outside the residence of the young lama, who arrived at Garze's Kangding County on June 17, hoping to catch a glimpse of him and get a blessing from him.
The believers not only received head-touching ceremonies but also got Panchen's portrait, badges and red diamond knots touched by him.
The Panchen Lama toured dozens of counties of Sichuan and held religious rituals in more than 10 Tibetan Buddhism temples there. When commenting on the visit, the Panchen Lama said he was happy with the social stability and economic development in Sichuan, as well as the people's improved quality of living there.
The young lama also said he would carry forward the patriotic traditions handed down from his predecessors and do his best to promote the country's reunification, unity of the various ethnic groups, and social and economic development.