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Living Buddha holds religious ceremony in Tibetan county
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A Tibetan living Buddha held religious ceremonies in southwest China's Tibetan-populated Aba Wednesday, a year after a major riot that left many civilians injured and shops and vehicles set alight.

The maroon-robed Living Buddha of Nangshig chanted the scriptures on the platform of Nangshig Monastery, a major Tibetan monastery in the Aba County, on Wednesday noon. More than 100 monks and 400 believers, including some children, listened to his praying.

March 11 is the anniversary of the head-touching of the Lord of the Wisdom. Since mid-noon, Living Buddha of Nangshig began to touch the heads of monks and the believers' children.

Head-touching is a religious ceremony in which a Living Buddha or eminent monk blesses lower monks and believers, or rids them of sufferings and disasters by touching their heads with his hand.

"A Buddhist student at the Kirti Monastery set himself alight not long ago. But our religious rituals go as normal," said Kunga, a monk student at the monastery.

The ceremony ended at about 2 p.m..

"I was glad that the Living Buddha touched my head," said Lungrig, together with his family.

With the government's help, the monastery had access to the tap water, electricity and roads in 2007, said Kunga.

The Kirti Monastery in Aba County also held a religious ceremony Wednesday. A Buddhist student from the monastery set himself alight on a street in the Aba county on Feb. 27. The 24-year-old Tashi is currently treated at the West China Hospital under the Sichuan University in the provincial capital of Chengdu.

In Sumtsen Ling Monastery in Shangri-La, capital of Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Diqing in the neighbouring Yunnan Province, nearly 10,000 Tibetans offered Hada, a piece of silk used as a greeting gift among the Tibetans, to the Future Buddha on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday is the 15th day of the Tibetan New Year and the day for the pilgrimages to welcome the Future Buddha.

The monks began to chant the scriptures at 4 a.m. and moved the Future Buddha statue to the monastery square five hours later and circled the temple. The pilgrimages hustled to offer the hada, praying for a happy new year.

"I come here every year, wishing for the health and happiness of my family," said Dawa, a local villager.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2009)

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