The 11th Panchen Lama presided over an inauguration ceremony for the new image of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, at the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery Thursday.
At 04:30 am, the courtyard of Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery was filled with 100 senior lamas who sat in two groups and each held a Buddhist bell and stick in his hands.
Amid singing, the 11th Panchen Lama walked out of the Riguang (sunlight) Hall and ascended to throne. Then, he led the lamas in chanting Buddhist scriptures, which would last 10 hours.
The second part of the ceremony finished started at 05:15 pm, during which the 11th Panchen Lama threw offerings into the fire one by one and added butter oil to the fire to make it burn well in the hope of dispelling all diseases and devils. The whole ceremony will last three days.
The newly-erected image of Sakyamuni, 31 meters in height and 41 meters wide, was woven by 60 workers for three months at a cost of 500,000 yuan (US$60,000).
(Xinhua News Agency June 21, 2002)