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Buddha-Painting Unfolding Festival Underway in Tibet

The three-day Buddha-Painting Unfolding Festival got underway in the Tashillunpo Monastery in China's Tibet Autonomous Region on Monday, drawing some 10,000 Tibetan Buddhist believers and visitors to pay their respects.

The thangka -- a large piece of silk embroidery -- of the Past Buddha, 35-meters-tall and 40-meters-long, was laid out on a 538-year-old stone platform at 8 a.m. on Sunday, while attendants prayed on the monastery square in Xigaze, the second largest city of Tibet.

People passed by the painting in line at 11 a.m., many of whom flung hadaa - white silk fabric used to pay respect - to the thangka or bowed in prayer. At midday, the thangka was folded again for the next year.

The annual Buddha-Painting Unfolding Festival, with a history of over 500 years, is scheduled between the 13th and the 15th day of the fifth Tibetan month and the thangkas of the Three Periods of Buddha are unfurled, one on each day. The Present Buddha and the Future Buddha will be displayed in the next two days.

The Tashillunpo Monastery was built by the first Dalai Lama in 1447. It is the seat of each generation of the Panchen Lama. In Tibetan, its name means "the mountain monastery of auspiciousness".

(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2006)


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