100,000 Tibetans celebrate Buddhism festival in Lhasa

More than 100,000 Tibetan Buddhism believers are estimated to have gathered at a monastery in Lhasa Tuesday to mark a traditional religious festival ahead of the Tibetan New Year that begins Saturday.

The annual “Sera Bengqin Festival” is an important religious event celebrated four days before the Tibetan New Year. It is held exclusively at Sera Monastery, one of the three leading monasteries in Lhasa alongside Drepung and Ganden.

Devout Tibetan buddhists held pure white hada, a traditional white scarf, in hand and sincerely prayed while moving slowly in the kilometers-long line outside of the monastery in suburban Lhasa.

As a tradition, they are proceeding to receive the blessing from the Vajra Pestle, treasure of the Sera Monastery, which is opened to the public once a year.

A Tibetan man holds a prayer wheel during a worship ceremony of Vajry Pestle in the Sera Monastery in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, March 1, 2011. As Tuesday marked the 27th day of December on Tibetan calendar, over 10,000 Tibetans worshiped the Vajry pestle, an instrument used in Tibetan Buddhism, as a tradition to pray for good fortune and sound health. (Xinhua/Chogo)

Yeshe, a 73-year-old man, traveled nearly 100 km from his home in Yangbajing township, Dangxiong County with his grandson to this event.

He told Xinhua that his family has been in line since 5 o’clock in the morning. “Today I come here to pray for all sentient beings to have a smooth and healthy new year,” he said.

The annual event started from 1 a.m. Tuesday and lasted to about 2 a.m. Wednesday. It has drawn Tibetan Buddhists from across the Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as Tibetan communities in the western provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan.

– Xinhua

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