A religious gathering of over 5000 people in eastern Tibet violated Chinese government orders and publicly enthroned a portrait of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with full religious ceremonial gaiety.
The enthronement of the portraits of the Dalai Lama and the 10th Panchen Lama took place at the Kham Lithang Gonchen during the 10-day Jang Gonchoe Chenmo religious congregation which began July 15.
Speaking to Phayul, a member of the Tibetan exile parliament, Mr Atruk Tseten said that it was an extremely joyous and emotional moment for the Tibetans who had gathered from all corners of Tibet as they lined up in front of the throne to offer khataks (Tibetan scarves).
“Many people told me that for the first time in their lives they felt as if they really could see His Holiness the Dalai Lama in person and seek his blessings”, Mr Tseten said.
Organisers of the religious gathering had in advance told local Chinese officials of their plans to enthrone the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama warning that the organisers won’t be responsible for the actions of the assembled people in the event of the religious procession being obstructed.
Around 100 monasteries representing all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Yungdrung Bon from eastern Tibet participated in the yearly congregation with the organisers defying official orders and sending an invite to Ngaba Kirti Monastery as well.
Mr Tseten told Phayul that the organisers had laid down strict rules to encourage all those gathered to speak in pure Tibetan language and made it mandatory for everyone, even Chinese officials to wear traditional Tibetan clothing inside the congregation grounds.
Tsethar, the Buddhist practice of saving lives was also conducted as prayer offerings for the long life of the Dalai Lama. Live stocks in great numbers were rescued from slaughter houses and released under the care of herders and farmers.