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Tibetan Lamas Pray For Quake Victims

May 16, 2008

Xinhua (the offical organ of the PR China)
May 14, 2008

LHASA, May 14 (Xinhua) -- About 500 Tibetan lamas attended a Buddhist
service at the Drepung Monastery in Lhasa on Wednesday, praying for
blessings for the earthquake victims in southwest China's Sichuan
Province and other affected regions in the country.

During the two-hour service at the one of the three leading
monasteries in Tibet Autonomous Region, the group of lamas, led
by80-year-old Dampa Lungtok, chanted Buddhist scriptures wishing for
safety and for no mishaps and disasters.

"I'm very sad to see so many people lose their lives in the
earthquake. I pray for the early transmigration of the souls of the
deceased," said lama Phuntsok Tharchin.

A donation ceremony was held after the religious service, and lamas
of the monastery contributed a total of 38,080 yuan (5,440 U.S.
dollars), said lama Awang Tongjug, also director of the Democratic
Management Committee of the Drepung Monastery.

"Lamas of the monastery are very worried after they learned via TV
and radio reports that a strong earthquake had occurred in Sichuan,
so they offered to hold a Buddhist service praying for the victims
and making donations to them," he said.

Built in 1416, the Drepung Monastery on the outskirts of the Tibet
regional capital of Lhasa, is the largest and most influential
monastery of the Gelug Sect, a branch of the Tibetan Buddhism.

It is well known as the site of the annual Yoghurt Festival, with its
dramatic unfurling of a giant thangka -- a form of Tibetan painting
art that dates back more than 1,000 years -- on the hillside.

The other two leading monasteries in Tibet are the Sera Monastery and
Ganden Monastery.

Also Wednesday, about 1,000 lamas at the Taer Monastery, another
well-known Gelug Sect monastery in neighboring Qinghai Province,
donated more than 110,000 yuan to the people in the quake-hit regions.

They meanwhile started a week-long Buddhist service Wednesday,
praying for the victims.

"We sincerely hope the disaster-stricken people can tide over the
difficulties soon," said lama Wangden.

China's only monks' red cross is based in the Taer Monastery, 27 km
south of the provincial capital Xining.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Wenchuan County of Sichuan Monday
afternoon and it was also felt in most parts of the county.

The death toll across the country has risen to 14,866, the latest
government statistics show.

Among those, 14,463 were confirmed dead in Sichuan Province, 280 in
Gansu Province, 106 in Shaanxi Province, 14 in Chongqing
Municipality, two in Henan Province, one in Yunnan Province and one
in Hubei Province.
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