LHASA, July 20 (Xinhua) -- The New Palace of Panchen Lama in Tibet's Xigaze is ready for the Kalachakra teachings, scheduled to begin on Thursday, the first to be delivered by the 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu.
A throne of several meters high and covered in yellow silk was placed on a new 200-square-meter platform in the south side of the palace.
A traditional Tibetan ribbon has been put up on both sides of the throne, each measuring a dozen meters long and two meters wide, to symbolize good fortune.
The 11th Panchen Lama will ascend to the seat on Thursday and deliver instructions to Buddhists for four days. They will include a series of tantric teachings and initiations, known as Kalachakra, which means the "wheel of time," to help them through the cycle of life.
A mandala made of colored sand was completed by 20 senior monks from the Tantric Institute of nearby Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, the home temple for Panchen Lamas.
Tens of thousands of people have signed up for the event. No such service has been performed in Tibet for the past 50 years.
Hong Song, a Tibetan from Zhidoi County of Yushu Prefecture in Qinghai Province, left four days in advance with his family. They flew from Yushu to Lhasa first, and then took a train to Xigaze.
He carried three kilograms of fried highland barley for breakfast and quick bites to eat in case there was no time for meals. Hong, 56, called the upcoming teachings "very very precious."
"I hope I can see Panchen Rinpoche in person and I wish all sentient beings could be relieved from the pain of the cycle of life," he said.
His niece, Ghasong Lhamo, 14, also looks forward to the teachings. Ghasong Lhamo said her dream is to "become a nun to teach Buddhism and help people."
"But right now, I hope I can enter a good senior high school," she said. This summer, like many others her age, she sat an entrance exam for senior high school.
Outside the front gate of the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, Ghasong Lhamo and Hong Song joined thousands of Tibetans to celebrate the lamasery's annual festival to unveil a 32-meter-tall Buddha Thangka to the public on Wednesday.x "Worshiping the Buddha Thangka is an auspicious prelude to attending the upcoming Kalachakra teachings," said Hong Song.
Ghasong Lhamo said she hopes she will excel in her studies and increase her wisdom and compassion.
Wei Bin, a Han Chinese from Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, was among the crowd of pilgrims outside Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery. He said he was stunned by the devoutness of Tibetan Buddhists, who turned their prayer wheels in hand when walking.
"When the Buddha Thangka was unveiled, many of them (Tibetans) immediately prostrated. I am curious to know what the Buddha has said and why they are so pious," said Wei.
Wei came to Xigaze on business and is staying in the city for a few weeks. He said he often takes walks at Zhaxi Lhunbo Square.
"These days, the square has become increasingly crowded. I guess it's because of the Kalachakra ritual. You can feel the excitement in the air," he said. "I wish I could be in the New Palace to witness the event."