XIGAZE, Tibet, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, a Tibetan Buddhism spiritual leader, blessed thousands of followers by conducting a head-touching in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region last week.
The Panchen Lama performed the ritual at Dechen Kelsang Potrang, his residence in the city of Xigaze, on Aug. 6 and 7.
Tashi, 81, came from Rinbung County and waited in line for four hours before meeting the lama.
After the Panchen Lama touched Tashi's head to give the blessing, Tashi could not hide his excitement.
"To see the Panchen Lama in person and receive his blessing made me so happy," Tashi said.
More than 13,000 people were blessed by the Buddhist leader, who has blessed over a million people since 1995, according to Salung Phunla, vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Many people had to wait like Tashi, moving slowly in a line that only continued to grow as the days dragged on.
Worshippers walked towards the Panchen Lama with their hands clasped and heads down, allowing the lama to perform the ritual.
"I am 71 years old. I was afraid that I would never meet the lama in person. Today, it is like a dream coming true for me," said Tobygye, who arrived at the site early in the morning.
The Panchen Lama previously visited the Tibet's regional capital of Lhasa in July, during which time he visited the revered Jokhang Temple, paid homage to Buddha statues and led a prayer service. He also visited the Tibet Buddhist Theological Institute, Tibetan homes and welfare institutions to meet with monks, common Tibetans and people with special needs, such as senior citizens and orphans.
In 1995, at the age of six, the 11th Panchen Lama was chosen as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Erdeni in Jokhang through the traditional method of drawing lots from a golden urn.
He is now vice president of the Buddhist Association of China and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body.