Tibetan Buddhism's Kagyu school holds Phowa Dharma Assembly

The Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism held a traditional dharma assembly during the weekend, drawing hundreds of thousands of believers from Tibet and elsewhere in China.

This dharma assembly held by Drikung Kagyu, one of the eight minor lineages of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, dates back more than 300 years and is held in the year of monkey in the Tibetan calendar, this year in the Drikung Valley near the Drigung Thil Monastery.

The assembly centers on a mediation practice called Phowa, which means the transfer of consciousness at the time of death in Tibetan culture.

Many disciples set up tents on the grassland to prepare for the teachings by a living buddha during the assembly.

A living buddha walked to the altar at around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon and was welcomed by disciples holding khata, a ceremonial scarf in Tibetan Buddhism.

These khatas were then thrown from the back of the crowd to the front, eventually piling up into a white stripe.