Panchen Lama starts Kalachakra ritual in Xigaze

The first tantric Kalachakra instructions delivered by the 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu formally started, with some 40 monks beginning a closed-door observance of Yidam, the Kalachakra deity, Thursday morning.

The monks, from Labrang Lamasery in northwest China's Gansu Province and Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery in Xigaze, Tibet Autonomous Region, will perform this ritual every morning during the four-day event.

The Kalachakra (the wheel of time) ritual includes a series of tantric teachings and initiations given by gurus to help Buddhists through the cycle of life.

Public instruction and initiations have been scheduled for every afternoon. On Thursday, monks, nuns, gurus and devotees will arrive at the New Palace of the Panchen Lama, near the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, at noon.

It is estimated that some 50,000 Buddhists will attend the auspicious the event.

This is the first time in 50 years that the ritual has been done in Tibet.