Maitreya thangka painting displayed at Drepung Monastery

On August 21, Drepung Monastery in southwest China's Tibet displayed a giant thangka painting of Maitreya for the first time during the Shoton Festival, attracting Buddhist followers and tourists from home and abroad to view it.

A monk named Tenzin Dhunyong said that the Maitreya thangka painting was made to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Drepung Monastery in 2016 and took monks one year to embroider by hand. It is about 60 meters long and 40 meters wide.

Maitreya is the future Buddha, one of the three Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism. The other two are Dipamkara, the past Buddha, and Sakyamuni, the present Buddha. Beginning with the unveiling of the Buddha thangka painting at Drepung Monastery, Lhasa's  Shoton Festival was officially kicked off.

"Throughout hundreds of years of  inheritance, the tradition of displaying a giant thangka painting is still so well preserved today," 20-year-old Yuan Xiyan from Hong Kong, who is visiting Tibet with his parents, said. They started their day at 3:30, hiking up the mountain for nearly one hour and standing in the crowd for over an hour in the rain. After experience the unveiling of the thangka, he was surprised at Tibet's cultural heritage, sighing, "Life is not complete until one has visited Tibet."

Drepung is a famous monastery in Tibetan Buddhism. Founded in the year 1416, "drepung" in Tibetan means "heap of rice", which describes  its  monastic buildings is numerous.