2008-05-21 06:55:00 GMT 2008-05-21 14:55:00 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
BEIJING, May 21 (Xinhua) -- The 11th Panchen Erdeni Gyaincain Norbu presided over a prayer meeting in Beijing on Wednesday, in which he prayed for peace in the areas struck by a magnitude 8 earthquake on May 12.
The meeting, held in Yong He Gong (the Lama Temple), lasted more than an hour, during which the 11th Panchen Lama read Buddhist scriptures to ward off the disasters and bring good luck for the earthquake victims.
According to the Information Office of the State Council, the devastating earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province claimed 40,075 lives nationwide as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.
A prayer meeting is an important religious service of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhists, in which the monks read Buddhist scriptures to avert calamities and bring blessings.