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Young lama gets down to business

SINGING, listening and taking notes, the 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, attended a forum yesterday in Wuxi with businessmen and monks, where they discussed Buddhist philosophies related to business.

At the beginning of a sub-forum at the second World Buddhist Forum, the 19-year-old Tibetan Buddhist leader joined other attendees in singing a Buddhist song that urges people to enjoy the simple beauty of nature and stop worrying unnecessarily.

"It was beyond our expectations that he would choose to attend this one among all eight sub-forums," said Buddhist Master Zhan Ru, who is also deputy director of Peking University's Institute of Orientology. "It was a great encouragement for all present. Everyone was happy and honored. Compared with other sub-forums, many attendees here are businessmen. Maybe the Living Buddha thought they would have more troubles and problems than other people and was willing to give his blessing to them."

During the three-and-a-half-hour forum, the Panchen Lama carefully listened to the businessmen who shared their stories and ideas about learning Buddhism and applying Buddhist thoughts in their business.

When other Buddhist masters elaborated on Buddhist philosophy or when lecturers discussed puzzles in their lives, he took notes.

"Although quite young, he looked very elegant and dignified," said Yan Wangjia, who runs an IT firm in Wuxi. Yan met the Panchen Lama for the first time.

"His presence is an encouragement to us. This showed that he was interested in our lives and problems and also had expectations of us," he said.

The Living Buddha was born in Lhari County, Nagqu Prefecture in the northern Tibet, on February 13, 1990. He won recognition from the central government as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama in November 1995 after a lot-drawing ceremony among candidates in the Jokhang Temple in Tibet.

Drawing lots from a gold urn to choose the reincarnation of a high lama has long been a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism, and the custom of seeking approval from the central government dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).


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