Dharamshala: A crowd of more than 10,000 people attended a mass prayer led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama early this morning in a stadium in the southern city of Kaohsiung in Taiwan, Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency reported.
The two-hour long ceremony at the Kaohsiung Dome was focused on the tragedy which struck last month when Typhoon Morakot swept in from the Pacific, leaving at least 571 dead in its trail.
“My goal here is to seek blessing and ward off misfortune for the typhoon victims,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama said.
“I’m very moved that the Dalai Lama has come to Taiwan to visit the typhoon victims,” AFP quoted Vivien Cheng, a bank employee, as saying.
A Kaohsiung resident who was pushing his wheelchair-bound wife had a very specific reason to be at the prayer.
“We’re here to seek blessings before my wife’s cancer surgery,” the man, who declined to give his name, told AFP.
“We came here to praise him, and show our appreciation for him coming after our disaster,” said Rachel Lin, 51, who came from Tainan City with friends to see the spiritual leader for the first time. “I feel very happy to have this chance.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, and Chen Ju, mayor of Kaohsiung, for half an hour this morning, a DPP spokesman told Bloomberg news agency.
At the meeting, the spiritual leader said the purpose of his visit is to comfort the typhoon survivors and that the trip, like his previous two visits to Taiwan, is for humanitarian purposes, DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang said.