Dalai Lama prays for tsunami victims in Japan

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaks at a press conference before a Buddhist special prayer for the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami at Gokokuji temple in  Tokyo, Friday, April 29, 2011.(AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa)
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Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaks at a press conference before a Buddhist special prayer for the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami at Gokokuji temple in Tokyo, Friday, April 29, 2011.

The Dalai Lama has presided over prayers for victims of Japan's tsunami at a temple in Tokyo.

The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists led a group of monks as they chanted on the 50th day since a magnitude-9.0 earthquake triggered a powerful tsunami on March 11.

He told the crowd Friday that despite the suffering and destruction there is "no reason to feel discouraged and remain hopeless,"

In many Japanese schools of Buddhist thought, the dead wander near their homes for 49 days before heading into their next stage of existence on the 50th day.

The Dalai Lama also encouraged survivors to "work hard, with full self-confidence."

The earthquake and tsunami are believed to have killed nearly 26,000 people.