Gazing up at the faintly smiling Buddha, the Chinese youths kneel, raise smoldering sticks of incense in clasped hands, and silently make their wishes. Then they bow deeply, three times.

Thousands of young people from around the country are making the pilgrimage to Yonghe Temple, a sprawling Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Beijing, to pray for good fortune – especially in finding jobs.

“A lot of young people here are praying to the Buddha to help them find work,” says Qian Ninan, a college student from Inner Mongolia, adding that she hopes her petitions before the temple’s many Buddhas will smooth her own career journey.