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26th Kagyu Monlam at a Glance

Aspiration:

A drop of water which falls into a great ocean will neither be exhausted nor cease to exist until the end of the universe. Likewise, a virtuous root dedicated toward attaining enlightenment will neither be exhausted nor cease to exist until you reach perfect enlightenment.
– The Sutra spoken by Noble Inexhaustible Intelligence

The International Kagyu Monlam is an eight day Buddhist prayer festival held annually in Bodhgaya, the place of Buddha’s enlightenment. His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, presides over the festival, supported by many leading Rinpoches from the Kagyu tradition, including H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, H.E. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Ven. Zurmang Garwang Rinpoche, Ven. Kalu Rinpoche, Ven. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Ven. Mingyur Rinpoche. Read more

26th Kagyu Monlam: January 5, 2009

His Holiness Karmapa gave a short commentary:

The Lord Buddha said that two things were essential: study and practice. Gampopa advised people to study first. The Kagyu is known as the practice lineage, and meditation plays a central role; it is the lineage of experience and realization. Like Milarepa, we had to receive the instructions, and then put them into practice. This involved hardship and effort.

Some Kagyu masters had studied extensively and then practiced, but others had had little formal study. Milarepa had not studied widely, but he had great devotion. He received the instructions, the direct understanding of how to practice, and then he practiced.

A Nyingma lama once said that when we were really suffering and our minds were deeply disturbed, the only things which helped were Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva, and The Songs of Milarepa. Correct meditation depends on correct view, and the correct view is emptiness. The lama, who has direct experience of the nature of the mind, gives instructions to the devoted student who must study, analyze, gain a conceptual understanding and practice it. His Holiness commented that although Kagyu say they are the practice lineage, when we study the biographies of great masters it can make us feel ashamed. As the saying goes, Read the rest of this article

The 26th Kagyu Monlam Begins

Saturday January 04, 2009

His Holiness dedicated the first day of Kagyu Monlam Puja to the victims of recent Mumbai attack.

26th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo began with a quiet thick, damp fog blanketed all over Bodh Gaya. At 5 am the participants proceeded to the Mahabodhi Stupa, only gradually did their forms emerge from the silent mist. The closer to the Stupa they came, the greater were their numbers, until monks, nuns and laypeople from all parts of the world came streaming through the great gates of the Stupa complex and began their circumambulation of the ancient site, murmuring mantras and prayers. An electricity cut made the early morning seem even more mystical, and the reduced lighting caused the Stupa to appear floating in space and insubstantial.

Beneath the Bodhi Tree, devotees found their way to their seats and sat waiting expectantly for the arrival of His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa, Jamgon Rinpoche, Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche and other high lamas. Fragrant incense wafted in the air, every stupa, wall and railing was decorated with strings of marigolds, and the Kagyu Monlam Shrine stretched resplendently across the front of the assembly against a background of draping yellow and blue cloth. Monks and nuns donned their yellow Read the rest of this article

The Third day of Gyalwang Karmapa’s Lineage Practice Teachings

Thursday January 2, 2009

On the last morning of the teachings Gyalwang Karmapa conferred the Bodhisattva Vow and spoke about developing bodhichitta.

He began by detailing the necessary conditions when taking the Bodhisattva Vow.

First came motivation and then there needed to be a support – either a human, a deity or a god. The vow could be taken in front of a Lama, a spiritual friend or a support such as a picture. The maximum support was someone who held the eight Pratimoksha vows, the minimum support was someone with the refuge vows.

Third was the ritual. His Holiness chose to use three verses from Shantideva’s “ The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life”, which contained all three possible forms of the vow, the aspirational, the engaged, and both.

When taking the vow we needed the intention to benefit all sentient beings, who were our mothers as limitless as space. The best way to prepare our minds and to accumulate merit, which would develop and increase the power of the vow, was to recite the Seven Branch Prayer.

For beginners there would be more Read the rest of this article