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A Rain of Blessings: the Anniversary of Dusum Khyenpa’s Parinirvana

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December 24, 2014 Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
In the chill of the late afternoon, the Pavilion is surrounded by the warm light of candles, tracing the edges of the roof above, and below, the curving lines of the walls around the offering hearths. Across the fields, the walls of the main shrine and the Karmapa’s quarters are aglow, draped in the flowing lines of bright lights, remindful, too, of the Christmas Eve that is being celebrated in other parts of the world.

Inside the Pavilion, the magnificent throne is now occupied by a life-like statue of Dusum Khyenpa, his eyebrows slightly raised as his eyes gaze downward in meditative concentration. The Gyalwang Karmapa’s carved throne of a warm brown wood has been placed on the right side of the stage in between lower thrones for his heart sons Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche.

A Rain of Blessings,the Dusum Khyenpa celebratory puja to be chanted this evening, was written by the present Karmapa for the 900th anniversary of Dusum Khyenpa in 2010. The text is now Read the rest of this article

“Chig shes Kundrol” Initiations

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The Many Forms of Tara

Day Two: The Initiations of ‘Knowing One Frees All’

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

21 December, 2014

At 5.30am His Holiness’ car left Tergar Monastery, its headlights cutting through the early morning fog, as he made his way to the Monlam Pavilion to begin the preparations for this morning’ s three empowerments. Two hours later, there was still a distinct chill in the air as monastics and laypeople, wrapped up warm in jackets, scarves and woollen hats, waited patiently to pass through  security control into  the pavilion.

On the stage inside the pavilion, the ritual master put the finishing touches to the golden mandala shrine, checking that all the sacred objects necessary for the morning’s three empowerments—White Tara with Retinue, Tara of the Acacia Forest, and Single Tara Who Shakes the Three Worlds—  were ready. Inside the shrine, as if suspended, an opaque crystal Tara rested on a wooden dais, an ornate white torma standing Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Bestows Initiations from “Knowing One Frees All”

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20 December, 2014 Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
At the request of the Kagyu Monlam Committee, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa is kindly bestowing a special series of initiations, the twenty-four peaceful deities of “Knowing One Frees All”(Chig shes Kun drol), composed by the Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje (1556–1603). Though the Karmapa has given a great number of individual empowerments, this is the first occasion in this lifetime that he has bestowed such a series of initiations. This special program from December 20 to 25 is given in commemoration of the First Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche, who passed away twenty-five years ago, and of the Second Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, who passed away ten years ago.What follows below is some background information for “Knowing One Frees All”―its traditions, structure, and the present Karmapa’s connection to it.
Depending on the capacity and inclinations of beings, the Buddha taught various types of dharma, which can be subsumed into two categories, the sutras and the tantras. The key difference Read the rest of this article

HH the Sakya Trizin Bestows the Muni Trisamaya Vyuha Empowerment

2014.12.20
20th December, 2014 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
The stage at the Monlam pavilion is set with exquisite attention to detail for the Muni Trisamaya Vyuhaempowerment of Buddha Shakyamuni. A gold leaf pagoda with wind chimes hanging in each corner, and golden auspicious symbols embossed on green panels, contains the mandala of the deity. Large ornate carved offering bowls sit on its rim. At centre stage is a floor to ceiling appliquéd Buddha Shakyamuni thangka. Behind that to the left is a smaller golden statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. A screen with the kings of the four directions painted in the Chinese style is placed at the forefront of the stage so that preliminaries for the empowerment can be conducted in private. From the ceiling inverted silken petals drape the overhead lights like chandeliers. Garlands of marigolds hang from horizontal ceiling banners. The assembly of more than four thousand monks and nuns in golden prayer shawls stretch out like an undulating sea. Behind them sit nearly four thousand laypeople.

While the gyalins Read the rest of this article

A Royal Welcome for HH Sakya Trizin

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18 December, 2014 Bodhgaya
The arrival of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin at Tergar monastery on December 18th, 2014 marked an historic re-connection between the Karmapa lineage and the Sakya Trizin. Previously the 16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje, nurtured the young Sakya heir when he first came to India, for which HH Sakya Trizin later expressed his gratitude in a letter.

For over an hour an estimated one thousand people stood patiently holding ceremonial scarves and incense as they lined both sides of the one kilometre road that leads to Tergar. The Karmapa made his own car available for HH Sakya Trizin and his two sons, Khondung Vajra Ratna Rinpoche and Khondung Gyana Vajra, on their journey from Patna to Bodhgaya. As the car approached Tergar Monastery, a procession befitting royalty escorted it. Monks and lamas bedecked in dazzling orange and red brocade played horns, blew the conch, beat ceremonial drums and held victory banners aloft. A monk walked beside the car, holding high the golden parasol. The car cleared the gates through Read the rest of this article