January 21, 2010 – Sarnath, Varanasi
Formally concluding the Bodhgaya leg of his winter tour, His Holiness departed the holy site of Buddha’s enlightenment just after mid-day and set out for Sarnath, repeating the journey Buddha Shakyumuni himself took after his enlightenment in order to teach his first circle of disciples to set the Wheel of Dharma in motion.
Meanwhile, in Sarnath, in joyful anticipation of His Holiness’ arrival, welcome gates were erected, the road was lined with white chalk and auspicious designs were painted on the approach to the temple at Vajra Vidya Institute in Sarnath. The khenpos and monks from the institute’s study program donned ceremonial hats and Dharma robes, and waited to receive His Holiness far down the road from the monastery. Closer to the monastery entrance, the road was lined with the remaining monastics and lay followers holding white khatas and peering up the road expectantly.
His Holiness arrived just after 5 pm, the noble sound of traditional Tibetan gyaling filled the air as many of those assembled leaned forward to catch their first glimpse of His Holiness.
With the yellow umbrella hovering above him, His Holiness arrived to the accompaniment of offerings of incense and music played from the roof of the monastery as well as from the welcome party on the road. Holding banners and other fluttering banners, the khenpos and monks escorted His Holiness in a regal procession onto the monastery grounds and up to the entrance of the main assembly hall. There, Gyalwang Karmapa was received by a party of dignitaries including senior faculty from the nearby Tibetan University, formerly known as the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies.
Gyalwang Karmapa’s stay in Sarnath is scheduled to last until Losar, the Tibetan New Year. During this time, he will be receiving teachings from Khenchen Yongzin Thrangu Rinpoche, his senior tutor, in this most auspicious place for Dharma teachings.
Gyalwang Karmapa Arrives at Vajravidya Institute in Sarnath