January 11, 2012 – Bodhgaya.
The Gyalwang Karmapa today concluded a brief but fruitful visit to Bodhgaya to receive the Kalachakra for World Peace initiation conferred by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. After arriving on January 3, the Gyalwang Karmapa was also occupied granting daily public audiences to groups ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 people daily. On the final day of the Kalachakra puja, the Gyalwang Karmapa also attended a long-life empowerment and offering ceremony for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
As many as 300,000 had pilgrims gathered in the village of Bodhgaya for the Kalachakra for World Peace ceremonies. Thousands of Buddhists from across the Himalayan region joined Tibetans coming directly from Tibet itself in what was the most important public religious ceremony in years for the vast community of followers of Tibetan Buddhism in India and around the world.
The first public audience granted by the Gyalwang Karmapa drew over 8,000 newly arrived Tibetans. The Gyalwang Karmapa delivered a rousing hour-long address to the crowd, urging Tibetans within Tibet to unite and to seek out skillful means to preserve Tibetan culture. On the following day, His Holiness the Karmapa received a group of over 10,000 devotees from across the Himalayas, and on subsequent days, received Tibetans living in India, and Indians from across the nation as well as international disciples.
Among the many disciples from overseas on hand to attend the Kalachakra initiation was Richard Gere, who had a private audience with the Gyalwang Karmapa on November 9.
Also attending the Kalachakra puja was Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki also attended a special event to felicitate His Holiness the Dalai Lama on January 10, in which the Gyalwang Karmapa also participated.
During his stay in Bodhgaya, His Holiness the Karmapa further participated in a non-sectarian (rime) prayer gathering, along with His Holiness Sakya Trizin, had of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, and the Ganden Tripa, formal head of the Gelugpa school, and presided over by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The event in Bodhgaya marked the 32nd occasion since 1954 that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has conferred this important initiation. Prior to this, the most recent Kalachakra given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama took place in Washington, DC, USA. The Gyalwang Karmapa also traveled to the US to attend that event last July.