22nd March 2013 –Tashi Jong, Dharamsala.
On the 10th day of the second month, the Gyalwang Karmapa was Guest of Honor at Khampagar Monastery’s 300th anniversary of the sacred Padmasambhava Garcham (Guru Rinpoche Lama-Dance).
Arriving early in the morning at Tashi Jong, the Gyalwang Karmapa’s motorcade passed through crowds of well-wishers lining both sides of the road before he was greeted by His Eminence the Khamtrul Rinpoche, Abbott of Khampagar Monastery, Dorzong Rinpoche and Dugu Choegyal Rinpoche. The Gyalwang Karmapa was then led into the main shrineroom and seated on an ornate throne where he received mandala offerings from His Eminence Khamtrul Rinpoche.
Moving outside into the main courtyard for the Cham, the Gyalwang Karmapa sat under a gold and red canopy to watch the sacred dances, with sangha and over a thousand lay devotees filling the courtyard on all sides. As the Gyalwang Karmapa watched, His Eminence Khamtrul Rinpoche entered the mandala of the dance ground and personally led the dancers through a series of sacred Cham.
The Gyalwang Karmapa then gave a short talk for those gathered, emphasizing the powerful blessings embodied in the sacred dances. “The Cham is not for entertainment,” the Gyalwang Karmapa said, “but rather a form of sacred tantric practice. We have to visualize the person who wears the mask, who wears the appearance of the deity, has transformed himself into the deity,” he explained. “So even if we don’t have the merit to see Guru Rinpoche directly, if we watch the Cham with pure devotion we can see the deity through the dancers, and receive the deity’s blessings through them.”
As the Tibetans inside Tibet are showing strong ‘courage’ and ‘determination’, the Karmapa called upon the exile Tibetans to offer their prayers and work towards the unification of Tibetans. ‘This is our unavoidable responsibility,’ he said.
The Gyalwang Karmapa continued to watch as the dances resumed after lunch, at times rising from his seat with respect as eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche were displayed. “Guru Rinpoche is the one who spread the dharma in Tibet like the sun,” he said, “and so we should always remember his great kindness.”
This particular Garcham, composed by the 3rd Khamtrul Rinpoche, celebrates the birth of Guru Rinpoche and was performed for 300th consecutive year. Many other eminent Drukpa Kagyu masters also attended the festivities, including His Eminence the Dorzong Rinpoche, His Eminence the Dugu Choegyal Rinpoche, and Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. In addition, special invited guests included Jagat Singh Negi, Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly, and Ravi Thakur and Kishori Lal, both Members of the State Legislative Assembly.