December 7, 2009 – Bodhgaya
This is always the first major public engagement of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s winter pilgrimage to Bodhgaya. Accompanied by his entourage, His Holiness was received by the Secretary of the Mahabodhi Temple Committee, Mr Tenzin Namzey, and the Monk-in-Charge the Venerable Bande Chalinda.
Having completed an outer circuit of the temple grounds, His Holiness went directly down the main steps to the central shrine room within the Mahabodhi Stupa to pay homage. Having prostrated three times, he made offerings to the golden image of the Lord Buddha, housed within the inner shrine , and chanted prayers. As is the custom, the offerings included a new set of golden silk robes for the Buddha image. His Holiness then circumambulated the innermost circuit.
His Holiness moved on to visit the 5th International Pali Tripitaka Chanting Council Ceremony, which is taking place under the Bodhi Tree. Theravada Buddhists from nine countries – Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam– are represented. Each country has an area allocated at a point along the middle circuit which runs outside the stone palisade separating the Mahabodhi Temple from the temple grounds. Most have erected tented pavilions laid out and decorated to reflect the Buddhist traditions of their respective cultures. There is also an International pavilion housing monks and nuns from the Tibetan traditions. Monks representing India and Bangladesh sat to either side in front of the Bodhi tree itself.
Wangmo, one of the chief sponsors, daughter of the Dhartang Rinpoche of Nyigma lineage, welcomed His Holiness and escorted him on his tour of the pavilions. His Holiness offered a katag and gave ‘seed money’ (a financial offering from a High Lama which carries great blessings for the success of an enterprise) at each of the pavilions and then was presented with an edition of the Pali Tripitaka published according to that country’s traditions.