Gyalwang Karmapa’s Stay at Vajra Vidya Institute Sarnath, 2010
Report of Events from January 21 – February 18, 2010
Gyalwang Karmapa Receives Teachings from Yongzin Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
Fulfilling the primary purpose of his visit to Vajra Vidya Institute in Sarnath, Gyalwang Karmapa has been meeting daily with his senior tutor, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, to receive the oral transmission and commentary on Maitreya Buddha’s Five Sets of Dharma.
Hevajra Puja Cycle, January – February 2010
In 2002 to ensure that a high level of knowledge and experience of the major tantras was maintained in the Karma Kamtsang lineage, His Holiness gave various monasteries particular responsibility for the practice and study of specific tantras, and guardianship of the Hevajra tantra was entrusted to Vajra Vidya. From 13th January – 6th February, the monks of Vajra Vidya performed an extensive cycle of Hevajra practice. On February 6th, His Holiness himself attended the concluding sessions of the puja cycle.
Four Days of Teachings for International Students, 6th – 9th February, 2010
Responding to an unanticipated request from his foreign disciples present in Sarnath, His Holiness gave four evenings of impromptu teachings on Aspiration Prayer for Mahamudra (Chagchen Monlam), a text by his predecessor the Third Karmapa, Je Rangjung Dorje. The teachings were attended by a small group of just over 100 international students from 31 different countries, and will be made available online at www.kagyu.org.
Teachings to the Kagyu Association of the Central University for Tibetan Studies – 7th February, 2010
On February 7th, Gyalwang Karmapa taught on and gave the oral transmission of Community Dharma (tsog chö), a rarely-taught text by Dusum Khyenpa, the first Karmapa. The day of teachings included a morning and afternoon session. The event was opened with a welcome speech by Gen Wangchug Dorje Negi, and closed with an expression of gratitude by Khenpo Sogyal, both professors at the Central University for Tibetan Studies.
Gyalwang Karmapa addresses the staff and students at the Central University for Tibetan Studies – 11th February, 2010
His Holiness was invited to address the faculty, staff and students of the Central University for Tibetan Studies on February 11th. In his speech, the Gyalwang Karmapa emphasized the great opportunity that the university presents for followers of different Buddhist lineages to learn about and from one another, and also exhorted students to develop expertise in specific areas of study, such as social sciences. The vice chancellor of the university, Geshe Ngawang Samten, opened the function with a welcome speech. The event concluded with a warm praise of His Holiness by the university’s most senior professor, the highly respected Geshe Yeshe Thabkey.
Mahakala Puja, 8th – 12th February, 2010
From February 8th through 12th, Vajra Vidya Institute held the traditional five-day Mahakala ritual to end the old year of the Tibetan lunar calendar. His Holiness attended the entire last day of the ritual, from 4:30 am until 6:30 pm.
Gyalwang Karmapa visits the Dhamekh Stupa and Mulagandhakuti vihara, Sarnath – 13th February, 2010
Overnight rain meant that the morning was misty and cool when Gyalwang Karmapa, accompanied by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Drupon Rinpoche, set out for the Dhamekh Stupa at 8:00am. The present day stupa dates to circa 500 C.E., and was built to replace the original one erected by the Emperor Ashoka in 249 B.C.E., to mark the spot of Lord Buddha’s first sermon after his enlightenment, in the deer park at Sarnath. Gyalwang Karmapa circumambulated the stupa three times before making his way across the lawns to the nearby Mulagandhakuti vihara.
The vihara houses two sets of precious relics of Lord Buddha, fragments of calcinated bone from the cremation of his body. His Holiness first led prayers, then invited the chief monk to recite a Pali prayer. Finally, in a very rare event, the monks brought out the silver casket containing the precious relics, opened it, and then, at the request of His Holiness, allowed all present to view the relics and receive their blessing.
Concluding Sang Ritual – 13th February, 2010
On February 13th, the final day of the old year in the Tibetan calendar, Gyalwang Karmapa led a Sang Ritual of incense offering and concluding prayers and dedications.
The Year of the Iron Tiger begins – 14th February, 2010
Tibetan New Year fell on February 14th this year. At 7:00 am, in keeping with tradition, His Holiness attended a Sixteen Arhats puja and long-life prayers in the main shrine room at Vajra Vidya, to welcome in the new year. Before the puja began, the gathering of monks, nuns and lay followers presented khatas to the Buddha image, to Gyalwang Karmapa, to Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and other rinpoches. The customary special sweet rice and Tibetan butter tea were served during the ceremony and each guest received a bag of Losar kabsey.
Afterwards, His Holiness attended a small function on the lawn outside the main temple; students of Namo Buddha Branch School skilfully performed traditional Cham dances. There was a short speech in which Vajra Vidya Khenpo Lobsang thanked the Gyalwang Karmapa for coming to Vajra Vidya, and wished long-life for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for the Gyalwang Karmapa. He expressed the hope that all Tibetans, both those in Tibet and those in exile, would be able to meet again once more.
Address to Sanskrit Scholars of the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University of Varanasi – 14th February, 2010
On the afternoon of February 14th, Gyalwang Karmapa was invited to the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University of Varanasi to address a gathering of Sanskrit scholars and students. His Holiness was graciously received with extensive words of welcome and praise by the vice chancellor and senior scholars of the university, and was presented with a Sanskrit poem composed in his honour. Additionally, a room at the university has been named after him. In his remarks to the assembly, His Holiness stressed the particular debt that Tibetans owe to India in general and especially to the Sanskrit language for the Buddha dharma that was “like the sun rising” to dispel the night’s darkness when it arrived in Tibet from India.
After the speeches, Gyalwang Karmapa planted a bodhi tree in the university grounds.