His Holiness In Bodhgaya (January 2006)
The 23rd Annual Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha, which began January 7 in Bodhgaya, successfully concluded on January 14th with a moving nighttime butter lamp ceremony and special aspiration prayers. The prayers and songs included a new composition by His Holiness in Tibetan and translated into English entitled “An Aspiration for the World.” The composition was musically arranged for singing by the international audience in attendance at the Monlam, and concludes with the aspiration that in every section of the world will thrive “a fertile field of peace and joy, rich with the leaves and fruits of happiness, filled with many scents of freedom.” under the descendent of the very Bodhi Tree where Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment.
On January 7th, His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa opened the annual ceremony, called in Tibetan the Pal Nyammay Kagyupay Sangha Monlam Chenmoand gave the monks and nuns (gelongs and gelongmas) their monastic vows for the Monlam, called “Theck-chen Sojong.” Thousands of ordained sangha joined with many high teachers and international attendees in the daily practice. In addition to Their Eminences Jamgon Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche, and the Very Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche, other teachers included Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Anze Rinpoche, Phayu Rinpoche, Nyima Rinpoche, Phora Tulku, Drikung Gyaltsen Tulku, Sonam Rinpoche, Thubten Gyamtso Rinpoche, Reta Tulku, Garchen Tulku, Suru Rinpoche, Drupon Rinpoche, Sherig Tulku Rinpoche, Tulku Ngedun Rinpoche, Tulku Zopa Gyurmey , Gangkar Rinpoche, Tulku Ngotsar Wangpo and many other Lamas and Khenpos.
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The daily schedule:
- 7:00am 9:00am morning session
- 9:30am to 11:00am second session
- 1:00pm to 3:00pm afternoon session: teaching by His Holiness on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation (continuing from last year).
- 3:30pm to 5:00pm final session
- 7:00pm till 8:00pm (at Shechen Monastery) teaching by His Holiness for international students on Chenrizig Text “Do-don Kha-kyab ma”
On the next to last day of the ceremony, a special ceremony for the words of the Buddha was celebrated by distributing the 108 volumes of the Kangyur to the sangha, who marched in a procession around the sangha, and then recited different passages of the Buddha’s words throughout the morning. In the afternoon, His Holiness made Sukhavati prayers for the deceased, and purified their path through the practice of a fire ceremony of Red Chenrezig. On January 14th, the last day of the Monlam, Bodhisattva vows were given by HE Gyaltsab Rinpoche, and the assembly recited offering prayers and engaged in a ritual meal. His Holiness gave the Chenrezig Empowerment to the assembly in the afternoon, and concluded the Monlam with the nighttime procession of the full assembly around the butterlamp-illuminated courtyard of the Mahabodhi Stupa, as the international community sang the song described above.
On January 17th, HIs Holiness departed Bodhgaya after paying is respects by visiting the main temple,where offered a ceremonial robe to the main statue of Buddha Sakyamuni and engaged in short prayers in the the main shrine. After circling the Bodhi Tree where the Buddha defeated the Maras and attained enlightenment, he left for Vajra Vidhya in Varanasi.
His Holiness had arrived in Bodhgaya two days before the commencement of the ceremony, on the morning of January 5th, His Holiness left Vajra Vidhya Institute, Varanasi, accompanied by HE Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Bo Khangkar Rinpoche and others. The party traveled by road in a convoy of some ten vehicles. Upon his arrival in Bodhgaya, His Holiness Karmapa was ceremonially welcomed by the monks and lay devotees at Shechen Monastery, his residence during his stay in Bodhgaya.
In the afternoon of January 6th, His Holiness visited the famed Mahabodhi Temple and Stupa. After making prayers and offering of flowers and fruits inside the temple of the stupa, he then inspected the site behind the stupa where the Monlam is being held. This year the offering torma and butter decorations have been newly created. Monlam ceremonies start on the 7th.
His Holiness’s presence at the Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha in Bodhgaya, the place where Lord Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment, is part of his 2005 – 2006 Winter tour (click here for schedule). – Karma Woser Rapten et al.