His Holiness Presides Over Great Kagyu Monlam (December 27-January 3)
The 24th annual Kagyu Monlam commenced on the 27th of December. Over 4,500 ordained monks and nuns had registered by the commencement, as well as 2,000 foreign pilgrims and at least another 2,000 Himalayan pilgrims. The Monlam began at 5:30 A.M. with an amazing procession of 500 monks (Gelongs), each carrying crystal lotus mandalas and meditating as they walked slowly around the outer courtyard of the Maha Bodhi temple and took their seats. Additional photos are available from http://www.kagyumonlam.org/docs/home.htm
His Holiness presiding at the Great Kagyu Monlam Aspiration on December 28, 2007 in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India
His Holiness Karmapa arrived and invited all who wished to renew their Sojung vows to do so. Once this was completed, His Holiness began teachings on the life of Milarepa The teachings were bestowed with profound clarity and devotion. Next all enjoyed hearing His Holiness and the thousands of devoted sangha singing Milarepa’s “Song of Aspiration”. Dedication prayers followed and the program at the Great Stupa, as the first day of the program concluded.
The next venue was held at the beautiful newly founded Tergar Monastery. After dinner period His Holiness gave teachings on how to meditate. Many eyes and minds were opened.
Following the ceremony, reports began circulating about a climatic phenomenon that many had witnessed after the Gelong procession as attendees were being seated. Lama Chodrak called the phenomenon a “Rain of Nectar”: “In an area about 75 feet in diameter and about 100 feet in front of Karmapa’s throne, shortly after the sunrise, people began to feel wetness. It was not the wetness of a typical ‘falling’ rain. This ‘rain’ just appeared at about ten feet from the ground and then fell to the ground. The drops were of unusual shape and of a very low intensity. Adding even more wonder, the sky was blue. Yes, a rain of nectar fell from a cloudless blue sky, and a blue sky is somewhat rare in Bodh Gaya! The temperature stayed comfortably warm well into the night too.’”
On the 29th of December, in the early dawn light at 5:30 am in morning, His Holiness presided over the monlam prayers, held that day at Tergar monastery due to the anniversary celebrations being held at the Mahabodhi Stupa (see above). His Holiness gave directions earlier that day to the ordained monks, so that the seating arrangements would be like the old tradition of Tibet: those who arrive early were seated at the front of the line, in the order of arrival. His Holiness justified the importance of this tradition as showing the willingness of participants to engage in practicing dharma.
After arriving back at the Tergar Monastery, and a quick lunch break, His Holiness attended the Monlam’s next session and gave the Akshobya empowerment. His Holiness also gave a public audience to to international devotees, including all the new arrivals from Tibet who had came to Bodh Gaya for pilgrimage. – Tashi Paljor