Kagyu Monlam: Kangyur Procession
January 10, 2009
Kangyur (the Tibetan name for the Buddhist sutras) procession is one of important ceremony of Monlam.
At the head of the procession came the incense bearer and four monks playing gyalin. They were followed by Khenpo Hye-Neung, of Karma Jang Chub Dzong, Korea, Ven. Mingyur Rinpoche, Ven. Kalu Rinpoche, Ven. Dhoenyo Rinpoche, H.E. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche and H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. Then came the ninety-nine gelong and four gelongma, each bearing a volume of the Kangyur, balanced respectfully on their left shoulders, steadied and supported by both hands. They walked at a steady, dignified pace along the pre-planned route, which took them along the side of the Mahabodhi Stupa, before climbing the stairs to the outer circuit. They completed one circuit and then returned to the Mahabodhi Stupa. Everything went very smoothly, perhaps because the Gyalwang Karmapa himself had directed and supervised the rehearsals for the event.
The route around the outer circuit of the temple was lined with sangha and laypeople showing respect by offering lotuses and other flowers.
Reading the Kangyur
After the procession had completed its circuit, the texts were distributed between the different monasteries and nunneries for the second part of the ritual, when they are read or rather recited aloud. This year one of the most difficult sections to read – difficult because it contains many complicated Sanskrit mantras transliterated into Tibetan- was allocated to the nuns. This shows a growing confidence in their academic achievement, now that many nuns have access to a study program similar to the ones that monks have enjoyed for centuries.