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The Inaugural Ceremony of the Ladakh Buddhist Vihara in Bodhgaya.

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January 26, 2015
The road into the Vihar has been lined in soft orange and cream satins embellished with gold sequins, and just after the gate into the Vihar, a large Dharma wheel has been chalked on the red carpeting. Nearby are a group of five male dancers with tall brocade hats and their maroon and white striped stoles. Just behind them wait five Ladakhi ladies, wearing their distinctive clothing and headdress—a wide turquoise studded wave that dips down over their forehead to end in a single beautiful stone. They carry long-spouted brass pitchers of liquor, the traditional offering of welcome in the Himalayan region. In the courtyard, about four hundred ordained and lay people wait before an open area reserved for the dance performances. Just beyond it, an elevated pavilion has been set up with a throne for the Gyalwang Karmapa, net to which is a shrine with an impressive three-foot Buddha statue lined below with the traditional seven offering bowls and a butter lamp.

Minutes before two o’clock, the distant sound of a Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Consecrates Land for a New Kitchen

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January 26, 2015
Inside the now empty and rambling frame of the Monlam kitchen with the bound lengths of bamboo still supporting deep blue tarpaulins, a small shrine has been set up. On the brocade covered table are two rows of the traditional offering bowls, and in front, a large offering cup on its stand sits next to a plate with a white torma. Not far away, a small rectangular area of earth has been opened in the brick floor.

Around eleven in the morning, the Gyalwang Karmapa comes walking through the nearby field with the young Druppön Dechen at his side and accompanied by a small group of monks. He will perform a special ceremony (sometimes called taming the earth) to request the land and gratify the local spirits. The offerings are divided into three main phases. First, the white torma and a golden libation (gser skyems) are offered to the earth goddess to solicit the land from her. The Karmapa kneels in front of his chair with Druppön Dechen to make prayers. A stick of incense is Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Commemorates Republic Day

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26 January, 2015 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya
In what has become an annual event during his winter programme, the Gyalwang Karmapa joined in the flag-raising ceremony to celebrate Indian Republic Day.

More than a hundred young monks with their teachers lined up in straight lines on the patio outside the Tergar Monastery shrine hall, and stood smartly to attention, below the flagstaff. Members of the regular police force in their knife-crease, pressed khaki uniforms and the paramilitary protection squad in blue-and-grey camouflage stood to attention beside them. As one, they presented arms with their automatic rifles or saluted, while the Indian national flag was raised. Emblazoned with the Buddhist Emperor Ashoka’s 24-spoke chakra wheel in navy blue, the tricoloured flag —with saffron, green and white panels— has become the symbol of modern, democratic India.

Also present at the ceremony were members of His Holiness’ Tsurphu Labrang staff and Tibetan security personnel, most of whom are either serving soldiers on Read the rest of this article

Successful Conclusion of the Second Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering

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24 January 2014 Tergar Monastery

After two-and-a-half weeks of daily teachings from the Gyalwang Karmapa, intensive debate training for the participating nuns, and a variety of other dharma activities, the Second Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering successfully concluded.

“We’ve had a long string of dharma activities here in Bodhgaya,” the Gyalwang Karmapa said during the closing ceremony, “starting with the Kagyu monks’ Guncho, the Kagyu Monlam, and now the nuns’ Winter Dharma Gathering. They have all gone very well, and this is because everyone here worked together as one. We can all take joy in this.”

Beginning in the morning, on the final day the Gyalwang Karmapa first led a Tara puja which then continued on through the afternoon. Tara is renowned as having taken a vow to become fully enlightened in a female form. She is particularly supplicated for protection and removal of obstacles, thus making the Tara puja especially appropriate for concluding the nuns’ Winter Dharma Gathering.

The evening’s Read the rest of this article

The Nuns Prove Themselves in Debate

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January 24, 2015
 Tergar Monastery
For the final event of the Second Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, the Tergar shrine hall has been set up with tables for the defenders, set across the center aisle in front of the Karmapa’s throne, and with a microphone for the challengers who will stand two thirds of the way back towards the shrine door. This is to keep the challengers, who can get quite enthusiastic as a group, at a certain distance from the defenders.

The young Druppön Dechen Rinpoche sits at the head of the first row of teachers and khenpos. In a previous lifetime, when he was the guide for the Karmapa’s seat at Tsurphu in Tibet, Druppön Dechen Rinpoche was very kind to a group of nuns who had no home. He generously gave them teachings and also a place to stay at Tsurphu; several of them came to live in the famous caves of the previous Karmapas, located on the middle circumambulation path. His tulku seems to be continuing his support of nuns in this next life, too.

This evening is the culmination of the Read the rest of this article