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Another Step Forward for the Nuns of the Karma Kamtsang: The Opening Ceremony of the 1st Annual Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering

2014.01.20
January 20, 2014

Tergar Monastery Shrine Room

 

The main shrine hall of Tergar Monastery had been transformed for this the first ever Karma Kamtsang Nuns’ Winter Dharma Gathering. The great tormas from the Kagyu Monlam had been brought over from the pavilion and, along with offerings of fruit, biscuits and sweets, intricately arranged into cylindrical shapes Korean style, they adorned the front of the dais behind the Gyalwang Karmapa’s throne.

The magnificent, brightly-coloured stitched thangkas of the Kagyu forefathers and lineage holders, which had lined the sides of the Monlam Pavilion aisle, now hung on either side of the central section of the shrine room. The 197 nuns, drawn from 6 Karma Kagyu nunneries in Bhutan, India and Nepal, along with a scattering of Chinese and Western nuns who follow the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, sat patiently in rows of raised seats, and a nun umze waited to lead the chanting..

The Gyalwang Karmapa has several times expressed his intention to raise the educational Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Opens the Animal Camp

2014.01.22
January 22, 2014

Monlam Pavilion Grounds

 

Gyalwang Karmapa took a short break this morning from his teachings on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation in order to  inaugurate the first ever Kagyu Monlam Animal Camp, which opened here in Bodhgaya today. Having been greeted by the staff, he toured the facility, watched dogs being prepared for surgery, and had a glimpse of the operating theatre, before returning to resume his teachings to the nuns attending the 1st Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering for Nuns.

Spread across the fallow ground between the Monlam Pavilion and Tergar Monastery, the Kagyu Monlam Animal Camp comprises two parts. Outside, near the main gate to the pavilion, stands the outpatients’ reception, where local people can bring domestic animals and pets of all sizes for examination and non-surgical treatment. Inside the grounds, the former Garchen kitchen tent has been transformed into a holding area for stray dogs, an operating theatre, where four vets can work Read the rest of this article

Musical Offerings to the Buddha: The Marme Monlam


January 16, 2014

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

 

Right on time at 7:30, the Gyalwang Karmapa arrived to take his seat in front of the stage and the light show starts, bathing the stage in indigo blue as the spotlights find the golden statue of the Buddha who seems to float in space. On stage left appear two monks, who will be the MCs for the evening, one for Tibetan and one for English. They open with words of praise, reciting:

    Your orb of wisdom fills the space of all that is knowable; your thousand rays of deeds strike the ground, clearly illuminating all the Buddha’s teachings.
    Precious Kagyu gurus we bow to you in respect.

After this invocation, warm greetings are offered to all the guests, beginning with Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche, the tulkus and khenpos, continuing to the ordained and lay sangha, who have come from around the world.

The Buddha said in The King of Samadhi Sutra that we should always make unsurpassed offerings of fine songs and dance, pleasing and delightful music, and glowing rows of lamps, so performances such as musical offerings and dance are a way to bring pleasure Read the rest of this article

Closing the Mandala

2014.01.15 A
The Final Session of the 31st Kagyu Monlam

January 15, 2014

 

A giant golden Buddha has replaced the thangka of Guru Rinpoche on the stage as the setting for the last day of the Monlam. Sixteen exquisite hand painted Chinese silk lanterns, eight on each side, are the ornaments for auspiciousness to close the mandala. Some of the lanterns have auspicious animals – tiger, lion, peacock, vulture, garuda- and others the 8 auspicious symbols and goddesses. Each cylinder is hanging with long gold decorative strands separated by crystal beads, creating a delicate, twinkling display of abundance.

With a sea of sangha surrounding him, the Karmapa honoured the monastics before going on to show his appreciation of the sponsors. As the main sponsor of this Monlam was Gyaltsap Rinpoche, the Karmapa first presented his entourage with representations of the Buddha in the form of statues and texts.

In the course of the evening, the Karmapa continued his support of both branches of his lineage, practice and Read the rest of this article

In Praise of the Gurus

2014.01.15
January 15, 2014 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

Sessions 1, 2, 3

 

Although still cloudy, the land was clear of mist and fog this morning, when the gong sounded clearly across the Garchen at 3.00am, waking the monks and nuns in order to attend the full-moon day sojong for ordained sangha at 4.00am, administered by Khenpo Lodrö Dönyö Rinpoche. Laypeople began arriving at the Monlam Pavilion two hours later to receive the Mahayana Sojong vows bestowed by the Gyalwang Karmapa.

On the top tier of the stage, the great tormas rose magnificently, set against a translucent blue sky peppered with white clouds, projected on to the new screen background, installed three days ago. This screen will be used for visual effects during the Marme Monlam on 16th January, and stretches the width of the stage, concealing the painting of Mt. Kailash.

The Karmapa sat facing the congregation  on a low seat,  flanked by Gyaltsab Rinpoche and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. Behind, a row of Chinese-style festive banners had Read the rest of this article