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Dedicating the Roots of Virtue: Closing Ceremony for 33rd Kagyu Monlam

22 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavilion
With over 10,000 participants chanting dedications and waving white khatas, the 33rd Kagyu Monlam came to a close today.

During his special address in the final session of the day, the Karmapa began by sharing the statistics of this year’s Monlam. Attendees included 4,600 members of the sangha and 6,100 lay people, representing 55 different countries. Of these, 1,600 served as volunteers. The Karmapa pointed out there were monastics from all four major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, including 320 Nyingma, 33 Sakya, 26 Gelugpa, and 4 Rime (non-sectarian) practitioners.

“We call this the Kagyu Monlam, but during the Monlam we primarily recite the teachings of the Buddha and Indian masters, and the Tibetan masters from all traditions,” the Karmapa said. “This helps us create pure vision of all the Read the rest of this article

The Akshobhya Fire Purification Ritual

21 February, 2016 -Tergar Monastery
On the evening of day six of the Monlam, the entrance to Tergar Monastery was transformed by a spectacular ritual of prayer and fire performed by the Gyalwang Karmapa and the Akshobhya retreat participants. The ritual was the concluding activity of an intensive two-month Akshobhya retreat, which began on December 24, 2015. A significant part of the ritual included the burning of names of the deceased and the living, as a means of prayer and purification. Over the past week, thousands of people made offerings and wrote names down on behalf of their friends and relatives.

In anticipation of the ritual, prayers to Akshobhya Buddha took place both at Tergar and in the Pavilion during the afternoon. In the Akshobhya Shrine Room, located on the top floor of Tergar, the retreatants gathered for a final time Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Meets with Kagyu Monlam Members

21 February, 2016 -Tergar Monastery Shrine Room
The Gyalwang Karmapa met with the members of the Kagyu Monlam today, shared his appreciation for their support, and offered a short teaching and gift.

The members began gathering on Tergar lawn shortly after lunch. Close to 1,400 people became members of the Monlam this year, so the lawn was filled with people eager for their audience with the Karmapa. Once inside the shrine room, everyone sat close together, waiting quietly for the Karmapa to arrive, meditating or reciting mantras. Some closed their eyes—a moment of quiet and rest after many days of prayers and activity.

At 3pm the Karmapa arrived. After taking his seat, he gave a short address to the members, which was translated into both English and Chinese. First, he expressed his view that the Monlam and all the events this Read the rest of this article

The Kangyur Procession: Liberation Through Seeing

20 February, 2016, -The Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya
One of the most delightful events in the Monlam is the Kangyur procession around the Bodhi Tree during the freshness of early morning in the palest shade of tinted light. For the first time this year the Karmapa invited all the nuns to attend the procession and they could be seen walking through the fields from the Pavilion to the Bodhi Tree just after dawn – a momentary capture of a new Buddhism emerging from its ancient roots. While the monks were assigned the reading of the Kangyur in the Monlam Pavilion, the Gelongs and Gelongmas gathered at the Mahabodhi Temple where 110 volumes of the new Jiang Kangyur were stacked in a corner near the Bodhi Tree:109 volumes of text and an extra volume containing a scroll preface written by the King of Jiang.

The new edition of the Jiang Kangyur, Read the rest of this article

Offerings to the Sangha: the Alms Procession and the 16 Arhats

21 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya
The tradition of almsgiving dates back to the beginnings of Buddhism, 2500 years ago. At that time monks and nuns were not allowed to keep or prepare food and were therefore completely dependent on whatever they were offered to eat by the local community. Each morning they would go from door to door and collect food. By offering food to the Sangha, laypeople not only showed their respect to the spiritual values that the Sangha symbolized, but were able to accumulate merit both by the action of generosity towards the Sangha and also by sharing in the merit which the monks and nuns generated through their spiritual practice.

In some Buddhist countries, the custom of the alms round has survived to this day, but in Tibet, because monasteries were supported by the local communities, it was no longer Read the rest of this article