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The 32nd International Kagyu Monlam Begins in Bodhgaya

2014.12.29
29 December, 2014-12-30 Monlam Pavilion

Clusters of people were already making their way through the security check, when His Holiness arrived at the Monlam Pavilion for the first session of the 32nd Monlam at just turned 5.00am.

A new concrete road, laid specially for the International Buddhist Conclave, held at the Monlam Pavilion in late September, stretches from the Sujata Bypass past Tergar Monastery to the Monlam Pavilion. All those who walk along it pass under the very plain Monlam entrance gate—a simple structure of cloth, painted plywood and bamboo. The same as last year, it bears prayer flags of the dhayani mantra of Akshobhya Buddha, which has the power to purify all those who pass beneath. The right-hand pillar is decorated with the colours associated with Buddhism and used in Buddhist flags. The six colours represent the six colours of the aura which Buddhists believe emanated from the body of the Buddha when he attained enlightenment. Blue represents universal compassion; yellow for the Middle Way; red stands for Read the rest of this article

Teachings on The Torch of True Meaning

2014.12.28
Vows in a New Light
Day 1 Session 1

26 December, 2014 Monlam Pavilion
In his Foreword to the new translation of The Torch of True Meaning, the Karmapa writes:

Many people, when they hear of the highest stages of Dharma study and practice, such as “emptiness” or “mahamudra” want to study and practice them immediately. However, without a stable foundation, which is the essential prerequisite to such advanced practices, even if they were to study or practice them, they would not be able to experience their profundity.

This is the reason why The Torch of True Meaning is such an important text. Composed by the first Jamgön Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, it gives comprehensive instructions on how to practice the ngöndro, the essential preparation for all practitioners before beginning mahamudra.  Anyone who wishes to practice the ngöndro of the Kagyu lineage, and in particular the Karma Kagyu lineage, should first read this Read the rest of this article

From Heart Son to Master – Gyaltsab Rinpoche Offers the Vajrasattva Empowerment

2014.12.25
25 December, 2014  Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya,

After five glorious days of transmissions the participants are treated to one final empowerment, specially requested by the Gyalwang Karmapa. In the afternoon session on the final day, Kyabje Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche offers the Vajrasattva empowerment, bringing the “Knowing One Frees All” empowerments to an auspicious completion.

“This Vajrasattva empowerment will be particularly beneficial for those doing their ngongdro preliminary practices,” the Gyalwang Karmapa had told the participants earlier in the day.

An hour before the empowerment begins Gyaltsab Rinpoche is already on stage, performing the preliminary rituals behind the ornately painted, four-panelled screen. By 2pm the Monlam Pavilion is once more packed to capacity, with more than 10,000people coming together from all over the world, their faces radiant after days of empowerments. The rows of cushions laid out from the front to the rear of the pavilion are full; an extra crowd gathers in the back, where there is now Read the rest of this article

A Rain of Blessings: the Anniversary of Dusum Khyenpa’s Parinirvana

2014.12.24
December 24, 2014 Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
In the chill of the late afternoon, the Pavilion is surrounded by the warm light of candles, tracing the edges of the roof above, and below, the curving lines of the walls around the offering hearths. Across the fields, the walls of the main shrine and the Karmapa’s quarters are aglow, draped in the flowing lines of bright lights, remindful, too, of the Christmas Eve that is being celebrated in other parts of the world.

Inside the Pavilion, the magnificent throne is now occupied by a life-like statue of Dusum Khyenpa, his eyebrows slightly raised as his eyes gaze downward in meditative concentration. The Gyalwang Karmapa’s carved throne of a warm brown wood has been placed on the right side of the stage in between lower thrones for his heart sons Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche.

A Rain of Blessings,the Dusum Khyenpa celebratory puja to be chanted this evening, was written by the present Karmapa for the 900th anniversary of Dusum Khyenpa in 2010. The text is now Read the rest of this article

“Chig shes Kundrol” Initiations

2014.12.21i
The Many Forms of Tara

Day Two: The Initiations of ‘Knowing One Frees All’

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

21 December, 2014

At 5.30am His Holiness’ car left Tergar Monastery, its headlights cutting through the early morning fog, as he made his way to the Monlam Pavilion to begin the preparations for this morning’ s three empowerments. Two hours later, there was still a distinct chill in the air as monastics and laypeople, wrapped up warm in jackets, scarves and woollen hats, waited patiently to pass through  security control into  the pavilion.

On the stage inside the pavilion, the ritual master put the finishing touches to the golden mandala shrine, checking that all the sacred objects necessary for the morning’s three empowerments—White Tara with Retinue, Tara of the Acacia Forest, and Single Tara Who Shakes the Three Worlds—  were ready. Inside the shrine, as if suspended, an opaque crystal Tara rested on a wooden dais, an ornate white torma standing Read the rest of this article