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“What I Give Away is Mine”: the Gyalwang Karmapa’s Advice as the 34th Kagyu Monlam Ends


19 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

The last afternoon of the 34th Kagyu Mönlam started slightly earlier than usual with a Medicine Buddha tsok practice according to the Concise Ritual of Offering to the Seven Tathagatas, compiled by the 6th Sharmapa. Tsok, in the form of small bags of fruit, was distributed to each and every participant, sangha and lay followers alike, and money offerings traditionally known in Tibet as ‘kunki’ were also given to the sangha.

At the end of the afternoon break, His Holiness Karmapa came onto the stage and the session on the Appreciation of the Sponsors opened with the procession for the mandala offering, led by the sponsors who then sat on the stage for the blessings that would follow. Appreciation of the Sponsors is an opportunity to share and dedicate virtue, and His Holiness spoke Read the rest of this article

Celebrating the Life of the Eighth Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche: A Ritual of Offerings to the Gurus


19 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
The extensive Ritual of Offerings to the Gurus, always performed on the last day of the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, was composed in 2005 by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. It is a compilation drawn from many famous Buddhist texts. The puja often serves as a memorial to a particular Lama who has passed away, and this year a large portrait photograph of the Eighth Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche was placed centrally below the shrine.

The stage had been rearranged following the Sixteen Arhat and Alms Procession the previous day. Four of the victory banners from that procession remained on the top tier of the stage, and the others were arrayed in the wings. Below them, three tiers of heavily laden offering tables stood to left and right of the pagoda shrine containing the infant Buddha. The bottom tier was replete with Read the rest of this article

Reviving the Tradition of the Cotton-Clad Yogis


19 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
The source for all practices and traditions that are followed at the Kagyu Monlam is the Seventh Karmapa, Chödrak Gyatso (1454-1506). In a letter to Minyak Gang Monastery in Kham, Chödrak Gyatso described how to combine the practices of the Six Yogas with the Monlam they were practicing. The letter detailed what to do, which texts to chant, and the practice of wearing the white cloth (ras bud byed pa). Usually the term cotton-clad (ras pa) refers to the followers of Milarepa (Mi la ras pa) who were mountain yogis and yoginis clad in white cloth. The other Kagyu tradition of Gampopa is for ordained monks who wear burgundy robes.

Evoking the tradition of Milarepa, a particular practice of wearing white cloth occurs at the end of a three-year retreat, and also in some monasteries on special days, such as Read the rest of this article

Awards Ceremony for the 20th Kagyu Gunchoe and the Examination of Monastic Forms


19 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

A lively demonstration by monks from the 20th Kagyu Gunchoe of their debating skills on the topic Turning the Wheel of Dharma preceded the awards for the Gunchoe debate competition. This was followed by a long dedication monologue delivered by Lhagpa Yeshe, a monk from Benchen Shedra. This composition containing sections in both verse and prose is the traditional way to finish a debate and is known as the Noble Words [Tib.Tsig Zang].

Then came the awards themselves. The winners received a trophy, a certificate and a cheque to be spent by their shedra.

First prize for Collected Topics (Dudra) was awarded to Lava Shedra. They received a trophy depicting a pecha atop a lotus and stem, and a cheque for 100,000 Indian Read the rest of this article

Memorial Service for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late King of Thailand


18 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

“This is probably a very rare opportunity for us from the Tibetan tradition to invite so many Bikkhus and I think that it is historically significant”

With those words the Gyalwang Karmapa marked the day of the memorial service for His Majesty the late King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Prior to this unique event, meant to embody the unity of the sanghas, His Holiness had, as a true protector of beings would, with great diligence and kindness, personally tended to every detail. In efforts to accommodate the proper customs of Thailand, he collaborated with the Thai sangha and created the elegant setting: on the stage, at the far end of the corridor between the monks’ benches and below the pyramidal tiers of the stage, gold and silver ritual implements Read the rest of this article