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The Lama Chöpa: Kagyu Monlam Celebrates the Gurus

2015.01.04i
4 January, 2015 Monlam Pavilion

Unseen by most of those who attend the Monlam, the Karmapa had worked into the early hours of the morning supervising preparations for the final day of Monlam prayers. Satisfied, that everything met his high standards, he had finally left the Monlam Pavilion at 2.00am.

When people arrived for Mahayana Sojong at 5.45am, the stage had been transformed yet again, into a multicultural, visually stunning celebration of the Buddhist Dharma, the Kagyu tradition and the Monlam itself.

The sixteen Chinese-style auspicious banners of the Arhats which had headed the Alms Procession the day before now lined the wings either side of the main stage, and the lowest tiers were brightened by bouquets of fresh flowers, huge chrysanthemum blooms in deep purples, whites and yellows. On the second tier, three low thrones had been placed, for the Gyalwang Karmapa and his two heart sons, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche. The rows of gelongs sitting on the steps had been reduced from three to two, and Read the rest of this article

Free Medical Care during the 32nd Kagyu Monlam

2015.01.04
28 December 2014 – 5 January, 2015

This year the Sujata Vihar, a spacious white building with soft orange stripes highlighting its architectural features, is the site of the medical camp in Bodhgaya, which is sponsored by the Karmapa’s Kagyupa International Monlam Trust. The camp was structured in three phases: two days of visits by doctors and nurses to local villages; a camp at the Sujata Vihar; and three days of care, co-sponsored by the Max Foundation,given by specialist doctors from the prestigious Max Hospital in Delhi. In addition, near the Pavilion at Tergar, four Tibetan doctors served the needs of those attending the Monlam.

The main administrative work for the camp was handled by Kunzang Chungyalpa of the Tsurphu Labrang’s Delhi Office and Lama Chodrak, head of the Kagyu Monlam Committee along with Changchup associated with Gangkar Rinpoche in Bir and his assistant, Lhakpa Tsering also from Tsurphu Labrang’s Delhi office. The actual work for the camp began long before it started when a local NGO, Jam Jagran Read the rest of this article

The Soup Kitchen at the 32nd Kagyu Monlam

2014.12.30 Soup Kitchen
28 December, 2014 – 5 January, 2015 – All India Bhikku Centre

When arriving in Bodhgaya for the Kagyu Monlam, it is impossible not to be moved by the difficult life circumstances of the local people. This is particularly so for those of us who come from countries where health and well-being are more or less taken for granted. Even though we may wish to do something to alleviate the suffering we see all around us, it is difficult to know where to start and what might be the most effective way to help.

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa has expressed his wish that we should not simply be content to feel compassion when we are making prayers but we should begin to find ways to actually put compassion into action. Following this guidance, projects that embrace this vision are now becoming an intrinsic part of the activity of the Kagyu Monlam.

For the last 10 years, students of the late Akong Tulku Rinpoche have been giving food to local people during the Kagyu Monlam. This started Read the rest of this article

Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche’s Teachings on The Four Freedoms from Attachment

2015.01.01ii
Day 1: If You Are Attached to this Life, You Are Not a Dharma Practitioner
29 December, 2014 Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

In 2012 when the Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche was only seventeen, he taught for the first time at the Kagyu Monlam in public. His teaching was from the foremost devotional prayer in the Kagyu lineage, Calling the Lama from Afar, by the First Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, which was recited every night in Rumtek after the tragic passing of the third Jamgon Kongtrul. This first teaching seemed a response to the heartfelt cries of devotees from around the world.

Now, at the age of nineteen, Jamgon Kongtrul is giving another major teaching at the Monlam, to an audience of over 12,000 people, on an essential Sakya text called Parting from the Four Attachments. He looks composed as he sits on the elaborately carved teaching throne and gazes into space, motionless, at the seemingly endless queue of devotees presenting offerings during the traditional mandala ritual.

The line-up is headed by Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Gives Two Short Teachings: The Sutra in Three Sections and King of Aspirations: The Noble Aspiration for Excellent Conduct

2014.01.29ii
29 December 2014 Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya,

The Sutra in Three Sections

During the first session His Holiness gave a short teaching on this prayer, before it was recited as part of the thirteenth section–Confession of Wrongdoing–of the Twenty Branch Monlam.  This prayer is used particularly for confession and purification following transgressions against vows, especially downfalls of the bodhisattva vow.  There is a story which tells how a group of monks, thirty-five in all, killed a child by accident one day, when they were on their alms round. In their horror at taking a life, they went to one of the Buddha’s close disciples, Upali, and asked him to ask the Buddha for a method to confess and purify the deed. The Buddha responded by speaking this sutra. As he did so, light radiated from his body and thirty four other buddhas appeared around him. The monks prostrated, took refuge, made offerings, confessed their misdeed and their vows were restored.

The Gyalwang Karmapa began by recounting Read the rest of this article