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Four-Armed Mahakala: Protector of the Marpa Kagyu

5 and 6 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya,
By Friday morning, the beginning of the main practice, some noticeable changes had occurred at the pavillion. At 10.00pm the previous evening His Holiness the Karmapa had personally draped a golden silk robe over the Buddha statue. In addition, a gilded and decorated throne, higher and more ornate than the simple throne used on the first day, had been brought over from Tergar shrine room and now stood centre stage. A thangka of Four-Armed Mahakala hung over the offerings table which had been moved to the right of the Karmapa’s throne. The rows of maroon-clad monks and nuns had increased. Stretching out to either side behind the musicians and umzes, they now reached to the very edges of the pavillion. At their head sat the Vajra Master Gyaltsen Namgyal and Chief Khenpo Lobsang Nyima, both from Rumtek Read the rest of this article

The Mahakala Puja: Preparations Begin for Tibetan New Year

4 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya
The Tibetan Year of the Wood Sheep is drawing to a close. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, an extensive protector ritual–the Gutor Chenmo– is usually offered in the final week of the Tibetan year in order to clear away all obstacles before the new year begins. This year’s Gutor Chenmo is being offered to the Four-Armed form of the Dharma Protector Mahakala.

Over the last few weeks, many people have worked intensively to finish the Monlam Pavillion in time for the beginning of the Gutor. The floor has been repolished and cleaned. Door and window mantels have been painted in traditional Tibetan style, and a great backdrop of the rising sun has been painted on the new back wall of the pavilion. Pleated drapes have been hung from the ceiling, and the central aisle has been carpeted in red. Read the rest of this article

Renewing Hope for Many, the Gyalwang Karmapa Concludes the Third Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering

February 3rd 2016- Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
The Third Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering was brought to a close. The nuns began by chanting the opening prayers in Sanskrit, the sacred language of ancient India. Behind His Holiness the Karmapa was a thangka of a standing Avalokiteshvara, holding a lotus flower in his left hand and raising his right hand, from which emanated an image of Ananda, a disciple and cousin of the Buddha. The nuns sang praises to the Buddha, Avalokiteshvara, Ananda, and Mahaprajapati Gautami, the step-mother of the Buddha, who raised and cared for the Buddha after his mother passed away seven days after he was born. It was Mahaprajapati Gautami who first beseeched the Buddha to allow women to enter the sangha. After the Buddha initially declined—as the Karmapa explained earlier during the Arya Kshema Read the rest of this article

Cultivating the Delight of Rejoicing and the Freedom from Prejudice

February 1, 2016-Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
On this last day of teachings on Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation, the Gyalwang Karmapa completed the reading transmission for the section of Preparation, which included rejoicing, requesting the buddhas to turn the wheel of Dharma, supplicating them not to pass into nirvana, and the dedication. The Karmapa noted that Chapter Nine is the longest in the text and that he would teach the actual ceremony for generating bodhichitta later.

The Karmapa explained that we rejoice from the depth of our heart in the virtuous activities from the past, present, and future that anyone has performed: the buddhas of the ten directions, all the bodhisattvas, the self-realizing buddhas, the listeners who are on the paths of learning and nor more learning, and all individuals who have not Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Presides over a Day of Chö Puja

February 2, 2016-Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
Following the final day of teachings at the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, the Gyalwang Karmapa presided over a full-day Chö puja with all the participating nuns. The text that was chanted is called Chö: A String of Jewels and was composed by the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje.

Since the time of the 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, who wrote the first commentary on Chö and who also compiled the text of this puja, the Karmapas have had a strong connection with the Chö practice. Historically they are holders of the direct Chö lineage, based on the Indian Buddhist deity Prajñāpāramitā, who is known as both the mother of all the Buddhas and the embodiment of wisdom.

Chö, which means “to sever or cut” in Tibetan, ultimately aims to cut through the ignorance of self-grasping Read the rest of this article