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Reading The Kangyur

After the procession and Gyalwang Karmapa’s teaching the final part of the celebration of the Kangyur was the reading session, during which the whole Kangyur was read once. This activity generates tremendous merit.

The 103 novice monks who had been assigned the task of distributing sheets of the Kangyur  busily wove their way between the rows of monks, nuns and laypeople, offering pages to anyone in the congregation who could read Tibetan. The pages came with strict instructions to remember the letter on the monk’s orange badge so that pages could be returned to the correct person. This system has been devised to prevent the problems of earlier years when, following the reading,  texts were found to be missing pages, or pages turned up in the wrong texts.

The Monlam Pavillion filled with the sound of people reading their pages of text in Tibetan chanting style. Within ninety minutes, the task was finished and the monks had collected the texts back in. Let’s hope that this year no pages went missing or were misplaced! Read more

Karma Pakshi and A Jataka Tale : A Play with Dance and A Tibetan Opera

 

On the evening of March third, the Monlam stage with its huge altar was transformed by the presence of four tall pillars arrayed across the front of the stage. In deep brown decorated in gold filigree, topped by lotus flowers, they supported the four animals—a tiger, garuda, vulture, and snow lion—that appeared to Milarepa in his famous dream. The four represent the main disciples of Marpa the Translator, through whom the Kamtshang lineage flows. In front of the stage, the rows of seats in the Pavilion are filled right up to the back while three screens on either side bring into the evening darkness the radiant and warm colors of the stage.

This is the setting for tonight’s play based on the life of the Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1206-1283). Written by the Gyalwang Karmapa in a contemporary idiom, the drama focuses on three events: the arrival of Orgyenpa (1230-1312), who would hold the Karma Pakshi’s lineage; the meeting of these two great lamas; and finally, Orgyenpa’s meeting and recognizing the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339). During the time of the Read the rest of this article

The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day Eight

8 March, 2012 Bodhgaya

Long Life Ceremony for the Two Lords of Refuge, Tai Situ Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche

On March 8, the Gyalwang Karmapa and the sangha gathered to offer a long life ceremony celebrating two of his heart sons, the Twelfth Tai Situ Rinpoche and the Twelfth Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche. As the dawn begins to color the edge of the sky, a huge crowd has filled the Monlam Pavilion and a special excitement runs through the air. Today will be Read more

The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day Seven

7 March, 2012 Bodhgaya

Sojong and the alms procession

5.30am and at the Monlam Pavilion, H.E.Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche was giving the Mahayana sojong vows. Meanwhile, at Tergar Monastery 500 Read more

The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day Six

6 March, 2012 Bodhgaya

The main events today centred around the Kangyur, the Tibetan collection of sutras or the written record of the words of the Buddha. This is covered in a separate feature.

Novice monks and nuns did not go to the Mahabodhi stupa. The Mahayana sojong vows  at the Monlam Pavilion were given by Khenpo Dönyö.  While the Kangyur procession was under way at the stupa,  those at the pavilion recited the Menlha (Medicine Buddha ritual).

Session Three: Prayers for the well-being of Tibet

The current troubles in Tibet mean that this year’s Monlam prayers for the well-being of Tibet have taken on an urgency and great significance.  Each year, His Holiness unfailingly attends this session. The  prayers in this section were written mostly by His Holiness the Fourteenth  Dalai Lama.

There must have been very many heavy hearts amongst the monks and nuns as they recited them, especially those whose families are Read the rest of this article