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His Holiness in Sarnath - 2006 Tour schedule

(Photo Index to other galleries of the photos of HH Karmapa's activities)

On November 19th, 2006, His Holiness arrived at the Vajra Vidya Institute in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. Venerable Thrangu Tulku Rinpoche and monks from the the Vajra Vidhya Institute Shedra (monastic college) welcomed his return with traditional offerings of saffron sweet rice and sweet milk tea. He is in Sarnath for the Karma Gön Chö Winter Retreat for Debate and Logical Study that begins on November 21st and concludes December 20th, 2006. (text continues below slideshow)

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Throughout the one month program, teachings will be given by both His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa as well as Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche. Seven main Shedras and Monasteries are represented at the Karma Gunchö. Ninety monks from Karma Shri Nalanda Institute representing Rumtek Monastery are in attendance as well as fifty-six monks from Palpung Sherabling Institute. Ninety members from Lawa, India representing Pullahari Monastery of Nepal and eighty monks from Karma Lekshay Ling in Swayambunath are represented. From Sarnath, sixty monks from the Vajra Vidya Institute are participating and 40 monks from South India's Mundgot Shedra of Bokar Ngedon Choekhor Ling Institute are in attendance. Thirty monks from Tashi Jong, Dharamsala are also expected to participate. Members from other regions throughout India, Nepal and Tibet are expected to attend the annual Karma Gunchö.

During this month, pandita monastics will thoroughly examine the views of the Holy Dharma as held by the great Kagyu masters, through the techniques of Buddhist debate passed down through the lineages of Buddhist Dharma from the great pandits of India. At the commencement of the ceremony, His Holiness addressed the monastic representatives assembled at Vajra Vidhya and explained the origins of the Karma Gön Chö.

November 27-30th

The International Kagyu Monlam Organizing Committee meeting started on November 27th, headed by His Holiness Karmapa and Lama Choedrak. His Holiness presided over the Kagyu Monlam organizing committee meeting with Lama Choedrak. Very Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche and Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche were also in attendance. His Holiness discussed the schedule of monlam and appointed persons for various positions in organizing the Monlam. His Holiness concluded the meeting with prayers best wishes for monlam. During the course of the three days of meetings, His Holiness, Very Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche, Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and the other members of the working committee for the Kagyu Monlam had lunch at Hotel Radisson, organized by one of the Monlam sponsors on November 28th. More on the Kagyu Monlam is available from the monlam website.

Very Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche celebrated his 74th birthday in Saranath, India on November 30th 2006. The auspicious occasion was celebrated on a grand scale and was attended by all the shedra monks and labrang members. The birthday occasion began at 9 am the main shrine room of Vajra Vidya Institute. Mandala offerings were presented to VV Trangu Rinpoche by khenpos and monks of various monasteries. After the morning prayers, at 3pm His Holiness met VV Thrangu Rinpoche In the temple courtyard of the Vajra Vidhya Institute. Joined by Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, he wished VV Thrangu Rinpoche a happy birthday, and the birthday cake was cut .- Tashi Paljor

December 7-8

On December 7th, the Karmapa led morning prayers at Vajra Vidhya Institute with VV Thrangu Rinpoche. The Karmapa and his entourage were later offered lunch in Varanasi at the Ramada Hotel.

On December 8th, the Karmapa led an assembly of monks, bhikshus and lay persons to Deer Park, where the Buddha first began his teaching by Turning the Wheel of the Dharma. Before the Damekha Stupa, which is thought to be on the site where Ashoka built a stupa commemorating the Buddha's teachings, His Holiness led the assembly in prayer and renewed their bodhisattva vows. The Karmapa led the assembly in prayers and then led the assembly in renewing their bodhisattva vows to personally take responsibility for liberating all sentient beings. At the ceremony, he was joined by Ven Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, VV Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoceh and VV Khenchen Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. At the conclusion of the ceremony, His Holiness circumambulated the holy site with monks from the Mahabodhi Society. At the Mahabodhi Society Temple adjacent to Deer Park, the Karmapa paid respect to the Buddha Sakyamuni by kneeling before the relics of the Blessed One, the Tathagata, the Buddha. Before returning to Vajra Vidhya Institute, His Holiness fed the deer and blessed them with his presence.

December 12-13

On December 12th, His Holiness gave teachings about the Mahamudra (chagya chenmo), as well as the great Kagyu lineage and its masters, at the request of the Kagyu Association of Sarnath University for Higher Buddhist Studies. During the talk at the Vajra Vidya Institute main shrine hall, His Holiness mentioned his happiness at having the opportunity to address students from the Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies at Sarnath University.

December 17 - 18

On December 17, 2006, His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived at Sarnath airport Sunday noon to give religious teachings beginning 19th December at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS) in Sarnath. His Holiness the Gyalwa  Karmapa  received him at the airport.

His Holiness Dalai Lama, accompanied by His Holiness Karmapa, arrived at Vajra Vidya Institute, where Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche offered a mandala to His Holiness Dalai Lama. After finishing their prayers, His Holiness had lunch at Vajra Vidya Institute with His Holiness Karmapa ,Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Tenga Rinpoche.

His Holiness left Vajra Vidya Institute for CIHTS. It appears to be His Holiness Dalai Lama’s  fourth visit to Vajra Vidya Institute

The Karmapa is in Sarnath as part of his his Fall-Winter tour by traveling to Sarnath, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, where he is presiding over the Karma Gön Chö, the Winter Retreat for Debate and Logical Study, held annually at Vajra Vidhya Institute.

On December 18, His Holiness presides over prayers to mark the successful completion of the tenth Karma Gön Chö at the main shrine hall of Vajra Vidya Institute. He was joined by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and Tenga Rinpoche. His Holiness warmly thanked Thrangu Rinpoche for hosting the month-long event. His Holiness departed for Bodhgaya on December 19th. Click here for a summary of activities in Bodhgaya.

- Tashi Paljor

Schedule

The overall schedule for His Holiness's 2006-07 Fall Winter tour follows; embedded within are links to any published daily public schedules, as they become available:

HH Karmapa's Schedule:
November 2006 - January 2007

2.11.2006 Bokar Ngedon Chokhor Ling (Mirik) for 3rd Parinirvana anniversary of VV Bokar Rinpoche (public schedule)
16.11.2006 Kalu Rinpoche's Monastery (Siliguri) (public schedule)
19.11.2006 Vajra Vidhya Institute (Sarnath)
20.12.2006 Terga Monastery (Bodhgaya)
   6.1.2007 Vajra Vidhya Institute (Sarnath)
  10.1.2007 Return to Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala