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His Holiness in Bodhgaya - 2006-07 Tour

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

His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa continued his Fall-Winter tour, arriving at noon in Bodhgaya on December 19. The Karmapa was received by Ven. Mingyur Rinpoche and Khenchen Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche at Tergar Monastery. Many International visitors at the monastery welcomed His Holiness by loudly chanting "Karmapa Khenno. Construction was recently completed on the new Tergar Monastery, and this was the first visit of His Holiness there since the monastery's completion. (text continues below slideshow)

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His Holiness thereafter headed for the Mahabodhi Temple, which commemorates where Sakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment, to make offeriings to the Buddha for the benefit of beings. The head of the Mahabodhi Society welcomed him and escorted His Holiness inside the main shrine hall. His Holiness performed a short puja and circumambulated the temple three times, then headed to the Bhutanese Temple. There His Holiness checked the elaborate tormas and butter sculptures (offerings made out of butter) prepared for the Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha (Pal Nyammay Kagyupay Sangha Monlam Chenmo), over which the Karmapa will preside. He was joined there by Mingyur Rinpoche and Khenchen Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. Later in the afternoon, His Holiness gave an audience at Terga Monastry to international followers.

December 21-23

In the evening 21st December, His Holiness performed the initial preparation puja for the Chakrasambhava preliminary Empowerment at Tergar Monastery in Bodh Gaya. The Chakrasambhava Formal Empowerment was transmitted on 22nd December. Recipients included Mingyur Rinpoche, Khenchen Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and Tenga Rinpoche and Venerable Hai Ta Fa Su from Taiwan, who also received the Vajrayana Crown from His Holiness.

More than 2000 international devotees gathered from western countries and eastern countries. In the afternoon, His Holiness gave a public Green Tara Empowerment on the request of visitors from Korea.

On 23rd December, His Holiness began teaching on the Four Extraordinary Preliminary Practices. Afterwards, His Holiness gave refuge to all the devotees. Later in the evening , at the request of His Holiness, Mingyur Rinpoche gave additional detailed teachings (Tib. kyar tri) on the same text. His Holiness teachings are sponsored and organized by Hwa Yue Foundation of Taiwan.

December 25

On Christmas day His Holiness gave teachings on the four Extraordinary Preliminary practices in morning. Later in the day, His Holiness presented Christmas gifts of his own calligraphy and a painting from his own collection to all the international devotees who have gathered for teaching, distributing them by individually signing each one of them on the spot. It took two and one half hours for more than two thousand devotees, who waited in a long queue. His Holiness wished merry Christmas to all at the end.

Afterwards, that His Holiness took time for a brief question and answer session with the representatives of centers. Group photos were taken later on.

December 27-30th Kagyu Monlam

The 24th annual Kagyu Monlam commenced on the 27th of December. Over 4,500 ordained monks and nuns had registered by the commencement, as well as 2,000 foreign pilgrims and at least another 2,000 Himalayan pilgrims. The Monlam began at 5:30 A.M. with an amazing procession of 500 monks (Gelongs), each carrying crystal lotus mandalas and meditating as they walked slowly around the outer courtyard of the Maha Bodhi temple and took their seats.

His Holiness Karmapa arrived and invited all who wished to renew their Sojung vows to do so. Once this was completed, His Holiness began teachings on the life of Milerapa. The teachings were bestowed with profound clarity and devotion. Next all enjoyed hearing His Holiness and the thousands of devoted sangha singing Milerapa's "Song of Aspiration". Dedication prayers followed and the program at the Great Stupa, as the first day of the program concluded.

The next venue was held at the beautiful newly founded Tergar Monastery. After dinner period His Holiness gave teachings on how to meditate. Many eyes and minds were opened.

Following the ceremony, reports began circulating about a climatic phenomenon that many had witnessed after the Gelong procession as attendees were being seated. Lama Chodrak called the phenomenon a "Rain of Nectar": "In an area about 75 feet in diameter and about 100 feet in front of Karmapa's throne, shortly after the sunrise, people began to feel wetness. It was not the wetness of a typical 'falling' rain. This 'rain' just appeared at about ten feet from the ground and then fell to the ground. The drops were of unusual shape and of a very low intensity. Adding even more wonder, the sky was blue. Yes, a rain of nectar fell from a cloudless blue sky, and a blue sky is somewhat rare in Bodh Gaya! The temperature stayed comfortably warm well into the night too.'"

On the 29th of December, in the early dawn light at 5:30 am in morning, His Holiness presided over the monlam prayers, held that day at Tergar monastery due to the anniversary celebrations being held at the Mahabodhi Stupa (see below). His Holiness gave directions earlier that day to the ordained monks, so that the seatng arrangements would be like the old tradition of Tibet: those who arrive early were seated at the front of the line, in the order of arrival. His Holiness justified the importance of this tradition as showing the willingness of participants to engage in practicing dharma.

At around 9:30 am His Holiness visited Maha Bodhi Temple to represent the Buddhist religion on the occasion of the 2550th anniversary of the year of Lord Buddha's Mahaparinirvana. The occassion was celebrated by an inter-religious prayer for world peace. His Holiness was invited to attend by the Maha Bodhi Temple Society who organized the prayer. The Governor of Bihar, His Excellency R.S.Gawai, was also present.

After arriving back at the Tergar Monastery, and a quick lunch break, His Holiness attended the Monlam's next session and gave the Akshobya empowerment. His Holiness also gave a public audience to to international devotees, including all the new arrivals from Tibet who had came to Bodh  Gaya for pilgrimage.

- Tashi Paljor

Schedule

His Holiness pre-Monlam schedule in Bodhgaya was as follows:

Date

Time

Program

21/ Dec

07:00 pm

Chakrasambhava (Khorlodumpa) Preliminiary Empowerment (For Public)

22/Dec

10:00 am

Chakrasambhava Formal Empowerment (Empowerment receivers must commit to fulfill the Four Extraordinary Practices)

 

02:00 pm

Green Tara Empowerment (For Public)

23/Dec

10:00 am

Four Extraordinary Preliminary Practices

 

11:30 am

Refuge Ceremony (Refuge Certificates will be handed out later)

 

07:00 pm

Teaching of Mingyur Rinpoche

24/Dec

10:00 am

Four Extraordinary Preliminary Practices

 

07:00 pm

Teaching of Mingyur Rinpoche

25/Dec

10:00 am

Four Extraordinary Preliminary Practices

 

03:30 pm

Group Photo Taking With His Holiness Karmapa and Mingyur Rinpoche

 

07:00 pm

Teaching of Mingyur Rinpoche

26/Dec

10:00 am

Four Extraordinary Preliminary Practices

 

11:00 am

Course Perfection Offering by Representatives of all groups Singing Offering of H.H Karmapa's long life, good health and his continuum of turning the Dharma wheel.

 

03:00 pm

"Practice of Offering to Lama" for all Chinese Disciples

 

07:00 pm

Teaching of Mingyur Rinpoche

 

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