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The Gyalwang Karmapa Returns to the Mahabodhi Temple

February 13, 2015
The stupa is peaceful on this clear midmorning. Light falls through the Bodhi Tree, glancing off its shiny leaves and weaving its way through the spread of the ancient branches. Beneath its canopy Thai pilgrims, all dressed in white, follow ocher-robed monks around the stupa, the call and response of their chanting reverberating off the carved stone walls. A few seasoned pilgrims have gathered along the path, having noticed that a red carpet has been laid from the main gate, its triple arch covered in rose buds, down the wide flight of steps, along the marble path and into the temple; another red carpet circles the entire inner circumambulation path; and on the far side, the low stone lotus flowers marking the path of the Buddha have been overlaid with a thirty-foot strip of maroon silk, embroidered in a long row of gold lotuses.

Slightly after ten, the Gyalwang Karmapa appears at the head of the sacred precinct’s stairs and walks down the red carpet into the main temple to bow at the feet of the golden Buddha. He Read the rest of this article

The Marmei Monlam Lights up the World

December 21, 2010 – Bodhgaya

Spheres of red and yellow lights descending from the outer path around the stupa enfold in their bright warmth all who’ve gathered this evening. In addition to the international sangha of ordained and lay people, there are also dignitaries who have come from afar to join in this celebration. The steps leading from the back gate down to the Bodhi Tree have been turned into a stage for the performances.

Tonight His Holiness is serving as the Master of Ceremonies, announcing each group and making brief comments. The first group is composed of Tibetan monks who stand with their palms together, filling the whole space of the stairs with the glowing presence of their yellow robes. His Holiness comments that te Sanskrit language comes first since India was the source of Dharma. In resonant tones, the monks chant the refuge, praise of the Buddha, and before the dedication, the epitome of the Buddha’s teachings, which the Karmapa cites Read the rest of this article

28TH Kagyu Monlam: Day Five

December 19, 2010 – Bodhgaya


Kyabje Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche gave the Sojong vows this morning. Kyabje Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Dolrob Tenga Rinpoche, Khenchen Yongzin Thrangu Rinpoche and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche were also there to preside over the first session.

The King Of Aspirations: The Noble Aspiration To Excellent Conduct
Infinite Bodhicitta For Beings Beyond Number

Pausing at the top of the stairs to remove his shoes, His Holiness descends the stairs leading to his throne and the Bodhi Tree. As usual he passes by his throne through a door of yellow cloth into the inner path around the stupa. Walking around the left side to enter the main temple, he offers prostrations to the golden Buddha and then offers a radiant set of robes to the Read the rest of this article

27th Kagyu Monlam: Day Eight – Kagyu Monlam Comes to a Rousing Conclusion

December 31, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

The tremendous efforts undertaken by organizers seeking to fulfill His Holiness’ vast vision for this year’s monlam came to their fullest fruition today, as the 27th Kagyu Monlam drew to a joyful close. From early morning until the deep chill of the night, thousands of disciples who had gathered from all corners of the planet spent the final day of 2009 in the presence of His Holiness. Read more

27th Kagyu Monlam: Day Seven – Stretching into the Deep Past and the Distant Future

December 30, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

By inviting and embracing attendees from all over the world, providing translation into nine languages and sending out a live webcast viewed by people all over the globe, and by generating aspirations that encompass other worlds as well, the Kagyu Monlam has truly expanded to fill all space. On its seventh day, the scope of the Kagyu Monlam also stretched to fill time, with activities to protect the environment as well as to honor the Kagyur, or the canon of Buddha’s teachings. As such, the day’s focus spanned from 2,500 ago in India when the Buddha first taught, to a distant future that monlam participants actively seek to create, so that our heirs to this planet may still find it a viable and welcoming home.

As part of the morning’s focus on the Kagyur itself, Gyalwang Karmapa and the other Kagyu lineages holders led a solemn and stately procession of bhikshus and bhikshunis (gelongs and gelongmas) to carry the 108 volumes of the canonical collection on a circumambulation around the stupa. The procession path was lined with the reverential public, white scarves and flowers in their hands, and deep faith in their hearts, as the members of the sangha moved past with great dignity as each respectfully bore a single Read the rest of this article