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The Year of the Female Fire Bird Takes Flight


26 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

For the Gyalwang Karmapa, the Tibetan New Year began in the first hours of the day, as he met in the Tergar Monastery shrine hall with tulkus, khenpos, and masters from various monasteries and received their khatas. In return he gave them his blessing and a traditional bright red cord. The monks recited prayers for peace in the world and the flourishing of the teachings as well as the very long life of the Karmapa. Afterward the entire monastic and lay Sangha gathered at 4:30 am in the Monlam Pavilion for a special long-life practice based on the Three Roots Combined, called A Life-Force Indestructible like a Vajra. The practice was led by the Karmapa’s heart son, Gyaltsap Rinpoche, who had bestowed this empowerment the previous day.

In February of 2016 the Karmapa had also given Read the rest of this article

The Last Day of the Tibetan Year Begins


26 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
The final day of Gutor for the Year of the Fire Monkey began at 4 in the morning when the stars were still out and the air had a chill in it. People were huddled in down jackets or wrapped up to their eyes in a thick woolen shawl. Jalings from behind the stage announced the Karmapa’s arrival, and after three bows, he took his seat on the black and gold throne to preside over the puja. One could often hear his voice blending in with the chant master’s.

The first text was the short Mahakala practice known as the Cinnabar Mahakala since the first parts to be chanted were marked off in a brilliant red from the long text Burning Up Hostility by the Sixth Karmapa, Thongwa Dönden. At the end of this came a short section known as Receiving the Siddhi. At this time the Nyingzuk, the huge main torma sculpture that Read the rest of this article

Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche’s Teachings on The Four Freedoms from Attachment

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Day 1: If You Are Attached to this Life, You Are Not a Dharma Practitioner
29 December, 2014 Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

In 2012 when the Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche was only seventeen, he taught for the first time at the Kagyu Monlam in public. His teaching was from the foremost devotional prayer in the Kagyu lineage, Calling the Lama from Afar, by the First Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, which was recited every night in Rumtek after the tragic passing of the third Jamgon Kongtrul. This first teaching seemed a response to the heartfelt cries of devotees from around the world.

Now, at the age of nineteen, Jamgon Kongtrul is giving another major teaching at the Monlam, to an audience of over 12,000 people, on an essential Sakya text called Parting from the Four Attachments. He looks composed as he sits on the Read the rest of this article

Why Take Refuge? The Karmapa Continues His Commentary on The Torch of Certainty

The Torch of Certainty, Session 1

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya, India
January 3, 2014

On the first day of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s talks on The Torch of Certainty by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, the side areas of the Pavilion are overflowing with lay followers, while the center is filled with the ordained Sangha. The maroon and gold of their robes is reflected above in the three levels of pleated material that run in a fluttering row from the front to back of the hall along the huge arch of the roof. The large crowd faces the Pavilion stage, where at the very top of its long and broad flight of stairs, the image of Tibet’s Mt. Kailash forms the backdrop for a large statue of a golden Buddha. Beneath him is a life-like statue of the 1st Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, and a flight downward from him is another throne with a statue of the 16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje, and finally, at the base, the simple and beautiful throne of the present Karmapa, flanked by thrones for Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche, along with rows of tulkus and khenpos.

Before the Karmapa begins these two days of teachings, he Read the rest of this article

The 30th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo Day Six

26th December – Bodhgaya.

Once more some of the teams who support the Monlam had to work late into the night and arrive at the stupa early in the morning so that the site was prepared. By the time the Gyalwang Karmapa arrived before daybreak, new altars and torma had been set out, all the equipment for audio and webcasting had been transferred, and the sangha were sitting in their newly allotted places.

The area under the Bodhi tree was festooned with fresh garlands of yellow and gold marigolds. Fairy lights lit up the banks around the outer kora—the route which pilgrims circumambulate—and a signboard proclaimed “The 30th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo. Sarva Mangalam”.

As soon as he arrived, Gyalwang Karmapa went to the shrine room and offered prayers in front of the precious Buddha statue. He then went to the Monlam site under the bodhi tree and conferred the Mahayana Sojong vows. Returning to the shrine room, he offered a set of golden silk robes, [Each day during the Monlam, a new set of silk Read the rest of this article