For five days this year’s Monlam had been held at the Monlam Pavilion, two kilometers from Bodhgaya, so it felt strange on the sixth day to be in Bodhgaya, standing at the entrance to the Mahabodhi stupa grounds at five o’clock in the morning once more. Strange, but also very comfortable, like coming home. This ancient site radiates a pervasive feeling of sacredness, as if the broken stones themselves are a repository for two thousand years of devotion, hope, and trust in the way of the Buddha. Sitting under the bodhi tree, waiting for the Gyalwang Karmapa to arrive, people commented that they missed being at the stupa. However, for once, laypeople were able to sit where the novice monks and nuns would have been sitting, closer to the shrine, His Holiness and the bodhi tree, rather than crowded into the margins, hidden behind monuments, or perched precariously on the grass banks. Perhaps they had forgotten the advantages of the pavilion, where everyone is included and can have a clear view of Read the rest of this article
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
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
5 March, 2012 Bodhgaya
Once more the day at the Monlam Pavilion began early at 5.30am.
The webcast team was in their places, ready to start broadcasting as Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche commenced the Mahayana Sojong vows. He sat on a cushion facing the assembly and read the vow-taking ritual from a sheet of paper, monks, nuns and laypeople repeating the vows after him.
Dawn broke slowly Read more
4 March, 2012 Bodhgaya
This morning began with another first. H.E. the Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Chökyi Nyima gave the Mahayana Sojong vows to those gathered before dawn at the Monlam Pavilion for the very first time. The surrounding fields resounded with the chattering of waking birds, as, in a deep voice, reminiscent of the Gyalwang Karmapa, the sixteen year old led the congregation for the first time.
Significantly, this Monlam, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche has assumed a more prominent role. Earlier, he was in evidence at each session of the Gutor Mahakala Puja, supporting the vajra master Gyaltsap Rinpoche. In addition he gave a short teaching on Calling the Lama from Afar and led the Subduing the Ground vajra dance.
Born in Central Tibet on November 26, 1995, Rinpoche was located in the summer of 1996 by a search party following instructions given by the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. During this Monlam, His Holiness commented how, of all the recognitions of trulkus he made while he was in Tibet, this was the one he experienced most strongly and clearly. Jamgon Kongtrul Read the rest of this article