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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

27th Kagyu Monlam: Day Six – Milarepa Empowerment, Ganachakra Talk on “Positive Politics”

December 29, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

The sixth day of the 27th Kagyu Monlam offered students numerous ways to continue connecting to Milarepa and the Kagyu practice lineage. In the morning, the Gyalwang Karmapa conferred a Milarepa Empowerment to a massive gathering, including to such holders of Milarepa’s illustrious lineage as: His Eminence Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche, His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Khenchen Yongzin Thrangu Rinpoche, His Eminence Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, Bhayoe Rinpoche, Khenpo Lodoe Dhonyoe, Drupon Dechen Rinpoche and Drikung Gyese Rinpoche.

Also among those fortunate enough to receive such an empowerment, directly from the Gyalwang Karmapa, was the entire troup of actors who will be performing the drama on The Life of Milarepa composed by His Holiness, to be staged at the conclusion of the Monlam.

Continuing the day’s celebration of Milarepa’s life and practice heritage, in the evening His Holiness led a Milarepa Ganachakra gathering, at Tergar Monastery, for those who had completed the Four Preliminary Practices (ngondros) of the Kagyu tradition.

His Holiness had recounted earlier, in his reading of the biography of Milarepa, that Milarepa had buried several sacred objects for his disciples to Read the rest of this article

27th Kagyu Monlam: Day Five – Karmapa Completes the Oral Transmission of Milarepa’s Biography

December 28, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

The recitation of the Twenty-Branch Monlam, that which provides the structure for the prayers recited during the Kagyu Monlam, is a powerful means by which we can deepen our relationship with Buddha Shakyamuni. By reciting these prayers, we prepare a place for Buddha; invite, greet and offer ablution to him; and we praise, make offerings and requests to him. To do these things beneath the Tree, where Buddha himself was enlightened, exponentially intensifies our daily encounters with Buddha.

Today, His Holiness completed a long project which is intented to enhance his disciples’ connection to the great Tibetan master Milarepa. His Holiness has given the oral transmission of the entire life story of Milarepa, page after page, year after year, for three consecutive years. Today that story drew to a close; but in coming days, the Gyalwang Karmapa will further extend the process of deepening students’ engagement with Milarepa by offering a Milarepa empowerment, a Milarepa Ganachakra, and with the live performance of a play depicting Milarepa’s life, that His Holiness composed and directed himself.

Following the reading transmission, His Holiness gave a talk on developing compassion and bodhichitta. “If Read the rest of this article

27th Kagyu Monlam: Day Three – Karmapa Teaches on the Fault of Abandoning the Dharma

December 26, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

Once again students had the privilege of receiving Mahayana Sojong Vows directly from His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, under the Bodhi Tree. In his reading of the Life of Milarepa, His Holiness reached the point where Milarepa was intentionally poisoned by a well-educated geshe who had become overwhelmed by jealousy and resentment towards Milarepa. Taking these events of Milarepa’s life as a departure point, His Holiness taught today on the danger of giving up the Dharma. Gyalwang Karmapa noted that the geshe in question had done extensive study of Dharma texts, but his actions reveal that he had completely abandoned the pure Dharma. His Holiness commented that giving up or abandoning the Dharma can also occur when we teach something that is not pure Dharma and present it as Dharma. Abandoning the Dharma does not only imply turning our backs entirely on all the Buddha’s teachings. It can also happen, His Holiness stressed, when we engage in sectarian partiality towards our own lineage or lama, and on that basis disparage other lineages or lamas.

When we accuse other lineages, lamas or philosophical systems of not teaching the pure Dharma, we are in grave danger of incurring the serious fault of abandoning the Read the rest of this article