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The 31st Kagyu Monlam

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January 11, 2014
Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

Arriving at the centre

In the pitch black of the early morning, as lines of people make their way to Tergar Monastery, a rare winter rain falls steadily over Bodhgaya. Arriving from all directions they converge at the centre of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s vast mandala, the Monlam Pavilion, where his Buddha activities are about to commence.

The wet, muddy paths mean the usual long queues are fast-tracked, and people pass relatively quickly down the slippery driveway. They enter through the Monlam welcome gate, adorned with fluttering prayer flags and rows of fairy lights glowing in the early morning darkness.

Inside the vast pavilion, clouds of fragrant incense permeate the space as the neatly laid out mats gradually fill with people. Rows of monks and nuns, heads freshly shaven, sit wrapped in their warm winter dagam cloaks, while lay people bundle up in thick coats and blankets to ward off the pre-dawn chill.

At 6am the sound of gyalings pierces the darkness and all Read the rest of this article

The Seven-Line Supplication to Guru Rinpoche


Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya – January 6, 2014

HŪṂ

In the northwest of Uddiyana

Upon the anthers of a lotus

You achieved the wondrous supreme siddhi

And are renowned as the Lotus Born

Encircled by many ḍākinis

We practice following your example

We ask you come and grant your blessings

GURU PADMA SIDDHI HŪṂ

After receiving the empowerment of Guru Rinpoche, the sangha began an extensive four-dayLama Sangdu practice inside the Monlam Pavilion, restricted to ordained monks and nuns. In order to also include all the laypeople, the Gyalwang Karmapa arranged for a special tent to be erected alongside the Pavilion, where they could sit comfortably on chairs, facing screens displaying an image of Guru Rinpoche. He then requested that they collect as many repetitions of the Seven-Line Read the rest of this article

Konchok Chidü Empowerment

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Monlam Pavilion

January 5, 2014

Long before the crowds arrived on day three for the empowerment of the Embodiment of the Three Jewels, or Konchok Chidü, at 6.15am the Gyalwang Karmapa was already in the Monlam Pavilion, seated on stage, quietly conducting the preparatory rituals.

By 8am the Pavilion was once more filled to capacity, this time with the slow chant of Guru Rinpoche’s mantra—Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung—resounding throughout the hall, while the Gyalwang Karmapa concluded the extensive preparations.

After taking a short break he returned to the Pavilion to start the empowerment proper, the gyaling horns that heralded his arrival harmonising effortlessly with the mantra-filled hall.

As the Gyalwang Karmapa set the boundaries for the mandala of the empowerment, the Monlam Pavilion was transformed from the ordinary into a vast, sacred space.

“In order to request the empowerment, please regard this place not as ordinary but as the Akanishta realm of the lotus display,” the Read the rest of this article

Taking the Vow of Refuge

The Torch of Certainty, Session 3

 

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya, India

January 4, 2014

 

The slow chant of ‘Karmapa Khyenno’ resounded throughout the Monlam Pavilion, signaling a start to the second day of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s teachings on the Torch of Certainty. Soon the sound of gyaling horns could be heard over the chanting as the Gyalwang Karmapa arrived.

After he made three prostrations to the golden Buddha on the stage, the rest of the sangha followed suit. As ten thousand monks, nuns and laypeople prostrated in perfect synchronicity to the rhythm of a small drum, the visual effect was a reminder of the unity of the sangha, and their single shared purpose in coming together to hear the dharma.

Ten thousand voices then united as one in supplication to the Kagyu lineage masters; in a moment of perfect unity, perfect stillness, the entire gathering offered a mandala to the Gyalwang Karmapa, chanting with a single voice.

The Gyalwang Karmapa urged the packed hall to listen single-pointedly, with utter non-distractedness and not to miss even a single word Read the rest of this article

Announcement: Gyalwang Karmapa to Revive Tsurluk Tsechu Cham Tradition In Bodhgaya

20131210 Tsechu Cham

As one of the major events of the upcoming 31st Kagyu Monlam Chenmo prayer gathering, on 10 January 2014 the Gyalwang Karmapa will lead a historic performance of the Guru Chöwang Tse Chu lama dance in Bodhgaya.

The day-long event heralds the revival of the unique Tsurphu tradition of the dance, and will be performed for the first time in India under the Gyalwang Karmapa’s direct guidance.

The Gyalwang Karmapa will personally dance during the event, adorned in full costume, while other luminaries to join him on stage include Kyabje Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Kyabje Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, and numerous other Kagyu lineage tulkus.

And, in another historic first, nuns from five Kagyu nunneries will also take part in the lama dance, allowing female dancers for the first time to perform the female roles such as Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal. The nuns will join monks from four monasteries of the Tsurluk tradition, including Rumtek, Palchen Choling, Mirik, and Benchen.

The lama dance centers around the sacred Read the rest of this article