January 26, 2015
The road into the Vihar has been lined in soft orange and cream satins embellished with gold sequins, and just after the gate into the Vihar, a large Dharma wheel has been chalked on the red carpeting. Nearby are a group of five male dancers with tall brocade hats and their maroon and white striped stoles. Just behind them wait five Ladakhi ladies, wearing their distinctive clothing and headdress—a wide turquoise studded wave that dips down over their forehead to end in a single beautiful stone. They carry long-spouted brass pitchers of liquor, the traditional offering of welcome in the Himalayan region. In the courtyard, about four hundred ordained and lay people wait before an open area reserved for the dance performances. Just beyond it, an elevated pavilion has been set up with a throne for the Gyalwang Karmapa, Read the rest of this article
January 26, 2015
Inside the now empty and rambling frame of the Monlam kitchen with the bound lengths of bamboo still supporting deep blue tarpaulins, a small shrine has been set up. On the brocade covered table are two rows of the traditional offering bowls, and in front, a large offering cup on its stand sits next to a plate with a white torma. Not far away, a small rectangular area of earth has been opened in the brick floor.
Around eleven in the morning, the Gyalwang Karmapa comes walking through the nearby field with the young Druppön Dechen at his side and accompanied by a small group of monks. He will perform a special ceremony (sometimes called taming the earth) to request the land and gratify the local spirits. The offerings are divided into three main phases. First, the Read the rest of this article
26 January, 2015 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya
In what has become an annual event during his winter programme, the Gyalwang Karmapa joined in the flag-raising ceremony to celebrate Indian Republic Day.
More than a hundred young monks with their teachers lined up in straight lines on the patio outside the Tergar Monastery shrine hall, and stood smartly to attention, below the flagstaff. Members of the regular police force in their knife-crease, pressed khaki uniforms and the paramilitary protection squad in blue-and-grey camouflage stood to attention beside them. As one, they presented arms with their automatic rifles or saluted, while the Indian national flag was raised. Emblazoned with the Buddhist Emperor Ashoka’s 24-spoke chakra wheel in navy blue, the tricoloured flag —with saffron, green and white panels— has become the Read the rest of this article
During the Second Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering the Gyalwang Karmapa made the historical announcement that, beginning next year, he would take concrete steps towards restoring nuns’ vows in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
Beginning with the restoration of the novice ‘getsulma’ and training ‘shikshamana’ nun’s vows next year, which will be conferred with the assistance of a special contingent of nuns from the Dharmagupta tradition, this will then lay the necessary framework leading to ‘gelongma’ or ‘bhikshuni’ full nun’s vows in the future.
“The biggest event during next year’s Third Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering will be reinstituting the novice and training vows for nuns within the Tibetan tradition,” he said. “This will be a historical event.”
After two-and-a-half weeks of daily teachings from the Gyalwang Karmapa, intensive debate training for the participating nuns, and a variety of other dharma activities, the Second Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering successfully concluded.
“We’ve had a long string of dharma activities here in Bodhgaya,” the Gyalwang Karmapa said during the closing ceremony, “starting with the Kagyu monks’ Guncho, the Kagyu Monlam, and now the nuns’ Winter Dharma Gathering. They have all gone very well, and this is because everyone here worked together as one. We can all take joy in this.”
Beginning in the morning, on the final day the Gyalwang Karmapa first led a Tara puja which then continued on through the afternoon. Tara is renowned as having taken a vow to become fully enlightened in a female Read the rest of this article