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Karma Pakshi and A Jataka Tale : A Play with Dance and A Tibetan Opera

 

On the evening of March third, the Monlam stage with its huge altar was transformed by the presence of four tall pillars arrayed across the front of the stage. In deep brown decorated in gold filigree, topped by lotus flowers, they supported the four animals—a tiger, garuda, vulture, and snow lion—that appeared to Milarepa in his famous dream. The four represent the main disciples of Marpa the Translator, through whom the Kamtshang lineage flows. In front of the stage, the rows of seats in the Pavilion are filled right up to the back while three screens on either side bring into the evening darkness the radiant and warm colors of the stage.

This is the setting for tonight’s play based on the life of the Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1206-1283). Written by the Gyalwang Karmapa in a contemporary idiom, the drama focuses on three events: the arrival of Orgyenpa (1230-1312), who would hold the Karma Pakshi’s lineage; the meeting of these two great lamas; and finally, Orgyenpa’s meeting and recognizing the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339). During the time of the Read the rest of this article

The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day Seven

7 March, 2012 Bodhgaya

Sojong and the alms procession

5.30am and at the Monlam Pavilion, H.E.Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche was giving the Mahayana sojong vows. Meanwhile, at Tergar Monastery 500 Read more

The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day Six

6 March, 2012 Bodhgaya

The main events today centred around the Kangyur, the Tibetan collection of sutras or the written record of the words of the Buddha. This is covered in a separate feature.

Novice monks and nuns did not go to the Mahabodhi stupa. The Mahayana sojong vows  at the Monlam Pavilion were given by Khenpo Dönyö.  While the Kangyur procession was under way at the stupa,  those at the pavilion recited the Menlha (Medicine Buddha ritual).

Session Three: Prayers for the well-being of Tibet

The current troubles in Tibet mean that this year’s Monlam prayers for the well-being of Tibet have taken on an urgency and great significance.  Each year, His Holiness unfailingly attends this session. The  prayers in this section were written mostly by His Holiness the Fourteenth  Dalai Lama.

There must have been very many heavy hearts amongst the monks and nuns as they recited them, especially those whose families are Read the rest of this article

The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day One – Mahayana Sojong Vows

29 1 March, 2012 Bodhgaya

The sounds of auto rickshaws reverberated through Bodhgaya in the wee hours of March 1st, 2012 as monks, nuns and laypeople made their way to Tergar Monastery to attend the first day of the eight-day Kagyu Monlam prayer festival, and to receive Mahayana Sojong vows. Sojong vows taken for the benefit of all beings are called Mahayana sojong vows.

The Tibetan word sojong is the equivalent of the Sanskrit uposatha. The reason why the vows taken in our tradition are called the Mahayana sojong vows is the unique motivation. Ordinary uposatha precepts are usually taken with the intention to purify one’s negativities and to attain one’s own liberation. However, if we take these ethical vows with the intention of benefiting all beings, then – owing to the great power of motivation – the results of maintaining self-discipline are immeasurably bigger.

The sun was yet to rise but the sky was already luminous. Hundreds Read the rest of this article

Losar : The Year of The Water Dragon Begins

22 February, 2012 Bodhgaya

Tergar Monastery in Bodhgaya held its Tibetan New Year prayer ceremony on February 22, 2012. At around 7 am, two major lamas of the Karma Kagyu tradition, His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and His Eminence Gyaltsap Rinpoche, entered the shrine room to lead the prayers, the first day of the three-day Tibetan New Year prayer festival. Monks, nuns and laypeople expectantly queued outside as early as 6 am, entering the monastery’s main shrine room gradually at sunrise. Soon the monastery’s main hall was packed to the brim. Visible from the main door and the windows were hundreds sitting on the portico of the monastery, partaking in the celebrations from the outside.

The two lamas, sitting on thrones facing each other, led the prayers to clear away the obstacles and make an auspicious start to the new Water Dragon Year. The monks began to read from the texts, especially compiled by the Gyalwang Karmapa for the New Year prayer ceremony. At Read the rest of this article