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Mahakala Puja Part Four: Lama Dance

20 February, 2012 Bodhgaya


February 20th was a day full of firsts. It was the first time that the Gyalwang Karmapa has performed in the lama dances since coming to India in January of 2000. It was the first time that the Karmapa, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, and Gyaltsap Rinpoche have participated together in the dances. It was the first time in India that the Karmapa could engage in the full length of the Mahakala practice that precedes the Tibetan New Year, and it was the first occasion when all the Kagyu Sanghas have gathered for this practice. All of these firsts came together on the twenty-ninth day of the last month in the Tibetan calendar, which is dedicated to protector practice, making this a particularly powerful occasion for the removal of obstacles and negativity.

The day actually started the previous night at 11pm with the beginning of “The Abridged Burning Up Anger,” and the chanting continued through to 5:30 the next morning. The thundering sound of the two immense drums and about thirty smaller ones as well as the swift pace of the chanting must have helped the Sangha to Read the rest of this article

Mahakala Puja Part One: Introduction, Empowerment and Reading Transmission

Februrary 12—13, 2012

For many days before the Tibetan New Year, the sangha traditionally engages in a practice of the Protector Mahakala (known as Gutor) to clear away the obstacles of the previous year and open the way for the new one to come. This year in Bodhgaya, the Seventeenth Karmapa has organized ten days of Mahakala practice, empowerments, reading transmissions and explanations to take place at Tergar Monastery, his residence here. The sessions began with empowerments on February 12 and will continue through February 21. Special this year is the text of the practice, which His Holiness has revived after this powerful ritual had lain dormant for centuries.

Empowerment, Reading Transmission, and Explanation

Traditionally, for every practice, one should receive these three: the empowerment that matures, the transmission that links to the blessings of the lineage, and the explanation that clarifies the text. On Read the rest of this article

Statement from The Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.

Februrary 6, 2012 – Bodhgaya.

Reports have just emerged that three more Tibetans set themselves ablaze within a single day in eastern Tibet. This comes shortly after four Tibetans immolated themselves and others died in demonstrations in Tibet during the month of January. As tensions escalate, instead of showing concern and trying to understand the causes of the situation, the Chinese authorities respond with increasing force and oppression. Each new report of a Tibetan death brings me immense pain and sadness; three in a single day is more than the heart can bear. I pray that these sacrifices have not been in vain, but will yield a change in policy that will bring our Tibetan brothers and sisters relief.

Having been given the name Karmapa, I belong to a 900 year old reincarnation lineage that has historically avoided any political engagement, a tradition I have no intention of changing. And yet as a Tibetan, I have great sympathy and affection for the Tibetan people and I have great misgivings about remaining silent while they are in pain. Their welfare is my greatest concern.

Tibetan demonstrations and self-immolations are a symptom of deep but unacknowledged dissatisfaction. If Tibetans were given a genuine opportunity to lead their lives as they wished, preserving Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Joins Bihar Chief Minister in Inaugurating Bodh Mahotsava 2012.

Februrary 3, 2012 – Bodhgaya.

The Gyalwang Karmapa participated today in the opening of the Bodh Mahotsava 2012, a three-day cultural festival commemorating the 2,600th anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment here in Bodhgaya.

In the afternoon, His Holiness inaugurated a ceremony in which Lord Buddha’s relics were paraded through the village atop an elephant. Upon arriving at the Mahabodhi Society of India, the Gyalwang Karmapa first said prayers before the image of Lord Buddha. Next, he ascended to a lofty podium, which he shared with Bihar Minister of Tourism, Sunil Kumar Pintoo. In company with the minister, the Gyalwang Karmapa ceremoniously handed the precious relics of Lord Buddha to a senior monk seated atop a lavishly adorned elephant. As the relics made their dignified way through Bodhgaya, they were escorted by a long and colorful procession of monks, dancers, musicians, delegates from around the world and around India, as well as more elephants and camels.

Festival Read the rest of this article

In Teaching During Winter Debate, Gyalwang Karmapa Stresses Integration of Study and Practice.

Februrary 2, 2012 – Bodhgaya.

As has become an annual custom, the Gyalwang Karmapa today addressed the entire gathering of monastics attending the 15th Annual Kagyu Gunchö (Kagyu Winter Debates) in Bodhgaya. Half an hour after the doors opened for the afternoon session, the assembly hall filled Tergar Monastery to overflowing, with nearly 1,000 monks and nuns occupying the bulk of the large hall, and laypeople seated in the little space remaining in the back and spilling outside onto the lawn surrounding the assembly hall.

The theme for His Holiness’ talk was Motivation, Conduct and Inspiration for Study and Practice. The Gyalwang Karmapa described the historical trajectory of study and debate within the Karma Kagyu, noting the influence of the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje. He described a tendency in recent times for study institutions, or “shedra” to become distanced from the remainder of the monastery of which they form a part. With separate fund-raising Read the rest of this article