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26th Kagyu Monlam at a Glance

Aspiration:

A drop of water which falls into a great ocean will neither be exhausted nor cease to exist until the end of the universe. Likewise, a virtuous root dedicated toward attaining enlightenment will neither be exhausted nor cease to exist until you reach perfect enlightenment.
– The Sutra spoken by Noble Inexhaustible Intelligence

The International Kagyu Monlam is an eight day Buddhist prayer festival held annually in Bodhgaya, the place of Buddha’s enlightenment. His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, presides over the festival, supported by many leading Rinpoches from the Kagyu tradition, including H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, H.E. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Ven. Zurmang Garwang Rinpoche, Ven. Kalu Rinpoche, Ven. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Ven. Mingyur Rinpoche. Read more

The 26th Kagyu Monlam Begins

Saturday January 04, 2009

His Holiness dedicated the first day of Kagyu Monlam Puja to the victims of recent Mumbai attack.

26th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo began with a quiet thick, damp fog blanketed all over Bodh Gaya. At 5 am the participants proceeded to the Mahabodhi Stupa, only gradually did their forms emerge from the silent mist. The closer to the Stupa they came, the greater were their numbers, until monks, nuns and laypeople from all parts of the world came streaming through the great gates of the Stupa complex and began their circumambulation of the ancient site, murmuring mantras and prayers. An electricity cut made the early morning seem even more mystical, and the reduced lighting caused the Stupa to appear floating in space and insubstantial.

Beneath the Bodhi Tree, devotees found their way to their seats and sat waiting expectantly for the arrival of His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa, Jamgon Rinpoche, Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche and other high lamas. Fragrant incense wafted in the air, every stupa, wall and railing was decorated with strings of marigolds, and the Kagyu Monlam Shrine stretched resplendently across the front of the assembly against a background of draping yellow and blue cloth. Monks and nuns donned their yellow Read the rest of this article

The Third day of Gyalwang Karmapa’s Lineage Practice Teachings

Thursday January 2, 2009

On the last morning of the teachings Gyalwang Karmapa conferred the Bodhisattva Vow and spoke about developing bodhichitta.

He began by detailing the necessary conditions when taking the Bodhisattva Vow.

First came motivation and then there needed to be a support – either a human, a deity or a god. The vow could be taken in front of a Lama, a spiritual friend or a support such as a picture. The maximum support was someone who held the eight Pratimoksha vows, the minimum support was someone with the refuge vows.

Third was the ritual. His Holiness chose to use three verses from Shantideva’s “ The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life”, which contained all three possible forms of the vow, the aspirational, the engaged, and both.

When taking the vow we needed the intention to benefit all sentient beings, who were our mothers as limitless as space. The best way to prepare our minds and to accumulate merit, which would develop and increase the power of the vow, was to recite the Seven Branch Prayer.

For beginners there would be more Read the rest of this article

New Year’s Day: Gyalwang Karmapa Attends Interfaith Prayer Meeting for World Peace

Thursday 1st January 2009

His Holiness made a surprise visit to the Mahabodhi Stupa as guest-of-honour at an inter-faith prayer meeting, under the bodhi tree, where a small crowd was gathered, mainly Indian sangha, local schoolchildren, and representatives of the faith communities in Bodh Gaya. A few Tibetans and Westerners were also evident.
His Holiness first visited the main shrine hall and paid respect to Buddha image, later attended the meeting.

The meeting, organized by the International Buddhist Council of India, Bodh Gaya and Gaya branch, the Mahabodhi Management Committee and the local interfaith organisation, was held partly in memory of those who had died in the November Mumbai bombings, partly as an opportunity to pray for world peace and harmony on New Year’s Day. Read more

The First Day of Gyalwang Karmapa’s Lineage Practice Teachings

Wednesday 31st December, 2008

These teachings, sponsored and organized by the Hwa-Yue Foundation from Taiwan, are the third in a series of teachings entitled: Lineage Practice Teachings. More than one thousand five hundred people filled the main assembly hall at Tergar Monastery to listen to His Holiness deliver the teachings in a mixture of Tibetan and Chinese. Chinese devotees from Taiwan and Hong Kong formed the majority of the audience. However, there were also disciples from the Americas, from Europe and from other Asian countries including Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The morning and afternoon sessions began with prayers in Chinese, accompanied by traditional Chinese instruments – a wooden bell beaten to keep time, and a bronze bell. At the morning session, representatives from the audience prostrated along with the Gyalwang Karmapa.

His Holiness’ theme was teacher and student. He began by joking that these teachings, and the ‘English’ ones which would follow Monlam, were as much a test of his burgeoning linguistic skills as of his dharma knowledge and experience. He then congratulated the audience on attending the teachings in spite of the Read the rest of this article