3.00 am. In the early morning darkness the only movement was from hundreds of festive red and golden fairy lights, strung in glittering garlands from the roof and walls of the temple. They swayed gently, their reflections shimmering in the windows. Suddenly, the stillness was rent by the call of Tibetan trumpets across the rooftops of Tergar Monastery: the Tibetan Year of the Male Wood Horse had arrived. Although the majority of Tibetans these days keep the Phukluk calendar, dating from 1447 CE and named after Phukpa Lhundrup Gyatso who founded the astrological tradition on which it is based, the Gyalwang Karmapas have preserved an earlier tradition. Known as the Tsurluk calendar, because of its association with Tsurphu Monastery, it is based on an astrological treatise The Compendium of Astrology compiled by the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284 CE -1339 CE). It became popular during the time of the Seventh Karmapa Chodrak Gyatso, and remains the official calendar of the Karma Kamtsang to Read the rest of this article
Despite his heavy teaching schedule, the Gyalwang Karmapa slipped away during the lunch break to visit the Cham dancing at the Royal Bhutanese Monastery, Druk Ngawang Thubten Chokling. The monastery is the seat of the Shabdrung of Bhutan, and belongs to the Drukpa Kagyu tradition.
As His Holiness’ car approached, a line of leaping performers danced out to greet him, forming a unique, Bhutanese-style serbang or ceremonial procession to escort his car through the welcome gate into the monastery grounds and to the temple, where the Abbot and senior monks were waiting for him.
Entering the three-storey temple, the Karmapa first lit two butter lamps as offerings on the altar, and prostrated three times. At the request of the Abbot, he then consecrated a new Buddha statue, before sitting down on the throne to receive a kusungthug mandala offering, presented by the abbot and senior monks, accompanied by the mother of the young incarnation of the Shabdrung.
His Holiness’ next duty was to Read the rest of this article
January 26, 2014
At 9.30am, during the morning tea break, His Holiness momentarily put aside his teachings on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation and went outside for a flag-raising ceremony to celebrate Republic Day. Hundreds of nuns, monks, and laypeople crowded after him to watch. And across India, the peoples of the world’s largest democracy celebrated its 65th Republic Day in similar ways.
On the paved path between the gated entrance to the monastery and the main shrine hall, more than a hundred young monks with their teachers lined up in straight lines and stood to attention. Smartly kitted in khaki, Army security stood to attention, presenting arms with their automatic rifles. Indian security police, standing straight and tall, saluted. His Holiness stood and watched respectfully, as Bo Gongkar Rinpoche raised the Indian national flag. Emblazoned with Emperor Ashoka’s 24-spoke chakra wheel in navy blue, the tricolour flag —with saffron, green and white panels— Read the rest of this article
A Mandala That Brings Happiness and Benefit to Animals: Inauguration of Extended Veterinarian Camp Programme in Bodhgaya
January 24, 2014
Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi was Chief Guest at the inauguration of this new initiative by Kagyupa International Monlam Trust aimed at alleviating the suffering of animals in Gaya District, Bihar, and thereby improving the health of the local human population too. Mrs. Gandhi has been a long-standing member of the Parliament serving as a minister in four Governments, and is renowned for her love and care for animals. During her political career she has worked to pass important legislation, including specific measures to protect the environment, to promote social welfare and to protect the rights of animals. She helped set up new institutions such as the National Zoo Authority and the Animal Welfare Board of India. She also runs her own animal sanctuary in the heart of New Delhi, named in honour of her late husband, Sanjay Gandhi. This sanctuary, established in 1983, is the largest of its kind in Asia and cares for 3000 animals at any one time.
The ceremony opened with a speech by Dr Read the rest of this article
Sessions 1, 2, 3
Although still cloudy, the land was clear of mist and fog this morning, when the gong sounded clearly across the Garchen at 3.00am, waking the monks and nuns in order to attend the full-moon day sojong for ordained sangha at 4.00am, administered by Khenpo Lodrö Dönyö Rinpoche. Laypeople began arriving at the Monlam Pavilion two hours later to receive the Mahayana Sojong vows bestowed by the Gyalwang Karmapa.
On the top tier of the stage, the great tormas rose magnificently, set against a translucent blue sky peppered with white clouds, projected on to the new screen background, installed three days ago. This screen will be used for visual effects during the Marme Monlam on 16th January, and stretches the width of the stage, concealing the painting of Mt. Kailash.
The Karmapa sat facing the congregation on a low seat, flanked by Gyaltsab Rinpoche and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. Behind, a row of Chinese-style festive banners had Read the rest of this article