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Celebrating Republic Day 2014

2014.01.26 Republic day

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

Gyalwang Karmapa Opens the Animal Camp

2014.01.22
January 22, 2014

Monlam Pavilion Grounds

 

Gyalwang Karmapa took a short break this morning from his teachings on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation in order to  inaugurate the first ever Kagyu Monlam Animal Camp, which opened here in Bodhgaya today. Having been greeted by the staff, he toured the facility, watched dogs being prepared for surgery, and had a glimpse of the operating theatre, before returning to resume his teachings to the nuns attending the 1st Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering for Nuns.

Spread across the fallow ground between the Monlam Pavilion and Tergar Monastery, the Kagyu Monlam Animal Camp comprises two parts. Outside, near the main gate to the pavilion, stands the outpatients’ reception, where local people can bring domestic animals and pets of all sizes for examination and non-surgical treatment. Inside the grounds, the former Garchen kitchen tent has been transformed into a holding area for stray dogs, an operating theatre, where four vets can work Read the rest of this article

Musical Offerings to the Buddha: The Marme Monlam


January 16, 2014

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

 

Right on time at 7:30, the Gyalwang Karmapa arrived to take his seat in front of the stage and the light show starts, bathing the stage in indigo blue as the spotlights find the golden statue of the Buddha who seems to float in space. On stage left appear two monks, who will be the MCs for the evening, one for Tibetan and one for English. They open with words of praise, reciting:

    Your orb of wisdom fills the space of all that is knowable; your thousand rays of deeds strike the ground, clearly illuminating all the Buddha’s teachings.
    Precious Kagyu gurus we bow to you in respect.

After this invocation, warm greetings are offered to all the guests, beginning with Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche, the tulkus and khenpos, continuing to the ordained and lay sangha, who have come from around the world.

The Buddha said in The King of Samadhi Sutra that we should always make unsurpassed offerings of fine songs and dance, pleasing and delightful music, and glowing rows of lamps, so performances such as musical offerings and dance are a way to bring pleasure Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Introduction to the Tsechu Lama Dance


Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya, India
January 10, 2014
The tenth and twenty-fifth days of the lunar month are significant times for practice. The outer reason is that according to tantric teachings, on these dates, the heroes and yoginis from the twenty four sacred sites naturally gather to bless the yogi. The inner reason is that the meditator’s subtle channels, winds, and essence drops naturally gather around the central channel on these dates, so they are a superior time for meditation. The secret reason is that if a yogi performs a puja with the particular samadhi of the secret mantra, there is especially great merit.

Another reason why the tenth day is significant is its association with Guru Padmasambhava. Many in Tibet consider that Padmasambhava was extraordinarily kind to the Snow Land of Tibet. He himself said that in the future he will actually come on the tenth day of every lunar month to bless his followers.

The History of the Tsechu Puja

The Tsechu Lama dance arose 800 years ago from the pure visions of Guru Chöwang. There are long and short versions. The long is called the black hat dance, and the short the white horse Read the rest of this article

Uma Debate

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December 27, 2013
Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya, India
In the main shrine hall of Tergar Monastery, a large chair with a curving back covered in luminous white silk has been placed in front of the Buddha. His Holiness the Karmapa has taken his seat there to witness and participate in today’s debates on the Middle Way (Madhyamaka) view. The participants are senior monks and teachers from various monasteries, who have formed two groups, one of the defenders, seated behind a row of ornately painted tables, and the other of the questioners, who are gathered behind a standing microphone about fifteen feet away. Displayed on two screens flanking the Karmapa are digital clocks, counting down the split seconds of the fifty minutes for this debate.

The debate is unhesitating, animated, and vigorous. In the midst of the intense exchanges, the Karmapa listens with complete attention, sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a critical look. He raises his arms out, stopping the debate to challenge and clarify. The usual protocol of great deference is Read the rest of this article