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Celebrating the Life of the Eighth Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche: A Ritual of Offerings to the Gurus


19 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
The extensive Ritual of Offerings to the Gurus, always performed on the last day of the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, was composed in 2005 by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. It is a compilation drawn from many famous Buddhist texts. The puja often serves as a memorial to a particular Lama who has passed away, and this year a large portrait photograph of the Eighth Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche was placed centrally below the shrine.

The stage had been rearranged following the Sixteen Arhat and Alms Procession the previous day. Four of the victory banners from that procession remained on the top tier of the stage, and the others were arrayed in the wings. Below them, three tiers of heavily laden offering tables stood to left and right of the pagoda shrine containing the infant Buddha. The bottom tier was replete with Read the rest of this article

Akong Tulku Memorial Soup Kitchen


14 February, 2017 – All India Bikkhu Sangha and Shakya Muni College, Bodhgaya
On the second day of the 34th Kagyu Monlam, the Gyalwang Karmapa blessed the opening of the Akong Tulku Memorial Soup Kitchen, which this year will operate for five days from the 14th to 18th of February. For many years the soup kitchen has offered nutritious hot food to the people of Bodhgaya and surrounding villages. This forms an ideal partnership with the Kagyu Monlam Medical Camp as the two organisations continue to work together to fulfill the Gyalwang Karmapa’s aspirations for a world where everyone is valued and cared for equally: putting non-partisan compassion into practical action.

The idea for offering to run a soup kitchen at the Kagyu Monlam came about twelve years ago, when a group of Akong Tulku Rinpoche’s students from Samye Ling Monastery in Read the rest of this article

The Opening Session of the 34th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo in Bodhgaya


13 February 2017 – Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya

Thriving Aspirations for the World come from a Peaceful Mind

Just before the break of dawn, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa led the assembly of many thousands into the seven days of virtue and pure aspirations of the 34th Kagyu Monlam.

With a wish to re-establish ancient connections, His Holiness has instated Sanskrit chants at the beginning of the first session. The impressive Sanskrit sounds resounded in harmony through the dark of the Bodhgaya morning, reminiscent of Buddhism’s origins.

“This is the Vajra Seat, the essence of enlightenment,” the Karmapa said and initiated this Monlam by imparting the Sojong vows followed by advice on how to make our aspirations truly fruitful.

He inspired those gathered there with his advice on the need to bring Read the rest of this article

More Precious than a Wishfulfilling Jewel

Eight Verses of Mind Training, Session 1

January 11, 2014

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

After a night of continuous rain across Bodhgaya, the first, brief rays of sunlight finally emerged just as the Gyalwang Karmapa prepared to begin his first teaching of the 31st Kagyu Monlam Chenmo.

In the lead up to the program, he had earlier explained his choice of texts for this year’s activities. During the pre-Monlam teachings the week before, he had taught for three days on Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye’s text, The Torch of Certainty. And, for the teachings during the actual Kagyu Monlam itself, he chose to teach on the Eight Verses of Mind Training by the great Kadampa master, Geshe Langri Tangpa.

The reason for this particular combination of texts, the Gyalwang Karmapa explained, goes back to the Kagyu founding luminary Gampopa, who skilfully combined both the Kadampa and Mahamudra traditions. This year, the Karmapa explained, he wanted to also combine texts from these two traditions during his Bodhgaya activities as a conscious reflection of Gampopa’s accomplishment, in modern practice.

The Gyalwang Karmapa began the teaching by explaining how the Read the rest of this article

The 31st Kagyu Monlam

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January 11, 2014
Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

Arriving at the centre

In the pitch black of the early morning, as lines of people make their way to Tergar Monastery, a rare winter rain falls steadily over Bodhgaya. Arriving from all directions they converge at the centre of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s vast mandala, the Monlam Pavilion, where his Buddha activities are about to commence.

The wet, muddy paths mean the usual long queues are fast-tracked, and people pass relatively quickly down the slippery driveway. They enter through the Monlam welcome gate, adorned with fluttering prayer flags and rows of fairy lights glowing in the early morning darkness.

Inside the vast pavilion, clouds of fragrant incense permeate the space as the neatly laid out mats gradually fill with people. Rows of monks and nuns, heads freshly shaven, sit Read the rest of this article