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In Praise of Bhikshunis: A Ritual for the Nuns’ Dharma to Flourish

2015.01.20i
20 January 2015, Tergar Monastery
During the Second Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, the Gyalwang Karmapa led a special ritual that he himself had composed, making powerful aspirations in support of all female practitioners and particularly for the flourishing of the nuns’ dharma.

Blending his voice with those of the female chantmasters, the Karmapa led the gathering through a recitation drawn from the ‘Sutra of Repaying Kindness, Great Skill in Means’, in praise of the qualities of nine exceptional Bhikshunis who were the direct disciples of the Buddha. “May we have the merit to uphold the teachings properly like the Buddha’s mother, the elder Bhikshuni Mahaprajapati Gautami,” the verse began.

    “May we be supreme among all with prajna and confidence like Bhikshuni Kshema,
    May we be supreme among all with miraculous powers like Bhikshuni Utpalavarna,
    May we be supreme among teachers like Bhikshuni Dharmadatta,
    May we be supreme among those who uphold the vinaya like Krsa Read the rest of this article

A Special Ritual for the Nuns’ Dharma to Flourish

2014.01.30 Dharma Flourishing for nuns
30 January 2014 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

In yet another special activity at the end of the first Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering—and, taking place on the last day of the year according to the Tsurphu calendar—the Gyalwang Karmapa led a ritual that he himself had personally composed especially for the nuns’ dharma to flourish.

At this auspicious moment, when nuns in the Karma Kagyu tradition are stepping forward to more fully inhabit their valuable place within the sangha, and to take full advantage of the opportunities opening up for them, the Gyalwang Karmapa decided to perform this ritual so that the Buddhist teachings in general, and the community of nuns in particular can thrive.

The ritual aims to dispel any harms, difficulties or obstacles to the nuns’ dharma, through powerful supplications to Avalokitesvara and the Buddha’s own personal attendant, Ananda.

The Gyalwang Karmapa explained that the Buddha himself Read the rest of this article

The 30th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo Day Eight

28th December – Bodhgaya.

Early morning, Tergar Monastery
4.45 am. From the Garchen a steady stream of spectral figures emerges on to the road. The monks and nuns are making their way to the Mahabodhi stupa, two kilometres away, for a special full-moon-day Vinaya sojong, scheduled to begin at 5.00 am. Laypeople are usually not allowed to be at this bi-monthly ritual of purification of downfalls and restoration of vows and precepts which only monks and nuns attend.

Mahayana Sojong at the Mahabodhi Stupa
The Gyalwang Karmapa gave the Mahayana Sojong vows, followed by a short talk on the importance of aspirations and dedications.

A short teaching by the Gyalwang Karmapa
During the previous seven days of the Monlam, the assembly has employed body, speech and mind to make aspirations for the benefit of all sentient beings and the Dharma. Now is the time to gather together the merit generated and dedicate it for all sentient beings that Read the rest of this article

The 30th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo Day Seven

27th December – Bodhgaya.

Mahayana Sojong at the Mahabodhi Stupa
The Mahayana Sojong vows were given by Kyabje Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche.

Foggy vista
For those watching the webcast, please note the picture is not out of focus! This is the fog that we’re encountering because of sudden wintry conditions across northern India. Fog at this time of year is not unusual. It often disrupts transport across northern India. However, this year it is much colder than usual and many of the poverty-stricken people across Bihar and other northern states are suffering immensely.

Sessions Two and Three: The Akshobhya Ritual Cycle
Gyalwang Karmapa arrived shortly before 9.00 am and greeted the rinpoches, lamas and khenpos already seated below the bodhi tree. Session Two began with the Short Vajradhara Lineage Prayer and then proceeded to the first part of today’s main focus, the Akshobhya Ritual and fire puja. Read more

The 30th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo Day Five

25th December – Bodhgaya.

Mahayana Sojong
Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche gave the Mahayana Sojong vows. Those who have taken Mahayana Sojong have to wait until daybreak in order to eat again. As the days pass, it seems the fog each morning thickens, and today it was impossible to tell when night ended and day began. However, breakfast was served at 6:35 am. The bread, fresh from the huge Garchen kitchen which produces 10,000 Tibetan breads each morning, was still warm, and we were able to wrap our hands around steaming cups of salty Tibetan butter tea for comfort against the cold.

Session Two: Vajrasattva Empowerment
The assembly chanted “Karmapa kyenno” while the Gyalwang Karmapa completed his preparations, meditating before the Buddha statue higher up on the tiered Monlam stage.

Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche took their seats, and then the Karmapa returned formally in procession to begin the empowerment. First he concluded the teaching on the Three Primary Elements of the Path by Je Tsong Khapa, and then, at the beginning of the empowerment, he linked the view of emptiness from the text with the empowerment, emphasising the importance of remembering Read the rest of this article