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The 30th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo Day Three

23rd December – Bodhgaya.

Mahayana Sojong
As Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche began giving the Mahayana Sojong vows, the generator malfunctioned, leading to a massive power failure; the stage and much of the pavilion were plunged into darkness. Unfazed, Rinpoche waited calmly, and resumed the Sojong ritual as soon as power was restored.

Gyalwang Karmapa’s activities
Gyalwang Karmapa attended the second session and taught on “Three Primary Elements of the Path”. Much of the remainder of his day was taken up by audiences.

In the afternoon a public audience with Gyalwang Karmapa was scheduled for 3.00 pm in Tergar main shrine hall. However, so many people had arrived and the crush was so great that the time of the audience was moved forward. Approximately 2000 people—the head of security commented that there were too many to count precisely — gathered for the audience. So many attended that it was necessary to set up a special security system. Read the rest of this article

The 30th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo Day Two

22nd December – Bodhgaya.

The work of the Kagyupa International Monlam Trust
The annual Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya is organised by The Kagyupa International Trust, a charitable organisation registered in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India.

Although its main activity is the Monlam festival, it also organises various charitable activities within the Bodhgaya area to coincide with the festival. These have included free medical camps, food for the poor, distribution of blankets and rice to the poor, and work to improve the environment.

Early morning at Tergar and the Monlam Pavilion
At 4.00 am promptly the wake-up gong resounded across the Garchen, followed shortly afterwards by a loud broadcast of the Gyalwang Karmapa chanting Milarepa’s aspiration prayer. The monks stirred and stumbled and coughed their way into the day.

Once more, a heavy mist lay over the land as ghostly people made their way to Mahayana Sojong at 6.00 am in the Monlam Read the rest of this article

The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day Two – Mahayana Sojong Vows

2 March, 2012 Bodhgaya

At the close of the first day, the chief chötrimpa (disciplinarian) gently chided some of the monks for being late for the first session of the Monlam. Today, everyone was on time.

The session began with Gyaltsap Rinpoche bestowing the Mahayana Sojong vows, proceeded on to the refuge prayers in Sanskrit, and then on to the Twenty Branch Monlam. The Gyalwang Karmapa  attended the second session of the Monlam but not the other sessions. He worked busily in his quarters with preparations and audiences. He also visited the Nyingma Monastery and dropped in on the gelong and gelongma who eat lunch in the shrine room at Tergar Monastery. In the evening he went to the Monlam Pavilion to supervise the final rehearsal for the evening performance of “Karma Pakshi” on the 3rd March.

Gyalwang Karmapa’s teachings on the pure realms to the East and West

—Day 2

March 2, 2012, underneath the blue arch of the Monlam Pavilion, the Gyalwang Karmapa continued to teach on the pureland of Sukhavati (Dewachen). Yesterday, he talked about Read the rest of this article

The 29th Kagyu Monlam: Day One – Mahayana Sojong Vows

29 1 March, 2012 Bodhgaya

The sounds of auto rickshaws reverberated through Bodhgaya in the wee hours of March 1st, 2012 as monks, nuns and laypeople made their way to Tergar Monastery to attend the first day of the eight-day Kagyu Monlam prayer festival, and to receive Mahayana Sojong vows. Sojong vows taken for the benefit of all beings are called Mahayana sojong vows.

The Tibetan word sojong is the equivalent of the Sanskrit uposatha. The reason why the vows taken in our tradition are called the Mahayana sojong vows is the unique motivation. Ordinary uposatha precepts are usually taken with the intention to purify one’s negativities and to attain one’s own liberation. However, if we take these ethical vows with the intention of benefiting all beings, then – owing to the great power of motivation – the results of maintaining self-discipline are immeasurably bigger.

The sun was yet to rise but the sky was already luminous. Hundreds Read the rest of this article

27th Kagyu Monlam Opens in Bodhgaya – A Theme of “Gratitude”

December 24, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

As His Holiness moved through the dawn mist yesterday to take his place under the graceful branches of the Bodhi Tree, the long-awaited 27th Kagyu Monlam was officially underway. The theme for this year’s prayer gathering is “gratitude,” and this theme was surely reflected in the hearts of the thousands of disciples who managed to bring together the conditions to be present in Bodhgaya after this year of economic turmoil.

The Gyalwang Karmapa opened Kagyu Monlam by offering the 24-hour Mahayana Sojong precepts to the immense gathering of monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. His Holiness has noted in the past that aspirations made by men and women together are more powerful and carry greater effects, as are the aspirations made by people holding vows. As such, the Mahayana Sojong ceremony is a particularly appropriate way to open Kagyu Monlam, since it allows monastic and lay to observe pure ethical discipline and so to strengthen the power of the prayers they make throughout the day.

During the second session of the day, His Holiness continued the reading transmission of The Life of Milarepa that he had begun in previous years. This year he will conclude that transmission, and in honor of that, the Read the rest of this article