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Gutor Day One: Protector Practices to Prepare for the Blossoming of the New Year


21 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

For over three hundred years, from the time of the Fourth to Tenth Karmapa, the Karmapas traveled extensively in what was known as the Great Encampment. This allowed them to reach disciples all over Tibet with great flexibility and spontaneity. From the time of the Seventh Karmapa (1454-1506), the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo as well took place wherever the Karmapa happened to be on the date for the event. Following in this tradition, the Monlam Pavilion in Bodh Gaya is a flexible, open space that transforms into whatever is needed at the time.

Its latest reincarnation is as a protector shrine or gönkhang, which can be found at most Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, though they are often off limits to the uninitiated. The Pavilion has been magnificently arranged for the rituals of Gutor—six days of extensive Read the rest of this article

Reviving the Tradition of the Cotton-Clad Yogis


19 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
The source for all practices and traditions that are followed at the Kagyu Monlam is the Seventh Karmapa, Chödrak Gyatso (1454-1506). In a letter to Minyak Gang Monastery in Kham, Chödrak Gyatso described how to combine the practices of the Six Yogas with the Monlam they were practicing. The letter detailed what to do, which texts to chant, and the practice of wearing the white cloth (ras bud byed pa). Usually the term cotton-clad (ras pa) refers to the followers of Milarepa (Mi la ras pa) who were mountain yogis and yoginis clad in white cloth. The other Kagyu tradition of Gampopa is for ordained monks who wear burgundy robes.

Evoking the tradition of Milarepa, a particular practice of wearing white cloth occurs at the end of a three-year retreat, and also in some monasteries on special days, such as Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Introduces the Chakrasamvara Empowerment


February 6, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodh Gaya, India
When the Karmapa discussed the special event of the Grand Empowerment of Chakrasamvara during the Winter Debates, he explained, “Usually I do not give many empowerments, only two or three a year, and a grand empowerment from the unexcelled yoga tantra I have only given once before in this lifetime. It was when Tenga Rinpoche was still with us, and he assisted me in giving the vase empowerment from this same Great Empowerment of Chakrasamvara.”

The Karmapa confessed, there were no plans to give this empowerment, but “This year the teachings from the Torch of True Meaning are on Guru Yoga and in conjunction with it, I had planned to teach the Four Session Guru Yoga. Then I newly received instructions from past lamas on the Four Session Guru Yoga, so I took the opportunity to publish the Read the rest of this article

The 32nd International Kagyu Monlam Begins in Bodhgaya

2014.12.29
29 December, 2014-12-30 Monlam Pavilion

Clusters of people were already making their way through the security check, when His Holiness arrived at the Monlam Pavilion for the first session of the 32nd Monlam at just turned 5.00am.

A new concrete road, laid specially for the International Buddhist Conclave, held at the Monlam Pavilion in late September, stretches from the Sujata Bypass past Tergar Monastery to the Monlam Pavilion. All those who walk along it pass under the very plain Monlam entrance gate—a simple structure of cloth, painted plywood and bamboo. The same as last year, it bears prayer flags of the dhayani mantra of Akshobhya Buddha, which has the power to purify all those who pass beneath. The right-hand pillar is decorated with the colours associated with Buddhism and used in Buddhist flags. The six colours represent the Read the rest of this article

Returning the Buddha’s Words to the Source: Kangyur Procession

2014.01.13
January 13, 2014

Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya

Echoes of enlightenment

The morning dawns grey and foggy on the third day of the Monlam, as all gather at the Monlam Pavilion where the Gyalwang Karmapa once more gives the day’s Sojong Vows.

Shortly afterwards he leaves the stage to prepare for the Kangyur Procession, the only major activity of the 31st Kagyu Monlam scheduled to take place at the Mahabodhi Stupa.

2500 years after Shakyamuni Buddha attained awakening beneath the branches of the sacred Bodhi Tree, today the Gyalwang Karmapa returns a complete copy of all the Buddha’s words—known in Tibetan as the Kangyur—to the place of origin, the centre of the Buddhist universe.

These are words born of an enlightened mind that have since spread out in all directions, like golden threads weaving Read the rest of this article