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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 Procession of the Sixteen Arhats


18 February, 2017Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

The Kagyu Mönlam is an auspicious gathering that generates immense devotion in its participants, and amongst its events, none does it more than the Procession of the Sixteen Arhats, which took place in the morning on the sixth day. Anticipation began the evening before, with the announcement that Mönlam Members were to line up to frame the procession, and that all participants would have the opportunity to make an offering.

In the morning, Mönlam participants arrived to find the Pavilion transformed. The central aisle had become a beautifully elaborate carpet of flowers, leading up to a giant golden bowl overflowing with piled fruits. Precious seats for the Sixteen Arhats were laid out on the main stage, where a black pagoda shrine occupied the centre ground.

More transformation was in store. In the Read the rest of this article

Offerings to the Sangha: the Alms Procession and the 16 Arhats

2016.02.21
21 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya
The tradition of almsgiving dates back to the beginnings of Buddhism, 2500 years ago. At that time monks and nuns were not allowed to keep or prepare food and were therefore completely dependent on whatever they were offered to eat by the local community. Each morning they would go from door to door and collect food. By offering food to the Sangha, laypeople not only showed their respect to the spiritual values that the Sangha symbolized, but were able to accumulate merit both by the action of generosity towards the Sangha and also by sharing in the merit which the monks and nuns generated through their spiritual practice.

In some Buddhist countries, the custom of the alms round has survived to this day, but in Tibet, because monasteries were supported by the local communities, it was no longer Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Discusses the Power of Remorse for Purification

2016.01.30
January 30th, 2016 –Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya, Bihar, India
The Sutra Teaching the Four Qualities speaks of the Four Powers in the following way:

    Maitreya! If bodhisattva mahasattvas have found these four things they will overcome evils that have been committed and established. What are these four? They are (1) the power of the thorough application of total remorse, (2) the power of thoroughly applying the remedy, (3) the power of renouncing harmful acts, and (4) the power of the support.

Today, His Holiness the Karmapa continued the teachings from yesterday’s topic on confessing one’s misdeeds, specifically focusing on two of the Four Powers. Reading through the transmission of Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation, which today covered the first power of remorse and its three divisions, the Karmapa took up the question Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Begins His Winter Activity in Bodhgaya

2016.01.01
January 1, 2016 – Bodhgaya,Bihar.
His Holiness left Tergar Monastery in the early morning to begin the western New Year by offering his homage at the Mahabodhi Temple, marking the place where the Buddha attained full awakening. The Gyalwang Karmapa was welcomed to the sacred site by Mr. N.T. Dorje, Secretary of the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee, and the Head Monk-in-Charge the Venerable Bande.

The Gyalwang Karmapa passed under the first gate, covered in beautiful flowers, and descended the long steps on the path to the main temple. Along both sides stood disciples holding white offering scarves and colorful blossoms to brighten his passage and receive his blessing. Once inside the shrine, His Holiness offered to the radiant Buddha statue, golden robes along with heaping bowls of fruit and generous arrangements of flowers. After Read the rest of this article