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Losar Day Three: The Sangharama Ritual


1 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

The protector Sangharama, also known by the name Guan Yu or Guan Gong, is a Chinese deity but also one of the protectors of the Karmapa’s Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet.

The connection between Sangharama and the Karmapa lineage began when the 5th Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa, travelled to China at the invitation of the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Sangharama, a local Chinese deity who lived on a mountain, was so impressed by the Karmapa, he decided to follow Deshin Shekpa back to Tsurphu Monastery, where the Karmapa offered him a new home on one of the mountains behind the monastery. It then became the tradition at Tsurphu to offer a practice to Sangharama each Losar. When the 16th Karmapa fled Tibet, the ritual was lost. The 17th Karmapa wrote a new liturgy, the one performed today, which uses both Tibetan Read the rest of this article

The Second Day of Losar: The Great Seating Ceremony


28 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
On the second day of Losar, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa acknowledged all those who share the responsibility, happiness and burden of his Office of Administration, the Tsurphu Labrang, and those who work in organising the extensive Kagyu Monlam. This ceremony, known also as the Row Ceremony because everyone is seated in rows in front of the Karmapa, was a part of the Tsurphu Monastery Losar tradition. It was a blend of a lavish Tibetan style banquet and a carefully executed monastic ceremony.

On the screen, the sky with rushing clouds covered the main wall, creating an impression that this great gathering was being held under the open skies of Tibet and a huge white decorated ram’s head placed in the center, signified auspiciousness for the next year.

The decoration of the Pavilion was much 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

The Gyalwang Karmapa Visits the 28th Nyingma Monlam Chenmo


January 30, 2017 – Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
This morning the Gyalwang Karmapa traveled to the Mahabodhi Stupa to visit the Nyingma Monlam Chenmo, taking place from January 28 to February 6, 2017. Arriving for the first session, the Karmapa was received by Minling Khenchen Rinpoche, the current president of Nyingma Monlam Chenmo International Foundation. He accompanied the Karmapa as he made prayers and offerings inside the main temple and then greeted each of the lamas presiding over large groups of monks, nuns, and lay practitioners in all four directions.

In front of the main altar, stretched out before the Bodhi Tree and filled with offerings, the Karmapa stopped to offer a white silk scarf and admire the tormas, some of which depicted important Nyingma lamas, the main one being a powerful Read the rest of this article

Direct Instructions on the Great Compassionate One, Day One.


January 17, 2017 – Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
The main shrine hall at Tergar was filled to the far walls with monks who had come from India, Nepal, and Bhutan for this year’s Twentieth Winter Debates. Today the Gyalwang Karmapa began his discussion of two sections from the 8th Karmapa’s text, One Hundred Short Instructions. Both relate to the embodiment of all the Buddhas’ compassion, Avalokiteshvara, and are known as the Direct Instructions on the Great Compassionate One, Avalokiteshvara, and the Three Essential Points.

The Karmapa remarked that the numerous practices related to Avalokiteshvara along with their instructions mainly belong to five oral lineages, well known in Tibet, that descend from Atisha, Gelongma Palmo, Dawa Gyaltsen, Mitra Yogi, and Tsembupa. Today’s text stems from the tradition of the mahasiddha Read the rest of this article