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Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teaching During the 1st Arya Kshema Nuns’ Gathering – Why Bhikshuni Ordination is Important


21-24 January 2014 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

Women monastics are indispensible

During the historic first Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering for Kagyu nuns the Gyalwang Karmapa offered eight days of dharma discourses, interspersing his teachings with frank and well-researched advice on the important issue of full-nun’s ordination in Tibet (known in Sanskrit as ‘Bhikshuni’ ordination and in Tibetan as ‘Gelongma’ ordination).

Citing little-known textual descriptions, the Gyalwang Karmapa related accounts of thriving nuns’ communities—including many fully ordained nuns—in central areas of Tibet several centuries ago. However, such communities have disappeared and today there is no full ordination offered to nuns within the Tibetan tradition.

It is important for us to once again have a community of fully ordained nuns now, the Gyalwang Karmapa unequivocally said, stressing that only with the presence of fully ordained women is the Buddhist community complete.

Teaching primarily to around 207 nuns from six Kagyu nunneries who took part in the Arya Kshema Gathering, Read the rest of this article

Another Step Forward for the Nuns of the Karma Kamtsang: The Opening Ceremony of the 1st Annual Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering

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January 20, 2014

Tergar Monastery Shrine Room

 

The main shrine hall of Tergar Monastery had been transformed for this the first ever Karma Kamtsang Nuns’ Winter Dharma Gathering. The great tormas from the Kagyu Monlam had been brought over from the pavilion and, along with offerings of fruit, biscuits and sweets, intricately arranged into cylindrical shapes Korean style, they adorned the front of the dais behind the Gyalwang Karmapa’s throne.

The magnificent, brightly-coloured stitched thangkas of the Kagyu forefathers and lineage holders, which had lined the sides of the Monlam Pavilion aisle, now hung on either side of the central section of the shrine room. The 197 nuns, drawn from 6 Karma Kagyu nunneries in Bhutan, India and Nepal, along with a scattering of Chinese and Western nuns who follow the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, sat patiently in rows of raised seats, and a nun umze waited to lead the chanting..

The Gyalwang Karmapa has several times expressed his intention to raise the educational Read the rest of this article

Musical Offerings to the Buddha: The Marme Monlam


January 16, 2014

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

 

Right on time at 7:30, the Gyalwang Karmapa arrived to take his seat in front of the stage and the light show starts, bathing the stage in indigo blue as the spotlights find the golden statue of the Buddha who seems to float in space. On stage left appear two monks, who will be the MCs for the evening, one for Tibetan and one for English. They open with words of praise, reciting:

    Your orb of wisdom fills the space of all that is knowable; your thousand rays of deeds strike the ground, clearly illuminating all the Buddha’s teachings.
    Precious Kagyu gurus we bow to you in respect.

After this invocation, warm greetings are offered to all the guests, beginning with Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche, the tulkus and khenpos, continuing to the ordained and lay sangha, who have come from around the world.

The Buddha said in The King of Samadhi Sutra that we should always make unsurpassed offerings of fine songs and dance, pleasing and delightful music, and glowing rows of lamps, so performances such as musical offerings and dance are a way to bring pleasure Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Introduction to the Tsechu Lama Dance


Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya, India
January 10, 2014
The tenth and twenty-fifth days of the lunar month are significant times for practice. The outer reason is that according to tantric teachings, on these dates, the heroes and yoginis from the twenty four sacred sites naturally gather to bless the yogi. The inner reason is that the meditator’s subtle channels, winds, and essence drops naturally gather around the central channel on these dates, so they are a superior time for meditation. The secret reason is that if a yogi performs a puja with the particular samadhi of the secret mantra, there is especially great merit.

Another reason why the tenth day is significant is its association with Guru Padmasambhava. Many in Tibet consider that Padmasambhava was extraordinarily kind to the Snow Land of Tibet. He himself said that in the future he will actually come on the tenth day of every lunar month to bless his followers.

The History of the Tsechu Puja

The Tsechu Lama dance arose 800 years ago from the pure visions of Guru Chöwang. There are long and short versions. The long is called the black hat dance, and the short the white horse Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Bestows the Empowerment of Lama Sangwa Dupa: Guru Rinpoche Appears Again

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January 6, 2014
Continuing his immense generosity, the Gyalwang Karmapa bestowed a second empowerment of Guru Rinpoche, this time from the terma (rediscovered treasures) of Guru Chowang.  This great terton (treasure revealer) was a speech emanation of the Dharma King, Trisong Deutsen, and a reincarnation of Gyalse Lhaje, who was predicted to have thirteen successive reincarnations. Guru Chowang was the second of these and the last was the great master, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, a pillar of the nonsectarian movement of nineteenth century Tibet.

Again today, the Karmapa is seated on his high throne, and rising behind him is the immense thangka of Guru Rinpoche. He first performs the preliminaries of the initiation: purification by pouring blessed water over a sparkling mirror; cutting the boundaries for the empowerment by making offerings; and setting the blazing tent of vajras as protection. He reads in a resonant voice the introduction to the empowerment, which explains that this is a guru yoga, a practice devoted to realizing the inseparability Read the rest of this article