Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Woodstock, New York
April 10, 2018
In the packed shrine hall at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, a golden pavilion now enshrines a powerful statue of Guru Rinpoche with tiers of offerings arrayed below. The altar had been carefully prepared for a special practice related to Guru Rinpoche’s heart, known as “The Eight Chapters: An Activity Liturgy for Guru Guhyasamaja.” It singles out Guru Rinpoche in the form of Oddiyana Vajradhara, one of his eight manifestations.
For the Karma Kamtsang lineage, this is one of the most important terma treasures or rediscovered texts, which comes from Chögyi Wangchuk, (Guru Chöwang 1212-1270), the second of five great treasure revealers or tertons. He offered this text to the Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1206-1283), who was the terdak, or rightful owner of the terma, and from that time, the practice has passed down the Karmapa’s lineage to the present Seventeenth Karmapa.
The full-fledged practice complete with vajra lama dancing (cham) is performed extensively every two years at Tsurphu Monastery, the Karmapa’s seat in Tibet, and also in Rumtek, his monastery in India. The Seventeenth Karmapa performed this practice for the first time in Bodhgaya, India in 2014, and for the vajra lama dances, he himself danced the main role of Guru Rinpoche. Today’s ceremony in New York was the first time this practice in its present form has been performed in the West. From his throne, the Karmapa led the practice as the chant master and also sang in a deeply moving voice the special song for the feast offering.
As Situ Rinpoche has stated, “The 17th Karmapa is not an emanation of Guru Rinpoche. He is Guru Rinpoche.” For those present this was an exceptional occasion as the Karmapa presided over this profound Guru Rinpoche practice at his seat in North America for the first time. Clearly a day to be remembered.