25th December – Bodhgaya.
Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche gave the Mahayana Sojong vows. Those who have taken Mahayana Sojong have to wait until daybreak in order to eat again. As the days pass, it seems the fog each morning thickens, and today it was impossible to tell when night ended and day began. However, breakfast was served at 6:35 am. The bread, fresh from the huge Garchen kitchen which produces 10,000 Tibetan breads each morning, was still warm, and we were able to wrap our hands around steaming cups of salty Tibetan butter tea for comfort against the cold.
Session Two: Vajrasattva Empowerment
The assembly chanted “Karmapa kyenno” while the Gyalwang Karmapa completed his preparations, meditating before the Buddha statue higher up on the tiered Monlam stage.
Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche took their seats, and then the Karmapa returned formally in procession to begin the empowerment. First he concluded the teaching on the Three Primary Elements of the Path by Je Tsong Khapa, and then, at the beginning of the empowerment, he linked the view of emptiness from the text with the empowerment, emphasising the importance of remembering that In a sense everything is emptiness.
He explained that this particular Vajrasattva empowerment had come from India via Marpa the Translator. During the empowerment, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Gyaltstab Rinpoche and Surmang Gawang Rinpoche represented the assembly, receiving the body, speech and mind initiations directly. Gyalwang Karmapa explained that the body initiation confers permission to visualise oneself as the deity; the speech initiation gives permission to recite the mantra; the mind initiation gives permission to meditate on the mind and experience of the buddhas.
During the session the Karmapa also announced the publication of a book specially for the commemoration of the Jamgon Kongtrul lineage celebrations: The Illuminating Orb of the Sun. Photographs Recalling the Incarnations of Jamgon Kongtrul
The final session in the afternoon ended earlier today in order to allow time for the relocation to the Mahabodhi Temple site.
Gyalwang Karmapa’s activities
In the afternoon Gyalwang Karmapa gave private audiences to more than two hundred devotees, many from Dharma centres world-wide. Today’s audience included people from Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, his seat in Woodstock, New York, U.S.A., Karma Choeling in Auckland, New Zealand, and Samye Ling in Scotland.
In the early evening he visited the main shrine room at Tergar to speak briefly to the nuns and monks rehearsing for the Alms and Kangyur processions.