23rd December – Bodhgaya.
As Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche began giving the Mahayana Sojong vows, the generator malfunctioned, leading to a massive power failure; the stage and much of the pavilion were plunged into darkness. Unfazed, Rinpoche waited calmly, and resumed the Sojong ritual as soon as power was restored.
Gyalwang Karmapa’s activities
Gyalwang Karmapa attended the second session and taught on “Three Primary Elements of the Path”. Much of the remainder of his day was taken up by audiences.
In the afternoon a public audience with Gyalwang Karmapa was scheduled for 3.00 pm in Tergar main shrine hall. However, so many people had arrived and the crush was so great that the time of the audience was moved forward. Approximately 2000 people—the head of security commented that there were too many to count precisely — gathered for the audience. So many attended that it was necessary to set up a special security system. Those waiting were gathered on the lawn to the left of the shrine hall, where they joined a giant conga which snaked its way back and forth across the lawn until finally they reached the metal detector gate and security check. From there they had to queue once more to enter the hall. Having received a blessing, a red protection cord and a photo of Karmapa, people left from the other side. As fast as they exited, a continuous stream of others arrived, rushing around Tergar monastery to join the queue, as word of the audience spread across Bodhgaya.
Old people on walking sticks hobbled through the gates as quickly as they were able, mothers holding babies and clutching young children, youths in blue jeans, leather jackets and gelled hair, non-Tibetan sangha, Bhutanese, Sikkimese and Himalayan people in traditional dress, Tibetans, Westerners, Chinese, all thronged into Tergar; it seemed as if the whole world was represented. Two hours later, the Karmapa went up to his quarters to begin the schedule of private audiences, mainly groups of international students from various centres world-wide. These audiences finished shortly before 6.00 pm.