From his rooftop apartment at Tergar Monastery, His Holiness Karmapa made a statement about the theme of this year’s Monlam.
‘Last year’s Monlam was mainly about the environment, he said. ‘This year it is to remember kindness for others all over the world, to appreciate all without distinction of race, colour, religion or language. ALL’- he emphasized.
To symbolize that goal, His Holiness said he will take stones from each country in the world, (which have been collected over the past year) and make a mandala to unite the world.
As well, there are prayers which have been composed by ordinary people from different countries, he said. These will be put onto prayer flags so that all of us can see the different wishes of each country. A Prayer Gate will be made to hang them on. Some of the most inspiring prayers will be posted on pillars around the stupa.
As I left, I noticed the newly planted rooftop garden, carefully planned by environmentalist, Lillian Sum. The barren cement expanse of last year was now covered in many varieties of indigenous plants contained in pots. An archway demarcating another area of the garden leads to a bonsai bodhi tree. There are even tomatoes and green salad herbs in a raised bed. The climate here is extreme, varying from cold and windy in the winter to boiling hot in May and June with heavy monsoon rains in July and August. His Holiness is often visible on the rooftop looking down at devotees gathered on the lawn below, blessing all with his powerful presence.