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Archive for the ‘17th Gwalwang Karmapa’ Category

 

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from kagyumonlam.org

Finally, our narrator explains that the next performance of Tibetan opera is based on a Jataka tale, recounting a previous life of the Buddha as the king Lodro Zangpo. The actors and actresses come from the Rumtek Opera Society, formed in 1961 during the time of the Sixteenth Karmapa, who was very fond of Tibetan opera. Sometimes, the group would perform for seven days in a row. Among the actors tonight are original members of the society, who have trained the new generation, helping to preserve this tradition started in Tibet by Thangtong Gyalpo (1385-1464). The opera ends with all the actors on stage and a lively Ki ki so so lha gyalo! All victory to the divine!

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The last day of the Monlam was dedicated to the long life of Situ Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche, who sat on a throne to the left of HH Karmapa. The throne of Tai Situ Rinpoche was unoccupied due to difficulties in making an appearance there. When his image was projected onto the screen and we heard his message of well-being to the lineage, it was a poignant moment for many. However, it felt like the lineage was stronger than it has been in many years, due to the quiet, steady activity of the great heart sons. His Holiness stepped more firmly than ever before into his rightful place as lineage head. The cycle of obstacles and uncertainty were rolled back and we seemed to be both participating in and witnessing the beginning of the determined, steady, immovable force of a buddha in action.

We made prayers of auspiciousness while the huge gathering waved white scarves in the air. With the stunning performance of a Taiwanese drummer troupe, male and female both clad in simple dark martial arts pantaloons, the perfect precision of the warrior suddenly blended with the energy of the Monlam and the Karmapa’s activity. Vigorous, compassionate, confident.

The butter lamp offering with each person holding a lit candle while singing the offering verses in many different languages, was a dramatic soft close to the entire eight day performance. I understand that HH Karmapa is getting introduced to Shakespeare. It seems that all the world will truly become his stage.

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photos by Filip Wolak

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photos by Filip Wolak

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by Naomi Levine
 

The first major event to be held at the Mahabodhi Stupa during this year’s Monlam was the reading of the Kangyur. It was unexpectedly fresh walking the deserted streets at 5:30 am heading towards the nexus of the great temple and the Wisdom Tree at the heart of the Buddhist world. The Tree has come into renewed life this year with branches as strong as trunks. It shimmered as the dawn light filtered through the leaves. The seating was also surprisingly spacious as the huge gathering had been separated into two groups. Only the fully ordained sangha and lay people were allowed to meet there. The rest of the sangha remained in the Monlam pavilion chanting prayers. The feeling of being in hallowed ground, breathing the moisture of the dawn air and seeing His Holiness directly as if we were in the same room instead of a vast amphitheatre, brought a rush of energy to my heart.

We lined the outer circumambulation route as each of the ordained sangha came holding one of the 103 handwritten precious Kangyur volumes bound in gold cloth. The Karmapa, walked with immense dignity at the head of the procession passing so close to us it felt like an initiation into the signs of a buddha just to behold the perfection of his face.

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photos by Karma Lecho & Palten Nyima
 

Please click here to read a report by Jo Gibson on kagyumonlam.org about this auspicious event.

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by Naomi Levine
 

Karmapa’s Message to the Friends of Kagyu Monlam

I would like to extend warm greetings to all Kagyu Monlam members here. As a result of the Kagyu Monlam taking place in Bodh Gaya it has spread into different parts of the world. The reason for the spread of the Kagyu Monlam is that from the very beginning people like you continuously supported it.

During this 29th Kagyu Monlam there is an increase in the membership and this is an indication of your keen interest in it which I also appreciate. The main point I want to make is while material and financial support is appreciated and necessary, I would like you to understand that the Monlam serves as a platform for you to offer and contribute more than material means. It is an opportunity to inspire you to offer love, friendship, trust and respect to fellow practitioners. What matters are these qualities and developing a wholesome mind. i would like to take this opportunity to get this across to you at this particular time.

As you may know I am also a member of the Kagyu Monlam as you can see from my badge. But in all honesty I have not contributed one dollar nor one rupee,.nor has Lama Chodrak asked for it and I have not offered. This time I was given it again. I wanted to be a member of the Kagyu Monlam so we can be members together and share it with each other. although I’m not doing as much as you are doing.

Buddha Akshobya - by HH Karmapa

As most of you know in previous years we had the Monlam at the main temple in front of the bodhi tree. Even when we were holding it during the winter sometimes during the day it was getting quite warm. Since we had to postpone it, it was obvious it would be very hot but it would have been impractical to put on a roof over everyone. Since it was going to be hot and uncomfortable for everyone, we thought it would be more realistic to hold it on the stage here, so it has been rather comfortable and pleasant for all of you.

It is my heartfelt aspiration that this may serve as an important seed to generate loving care to the beings of the world. The time has come to extend loving care to others. The world is poverty stricken for lack of love; conscious caring for each other. Many beings are deprived of love, protection and anything sustainable to rely upon. Extend love where there is a need for love, protection where it is needed. It is important we do the Monlam with the purest of motivations.

I have nothing to support my words with. I was thinking of giving you the photo of the tankha of Akshobya which I had painted. Signing them was a bit of work and you are close to 800 people. I am sorry I can’t back my words with my actions. Thank you so much.
 

The next day during the Akshobya empowerment, signed photos of the Akshoya Buddha appeared suddenly for everyone.

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