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Archive for the ‘Bodhgaya’ 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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by Ani Rinchen Khandro, a British nun in Bodhgaya
 

In this great gathering of Rinpoches, monks, nuns and lay devotees from the four corners of the world His Holiness Karmapa presides over all with grace, his perfect form adorned by majesty and modesty.

Like 1,000 Armed Chenresig his eyes of limitless compassion see everything. His hands of skillful means touch all aspects of this vast event and diverse assembly bringing everything into balance and harmony. Where at first there was unfamiliarity and wariness there is now kindness and smiles of friendship. What was rough has become smooth.

By his words of wisdom we are moved. By his immaculate example we are inspired. By his great love we are transformed. His very presence radiates blessings. Bodhgaya, this place made holy by the Buddhas, a place of extremes of heat and cold, chaos and calm, beggars and Bodhisattvas, this place becomes Dewachen. May the power of Karmapa’s blessing waves reach the whole universe and beyond. Emaho!

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This evening (7.30pm IST, March 3), actors and actresses from the Tibetan Institute for the Performing Arts (TIPA) will perform a play based on the life of the Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi. Written by the Gyalwang Karmapa in a contemporary idiom, the play focuses on three events: the arrival of Orgyenpa, who would hold the Karma Pakshi’s lineage; the meeting of these two great lamas; and finally, Orgyenpa’s meeting and recognizing the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje. During the time of the Seventh Karmapa, such dramas, based on the lives of realized beings, were performed during the first fifteen days of the New Year. Today is the tenth Tibetan day (dedicated to Guru Rinpoche), and so it falls within this time period and also within the present Karmapa’s revival of Tibetan traditions especially connected to his lineage.

In addition to the Life of Karma Pakshi, students from the Sujata School, which is especially for those recently arrived from Tibet, will give a Tibetan cultural performance. The Rumtek Association of Tibetan Opera, founded during the time of the Sixteenth Karmapa, will also contribute a piece to round out the evening.

by Michele Martin
 

There will be a live-webcast of this event. Please see the webcast page on kagyumonlam.org for details about this webcast.

Kagyu Monlam Webcast Page - click to open

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by Naomi Levine
 

The hour before dawn – is it the fourth watch of the night?- the hour before the street sellers set up, before the clacking of horns begins, and the murderous metal of auto rickshaws snarl the roads. When the street dogs have finally settled into somnolence and the beggars are asleep curled into warm rows, the monks and all of us walk in procession to Tergar on the outskirts of Bodh Gaya to the blue Monlam Pavilion. The road is dark with just the bright lights of the Pavilion in the distance. No wedding music blasts the silence, no mobile phones, no loudspeakers proclaim the dancing gods of Bollywood.

We come before dawn to take the Sojong vows: not eating after mid-day, not sitting in a high place, not wearing ornaments, not killing, lying, stealing, taking intoxicants, or having sexual contact. So no more sitting around in the packed ‘cafes’ trying to talk above the noisy foreign groups. ‘We’ are vastly outnumbered anyway. Just a crunched paleface here and there. A sign of the times.

The Karmapa teaches on Amitabha’s pure land, a place where you don’t need to be a VIP, rinpoche, or sponsor to get into the toilet, or a photocopy in duplicate of your visa to become a member. To get there just make a wish to create more virtue- unless one has committed one of the 5 heinous deeds, or given up the dharma altogether.

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by Naomi Levine
 

 

On the last of the teaching His Holiness covered the main points of the Lineage Prayer in terms of foot or foundation of meditation, the head of meditation, and the body of meditation.
 

Detachment

The word ‘shenlok’ in Tibetan means detachment, aversion or disgust. It’s like when you walk on the street and you step on some shit. That’s it. It is said that if you have attachment to this life, you are not a true dharma practitioner. Attachment to self is not bodhicitta; clinging is not the right view.

A lion will not run after grass nor will meat appeal to a deer but this is not really non-attachment.

At the beginner level of non-attachment we see no use in being attached to this life; at a more advanced level we are disgusted with samsara; and at a very advanced level we are not even attached to peace.

The practice of dharma is not only for this life but for the benefit of the long term. We need to have a vision for our future lives. We need to prioritize. The most important thing is whether something will bring us benefit in the long term. Many people come to the Monlam, especially monks and nuns. They look like sangha members but sometimes they just come for the tea and offerings. If so, that is not meaningful. We come here to pray for world peace.

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