Archive for the ‘mahabodhi’ Category

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This morning His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa visited the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, the very spot where Buddha Shakyamuni attained supreme enlightenment. His Holiness first entered the main shrine room and made prostrations to the great golden Buddha. After traditional offerings and prayers His Holiness accepted the invitation by Khenpo Tsoki Dorje, the abbot of Ngawang Thubten Choling Monastery in Bodhgaya, and joined the annual Monlam conducted by the Bhutanese monastery. He was greeted by a ceremonial procession of monks His Holiness and sat under the bodhi tree leading the prayers for an hour. As word of His Holiness’s visit to the temple spread quickly in Bodhgaya, more and more devotes joined the assembly. Traditional Bhutanese rice and tea was offered to the gathering and Khenpo’la expressed his gratitude to His Holiness. Thereafter His Holiness left the temple grounds followed by many smiling faces.

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What an inconceivable blessing to witness the presence of this wonderful master at this most holy site.

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During the Monlam, His Holiness Karmapa gave us some fascinating insights concealed inside the main teachings, so I collected some and strung them together like pearls to share with you.

The Buddha designated 16 Arhats who would live until the Buddha Maitreya comes and appear as monks to protect the dharma. During the 11th century Atisha made a practice of the 16 Arhats according to the Kriya Yoga Tantra system.


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from the White Tara Empowerment on January 09, photos by Karma Norbu

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Whoever hears it (the mantra), whether people or animals, will be liberated from samsara and all its sufferings. In the Kagyu there is a sutra called the Purification of all the Obscurations of Karma. There is another one in Chinese which totally liberates all sufferings of obscurations.

The Buddha taught about Akshobhya in a sutra and described Akshobhya’s pure land. When he Buddha was seated surrounded by many monks and bodhisattvas, Shariputra asked the Buddha to teach. The Buddha said in a thousand worlds away from here, in the east, there is the pure land of Akshobhya. Everybody in that land is performing the bodhisttva’s actions and have all generated the bodhicitta. How did that pure land happen?


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His Holiness Karmapa accepted a last minute invitation from the President of the International Buddhist Council of India to give his support to a World Peace Prayer ceremony at the bodhi tree on New Year’s Day, specifically to honour those who had died in the recent Mumbhai massacres.

His Holiness and Mingyur Rinpoche sat on cushions in the front row with the Venerable Bhantiji from the Burmese Vihar on the other side. Representatives of the different faiths in India – Jain, Sikh, Hindu, Moslem- and Mr Dorje of the Bodh Gaya Management Committee – were all present.

candle for world peace

The ceremony began with one minute silence for those ‘who are no longer with us on the planet’. In a graceful movement HH Karmapa lit a tall orange candle to spread the light for world peace. ‘Saddhu, saddhu, saddhu’, murmurred the monks.

Theravadin monks chanted the refuge in Pali, an evocative refrain that we hear around the temple morning and evening. His Holiness was then requested to lead the prayers in the Mahayana tradition and suddenly there were the deep sonorous sounds that come from the Himalayas and make your whole body vibrate.

Peace Day Prayer

The Hindu representative chanted ‘Om Shanti’. A sister dressed in white from the Brahma Kumari Society offered a prayer and then a Christian lady clad in a light orange scarf and skirt added her prayers. ‘Amen’ she concluded, and it suddenly reminded me of another country in a completely different world. The President of the Jain Society wearing a business suit added his comments. The Muslim Khan offered an important quote: ‘Saving one person is saving humanity. Killing one person is killing humanity. Therefore the Muslim faith rejects all killing.’

‘The secret of success, concluded the President, ‘is to connect our lives with the divine. If we all do this we can create a world of peace and harmony.’ He read an excerpt from the great Santideva’s poem on the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.

May I be a protector for those without one, a guide for travellers, and a boat, a bridge, a ship for those who wish to cross over.
May I be a lamp for those who seek light, a bed for those who seek rest…
Just as earth and other elements are useful in various ways to innumerable sentient beings dwelling throughout infinite space,
So may I be in various ways a source of life for the sentient beings present throughout space until they are all liberated.

Norma Levine

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Nearly 60 high school students from Dharamsala’s TCV (“Tibetan Children’s Village”) school arrived for the Monlam to serve as guards, gatekeepers, and generally to assist security. The Kagyu Monlam Dharmapalas, as they were called, recently sent His Holiness the Gwalwang Karmapa letters of gratitude.

Dharmapala’s with Tsultrim

Thank you His Holiness the 17th Karmapa
Today , we the students and Teachers of T.C.V. Suja School, would like to stand in front of you with folded hands to say thank you so much for giving us such a wonderful chance to work as a Dharmapala. Even though that work is quite tough to us as we are only students with zero experience, it’s our pleasure to work under your blessing. By doing this work, we gained a lot of experience dealing with different people and we got this golden opportunity to visit holy places. We lack words to express your kindness. Our best wishes are always with you. Tashi Delek today and forever. Finally, we wish you a prosperous and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Dharmapala on Duty 1 Dharmapala on duty 2

Thank you His Holiness the 17th Karmapa
Thank you… even though I don’t know how to say thank you since the mere concept of my thanks can never stand for your ocean-like gratitude, yet the very word “THANK YOU” is naturally flowing out from the depth of my heart like a tide of the ocean as my conscience reflects upon your matchless kindness towards us. Therefore, let me extend my heartfelt gratitude towards you through the notion or form of “thank you”.
It is more or less something incredible and like a dream comes true that we the orphans dwelling in a remote boarding school got such a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the breathtaking, peaceful and meaningful gathering of Kagyu Molam Chenmo honoured by Your Holiness. During the 18 day long assembling, every sight of every day was a new thing to learn and the experiences are worthy to keep in mind as a memory.
We hardly felt how the days passed by but we have learned a lot. It was extremely wonderful to serve His Holiness and it bestowed us with the real tranquility and relaxation that is a blessing in this hectic 21st century life. Moreover, the delightful trip you arranged for us to nearby holy places like Nalanda made us feel as if we were visiting paradise without dying!!! For me, these sacred sites are more wonderful than the seven wonders. In every temple we chanted prayers for a perfect happiness for all in general and your long life, in particular. I believe that our wish or Dharmapalas’ request could come true soon. We are deeply indebted and grateful for all the things, all the blessings, all the beautiful presents, all the opportunities you provided us. Therefore, on behalf of all the Dharmapalas, I would like to raise up my voice and say THANK YOU VERY MUCH from the very depth of my heart. Thank you…. thank you. Thank you.
Yours Faithfully,
Dharmapalas of the 25th Anniversary of Kagyu Monlam

Group photo

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After one busy month in Bodhgaya, His Holiness left Tergar promptly at 8AM for Sarnath. This year’s closure was a rather complete and satisfying one as the Gwalwang Karmapa extended so much of himself to organizing the Monlam. There didn’t seem to be a place where his influence did not reach: he shaped each of the department’s initiatives, whether directly or through the activities of his three main assistant supervisors. As it was heard, this year’s Monlam was successful, not because people thought it was great but because many people actually felt joy and well-being as a result of the prayers.

The Buddha sat before us under the Bodhi Tree, prayed with us for the peace and happiness of all beings, pointed out the path of liberation and blessed us all in his absence.

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Khenpo Tenam

(Photo: Khenpo Tenam, His Holiness’ personal Khenpo mixes the ashes of the names of the deceased with mud.)

The day after His Holiness burnt the names of the deceased, Khenpo Tenam and Khenpo Chokdrup created tsa-tsa’s from the ashes, shaped them like stupas and offered the consecrated tsa-tsa’s in sacred rivers.

Khenpos pouring ashes

(Photo: Khenpo Tenam and Khenpo Chokdrup pours the ashes into the local river.)

Khenpos praying 1 Khenpos praying 2

(Photos: Khenpos offering prayers.)

Photos of Khenpos at the river are by courtesy of Kagyu Monlam.

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