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From Hong Kong & Malaysian Kagyu Monlam.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Lama Sangye

(Photo: Lama Sangye working on the main mural.)

Pure realm 1 Detail of Dragons

(Photos: Details.)

Pure realm 2

(Photo: Ani-la painting goldleaf on the roof.)

We were requested to put up some photos of the torma mural depicting the pure realm of Buddha Akshobhya by His Holiness Karmapa. These photos are nearly the right color. Sad to say these pictures do not do justice to the actual colors of the mural. The golden glow is not just from the sun setting, but from the gold-leafed rooftop trim on the palace.

As the weeks progressed, the wooden board (see previous Buddha Mitrugpa post) evolved rapidly. Lateral wooden supports nailed to the main piece were erected first. Next, the palace building made of a butter mixture was sculpted on the wooden supports and quite overnight, the details began. For days on end, the details were painted. Details always seem to take the longest time. By the way, this mural is based on a Chinese painting.

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Akshobya board

(Photo: Sketch of Mitrugpa’s Pure Realm on wooden board.)

This year’s Monlam torma features the Buddha Akshobhya.

Maitripa head Maitripa body

(Photos: Sketch and torma sculpture of Buddha Akshobhya).

Akshobhya prayers will be recited daily during the 25th Kagyu Monlam. Please click on the Kagyu Monlam link for a complete schedule.

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H.H. Karmapa visits Bhutan 1

(Photo: His Holiness sits for tea on the lawn.)

H.H. Karmapa visits Bhutan 2

(Photo: His Holiness talking with Lama Chodrak of Kagyu Monlam and Lama Rinchen of the Royal Bhutan Monastery.)

His Holiness made a short visit to the Kagyu Monlam office headquarters at the Royal Bhutan Monastery (“RBM”) on November 28. Monlam staff who are stationed at the RBM site spent the morning cleaning and organizing their workspace in preparation for Karmapa’s visit. When he arrived promptly at 2PM, he walked into the main temple which was surrounded by both Monlam staff and body guards and walked across the lawn to visit the torma artists and the administrative office.

With a steady glance around the rooms and nodding in acknowledgment at the staff, he made his way toward the lawn where afternoon tea and snack were waiting for him. The usual bustle of activity including hammering and sawing was altogether suspended and in its stead, a familiar and relaxed silence, something for which the Royal Bhutan Monastery is well known. As he made his exit, His Holiness caught sight of the wooden Tori pillar under construction and nodded.  Job well done?

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Lama Chokyi tori colour

(Photo: Architect Lama Chokyi with the Shinto design.)

tori

(Photo: One of the four wooden pillars.)

A new design is planned for the main gate of the Mahabodhi Stupa. For years, the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo used a simple bamboo gate with auspicious symbols and banners, but this year, His Holiness chose the elegance and simplicity of the Japanese Shinto gate design. Thus far, only one of the four wooden pillars is nearly constructed.

Lama Chokyi Gyatso, previously an architectural engineer from Taiwan and who currently resides in Bokar Ngedon Choekorling Monastery in Mirik, designed the gate for approval by His Holiness.  Speaking in fluent Tibetan, Lama Chokyi is sought after as much for his engineering skills as for his humble presence.

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 Dorje Wangyal

 (Photo: Dorje Wangyal returning from yet another trip to Gaya.)

For months leading up to the Great Kagyu Monlam, Dorje Wangyal, a Monlam veteran employee, had been actively gathering supplies, contacting food vendors, picking up deliveries, carrying shipments, coordinating with the 40 cooks he supervises and so on.  With so much responsibility, it would seem that he rarely has time for a break, but surprisingly enough, he takes breaks while working.  He is spotted among his staff folding napkins, carrying boxes of shipments, and serving food.  Truly a hands-on worker, Dorje is a protean man who sees broadly and is concerned with the big and the small.

Hammering vats Weaving teapot handles

(Photos: Hammering food vats, weaving teapot handles.)

The Dining Team employs a large group of staff.  Nearly 150 workers prepare meals for over 4,000 monastics, hundreds of Lamas and Rinpoches and the international pilgrims.  There are also the daily tea and bread offerings at the Stupa for which the staff has to prepare, ensuring that there are enough teapots and bread baskets in advance.  Many from the dining team arrived early in Bodhgaya to prepare materials and supplies and also to help feed the many staff already on hand.

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