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Today His Holiness Karmapa visited the Bhutanese Monastery to review the progress on the creation of the tormas for the upcoming Mahakala Puja and the 29th Kagyu Monlam.

Bodhgaya, February 8

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Around a hundred monks and nuns from thirty five Karma Kagyu monasteries and nunneries in India, Nepal and Bhutan have been attending torma art classes in Vajra Vidya Institute, Thrangu Rinpoche’s monastery in Sarnath, since the beginning of December. The students are being taught by two statue artists from Bhutan who are teaching all the beginner and advanced classes. This six-week long course has been particularly blessed by the presence of His Holiness Karmapa in Vajra Vidya Institute during the last week, under whose spiritual guidance these classes are taking place and who has taken the art of torma making to astonishing levels in recent years. Many of the students here will come to Bodhgaya one month before the 29th Kagyu Monlam to help prepare the tormas for this auspicious event. We hope many of you will be able to attend the monlam this year to witness this exquisite torma art on site.

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The second North American Kagyu Monlam will be held from June 22 to June 26 2011 at Thrangu Monastery in Vancouver, Canada.

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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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Amitayu torma

(Photo: Amitayu Torma)

Gyens Ani’s painting the gyens

(Photos: Gyens or ornaments; Ani-la’s decorating the Gyens.)

Shalzay tormas

(Tormas: Gyens on Shalzay tormas.)

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