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I would like to share the teachings and meditations HH Karmapa is giving under the bodhi tree at mid morning after reading sections of Milarepa’s life story. Many of these points are reminders taught in a startlingly vivid way.

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Prayer wheels looking like paper lanterns hang suspended from the main gate leading to the stupa. In the early morning and at night they glow with coloured lights (when electricity permits). Made from wood and covered in white cloth they are painted with the mantra OM PEMO KHA BEMA LE HUNG PHAT. This mantra has powers of purification so that all who pass through the gate will receive some spiritual benefit.

Inside the grounds there is a noticeable improvement in the level of organisation and discipline Young Tibetans (dharmapalas) in dark uniforms remind you to take off your shoes and point out the appropriate areas to sit. The paths are immaculate; the mats laid out generously indicating seating areas. There’s even leg room for stretching prostration bruised knees. Volunteers in special jackets (designed by His Holiness) move deftly bearing huge teapots.

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Letter to a friend

Letter to a Friend – Nagarjuna

The shrine room at Tergar Monastery in Bodh Gaya was packed with 1500 people from 52 countries. The seating was organised deftly to give every group a chance to sit at the front and gaze at the powerfully expressive face of the Karmapa. The throne, the shrine, the gigantic Buddha, the face of Karmapa – all seemed washed with gold. Chyamsin-la, the Karmapa’s sister, offered the mandala to request the teachings.

From my notes which have been edited.

The reason we chose this text, His Holiness Karmapa informed the international assembly, is that it is primarily an instruction for householders on how to practise the dharma. Nagarjuna wrote it to his friend, the King of South India. It includes the five vows and the practice of the 6 paramitas.

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This year, we have a dedicated webcasting site for His Holiness’s teachings and the Milarepa performance on January 1st.

I visited the site of the performance recently and agreed with everyone who had remarked: the stage is HUGE! Rounded with an inner step of bricks, cement and dry red earth and the background, a field of dry grass and a long horizon, the stage is perfectly set to stand out. We are so excited about this event so look for further developments in this story.

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His Holiness in Bodhgaya

Waiting to greet His Holiness Karmapa on his arrival at Tergar monastery in Bodh Gaya. HH Karmapa talks to the 60 monks and nuns who will sing on January 1st for the Milarepa performance.

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Here are a few of the daily tasks that keep us all busy in this mandala of preparations.

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This is the Kagyu Monlam land in Bodh Gaya which will be the site of the Milarepa performance on January 1, 2010 and where a large stage is currently being constructed. If the Kagyu Monlam architect, who in years past (and future) has designed the stage, be prepared for nothing less than a work of art! And, word has it that a world-renowned Hong Kong movie crew will be on hand to help out the Dharamsala-based TIPA performers!

Karma Gonchoe Preparations- committee monks sewing sheets for debate participants.

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LOST: The missing season in Bodh Gaya’s storage room

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Chopan tries to locate torma-making items while food manager and cooks succeed in finding some supplies. We will not go hungry after all!

 

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Decorations around the main temple in Bodh Gaya for Lhabab Duchen.

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As the 27th Kagyu Monlam approaches, preparations are under way at the new Kagyu Monlam land, located right next to Tergar Monastery. This site was blessed by His Holiness during the last Kagyu Monlam and many hopes were planted on that empty field.

Currently, the new land is being prepared for the festivities to inaugurate the new year.

On January 1st, 2010, a buffet lunch will be served for the sangha and a theatrical presentation on the life of Milarepa will be performed in the evening. Everyone is invited to attend the performance, which will be accompanied by a live musical orchestra, with 30 monks and 30 nuns who will lend their voices.

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