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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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photos by Filip Wolak

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