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from kagyumonlam.org

… tonight’s play based on the life of the Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1206-1283). Written by the Gyalwang Karmapa in a contemporary idiom, the drama focuses on three events: the arrival of Orgyenpa (1230-1312), who would hold the Karma Pakshi’s lineage; the meeting of these two great lamas; and finally, Orgyenpa’s meeting and recognizing the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339). During the time of the Seventh Karmapa, such dramas, based on the lives of buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other realized beings, were performed during the first fifteen days of the New Year, commemorating the time when the Buddha performed his great miracles. At Tsurphu, (the Karmapa’s main seat in Tibet), the custom was to practice the Twenty-Branch Monlam in the morning and present these dramas in the afternoon.

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by Lama Phuntsok

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Kagyu Monlam Webcast Page - click to open


On the 3rd of March at 7:30 PM India Time (IST) there will be a drama performance written by His Holiness Karmapa and performed by Tipa (Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts). The name of the play is Karma Pakshi (2nd Karmapa). There will be Live Webcast for this event. Please see the webcast page on kagyumonlam.org for details about this webcast.

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Standing at the very back on a raised bank you can get a panoramic view of the vast amphitheatre constructed by Lama Chokyi Gyaltsen under the direction of HH Karmapa. Three screens flank each side of a gigantic stage on two levels with a fantasy tree like a delicate Japanese cherry in blossom. As the lights focus on it, the colours change dramatically. (Is this the tree of enlightenment?) An enormous white seven petal lotus creates a breathtakingly beautiful minimalist background to this most extraordinary production of the life story of Milarepa, directed, produced and written by HH Karmapa, with actors from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in Dharamsala.

Seated on the stage on either side are five hundred monks and nuns who chant prayers in haunting melodies composed by Karmapa, almost like a Greek chorus, while the screens project pages of the text and impressive views of the icy peaks of the Himalayas where Milarepa meditated. This is both epic spectacle and close up, intimate drama.

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