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Kagyu Droden Kunchab, San Francisco is hosting the 3rd North American Kagyu Monlam. It is scheduled to be held from June 29th to July 1st in San Francisco, California. See californiakagyumonlam.org for information as it becomes available!

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All photos by our marvelous blog photographer Karma Norbu.
Copyright: Kagyu Monlam Chenmo International

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In his closing remarks at the Monlam, with the entire assembly present, His Holiness Karmapa reminded us of the power of prayers.

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Several outstanding events occurred this year which indicate to all of us here that His Holiness’ activity has begun in earnest. December 29th and 30th were dedicated to cleaning up this most polluted of holy places. Yes, the earth here is sacred but it would be better without the plastic graveyards, the open sewers and the rotting corpses. I actually picked up two dogs lying in the middle of the road, one killed, the other mortally wounded by passing cars.

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On the concluding few days of the Milarepa sessions, His Holiness Karmapa emphasized that we have to integrate view, meditation and action; they cannot be separated.

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Karmapa was in a jovial mood when he delivered his annual greetings to members of the Kagyu Monlam. ‘Actually’, he said, ‘I am also a member of the Kagyy Monlam. Lama Chodrak brought me a card, but I’m the worst member because I didn’t pay’. He praised Lama Chodrak, the driving force behind the Monlam.

‘The tradition of the Kagyu Monlam’, he continued, ‘began five hundred years ago during the time of the 7th and 8th Karmapas. In India it came into existence through the efforts of Kalu Rinpoche. The Kagyu Monlam has now become international. Many people of all cultures come together and bathe in the prayers.

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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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lama1

we received many requests to post the audio of the speech given at the conclusion of “living the dharma” teachings by lama jinpa, the spanish translator. we, at blog central, like to thank you all for watching, reading, scrolling, requesting and commenting. sarva mangalam!

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On the last two days of the teaching, His Holiness Karmapa mainly answered questions, because he had received the ‘blessing of Bodh Gaya’ – a cold and cough. He explained the meaning of Karmapa Chenno.

The meaning of karma is action or activity. So Karmapa is one who does the activity of the buddhas. At the age of sixteen Dusum Khyenpa had a vision that 1000 dakinis made a Black Hat and offered it to the Karmapa. He was enthroned as one who does the activity of all buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Karmapa does not have to be one individual. It is the name of all vajra masters who do the activity of the Buddha. Buddha said that when the dharma is near extinction, he would come and bring out the positive, light side of people’s nature.
Chenno means know me, remember me. We don’t have to say it aloud. We can say it from the heart.

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His Holiness Karmapa seemed to be at the peak of his power when he concluded the Monlam, speaking with confidence to the entire assembly of monks and lay people. ‘Thank you to the sponsors, Gyaltsap Rinpoche and others. I express my heartfelt gratitude. You have done great aspirations and prayers for all in this great sacred place, so thank you all.’ He also thanked the volunteers who worked for the Monlam.

Recapping the results of the past year, he remarked that many of the monasteries had made their assemblies free from meat; and regarding the environment, ‘people are making attempts to do projects’.

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During the Monlam, His Holiness Karmapa gave us some fascinating insights concealed inside the main teachings, so I collected some and strung them together like pearls to share with you.

The Buddha designated 16 Arhats who would live until the Buddha Maitreya comes and appear as monks to protect the dharma. During the 11th century Atisha made a practice of the 16 Arhats according to the Kriya Yoga Tantra system.

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