K a r m a . K a g y u . T r a d i t i o n

Kagyu Monlam – December 10-14, 2004, Bodh Gaya

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Hundreds of disciples from all around the world came together at Bodh Gaya, in India’s northeast Bihar state, to participate in the annual Kagyu Monlam, or great prayer festival. Bodh Gaya is the site of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment 2500 years ago. The town is the principal pilgrimage site for Buddhists of all traditions. The four-day event took place from December 10 to December 14, 2004.

Spiritual fervour, blessing and meditation characerized these exceptional days of rituals which were led by the 17th Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje.

Also participating in the ceremonies were Shamar Rinpoche, the second-ranking lama in the lineage; Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, Shangpa Rinpoche, and Jigme Rinpoche; reincarnate lamas including Tulku Chogyal, Tulku Tenzin and Nendo Tulku; and lamas, monks, nuns, and laypeople from the Himalayan area and India, as well as Europe and North America.

The daily program included:

7-9 am—16th Arhat Prayer and Manjushri Prayer
9:15-11:30 am—Arya Bhadka Charya Prani Dhana Raj
1-2:30 pm—Arya Bhadka Charya Prani Raj
2:45-5 pm—A cycle of five wishing prayers:

  • 1. Maitreya Prayer
  • 2. Bodhisattva Charyavatara Prayer
  • 3. Amitabha Prayer: Wishing prayer for rebirth in Dewachen
  • 4. Mahamudra Wishing Prayer
  • 5. Wishing prayer for rebirth in the pure realm of Buddha Akshobya, followed by the short Mahakala Puja.

On December 14, the final day of the event, the Kagyu Monlam concluded with the ritual of Korwa Tongtruk, a practice for the deceased, and the Milarepa guru-yoga accompanied by a variety of offerings (ganachakra / tsok).

Gyalwa Karmapa granted his blessing in individual audiences to the groups of practitioners and individuals who came from Asia, Europe and North America.

The simplicity and profundity of the rituals left a great impression on all who were present.

Thousands of prayer flags decorated the places of prayer, and participants contributed large amounts of food offerings and butter lamps. Some groups from Western countries also distributed food to the local people of the area.




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