Message in advance of the 2020 Kagyu Monlam

The Private Office of the Karmapa shares the following message in advance of the 2020 Kagyu Monlam:

In our Karma Kagyu School, it was historically the third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339) who initiated the yearly Monlam gathering.

Later, during the time of the seventh Karmapa Chodrag Gyamtso (1454-1506), it became one of the most prominent Buddhist gatherings in Tibet.

This year’s Kagyu Monlam will be the 18th gathering since its initiation in our time by the late His Holiness 14th Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche in 1994. The first of these Monlams was held at Lumbini, and all the following ones, from 1996 onwards, in Bodhgaya.

During these occasions, the venerable monastic Sanghas and lay practitioners from around the world gather to conduct limitless aspirations, prayers and dedications for the immediate and far reaching benefits and wellbeing of all sentient beings.

To date, this practice has been held during the month of December for seven days in Bodhgaya, India, under the very Bodhi tree where all 1002 Buddhas of this Fortunate Aeon complete their awakening for the benefit of all sentient beings.

During each of these occasions, thousands of monks, nuns, lay practitioners and devotees from around the world came together in Bodhgaya to conduct these Monlam prayers.

However, this year – due to the unprecedented pandemic caused by Covid-19 – instead of assembling the venerable Sanghas, lay practitioners and devotees at Bodhgaya, the Monlam prayers will be conducted in the safe environments of the monasteries in India and Nepal.

The number of monks and nuns performing and participating in each monastery for Monlam Prayers 2020 are in accordance with local  COVID rules and regulations.

This year, the Kagyu Monlam prayers in India and Nepal are personally sponsored by Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa.

For India, the Kagyu Monlam is co-sponsored by Mrs. Katherine Cheng and for Nepal the Kagyu Monlam is co-sponsored by Mrs. Ibu Dewi Kam.

With heartfelt appreciation, we are deeply grateful to Mrs. Katherine Cheng and Mrs. Ibu Dewi Kam for co-sponsoring this year’s Kagyu Monlam, thus helping to uphold the continuum of this yearly event in the safe environment of our monasteries and institutes and through live streaming to our homes. Their generous sponsorship makes it possible for our Venerable Sanghas to wholeheartedly conduct these practices without interruption and focus solely on the practice of these aspirations and dedications.

The monasteries and institutes holding Kagyu Monlams in India:
• Karmapa International Buddhist Society, New Delhi
• Karmae Sangha Rumtek Monastery, Rumtek
• Nedo Chedu Choekhorling Monastery, Rumtek
• Karma Chokhor Dechen Ling Nunnery, Rumtek
• Karma Tarjay Chokhorling Monastery, Bodhgaya
• Rey Mindu Tempen Ka-ten Namgyal Ling Monastery, Sikkim
• Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery, Ladakh
• Karma Chagchen Jampaling Nunnery, Ladakh
• Diwakar Buddhist Academy, Kalimpong
• Diwakar Buddhist School, Takdah
• Tilopa Buddhist Institute, Tilokpur

The monasteries and institutes holding Kagyu Monlams in Nepal:
• Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, Kathmandu
• Dhagpo Sheydrub Ling Monastery, Nala
• Karma Ngedhon Osal Choekhorling, Kathmandu
• Sangye Choeling Monastery, Kathmandu
• Buddhist Nunnery School, Kathmandu
• Sharminub Institute, Kathmandu
• Dhuldarling, Kathmandu
• Karma Raj Mahavihara, Kathmandu
• Lhundrup Choling Monastery, Kathmandu
• Trungram Gumba (Dhakten Nyincheling), Kathmandu
• Trungram Nunnery, Kathmandu
• Karma Dubgyu Chokorling, Pokhara
• Mila Kagyu Ling Mahaboudha Gumba, Nawalpur
• Karma Theksum Choiling Monastery, Pokhara
• Jangchub Choeling Monastery, Pokhara
• Kagyu Institute for Buddhist Studies, Kirtipur, Kathmandu
• Tharpa Choeling Nunnery, Muktinath, Mustang
Karmapa says,
‘May this auspicious occasion create and strengthen the root and expression of merit and virtue for our personal and collective wellbeing. May seeds of harmony and wisdom be sown and nurtured, which in turn through the interdependency of all apparent phenomena will have a positive influence on outer circumstances, be it epidemics, war, famines or natural disasters.
May our aspirations help to preserve and strengthen the Dharma, which was conveyed by Buddha Shakyamuni more than 2500 years ago. May we recognise and appreciate its universal applicability and goodness in all areas of existence.’

(Photos: Thule / Tokpa Korlo / Norbu Zangpo / Magda Jung)

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