Distribution Of Food To The Poor & Gyalwa Karmapa Visited All Bikhu Sangha
January 1, 2011: Distribution of food to the poor
On the first day of the Western New Year 2011, once again the Gyalwa Karmapa received many visitors for blessing. One encounter was particularly noteworthy: Ven. Dr. Dhamma Viriyo Mahathero, ex-member of Parliament and spiritual director of the All India Bhikku Sangha in Bodhgaya, came to pay a visit to the Gyalwa Karmapa.
Ven. Dr. Dhamma Viriyo Mahathero’s connection with the Karmapa goes back more than thirty years: he already knew the 16th Karmapa when he was in Rumtek and has been a close friend of Shamar Rinpoche’s for several decades now.
In 1975 he organised a big Buddhist conference in Darjeeling which both the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and the Dalai Lama attended.
During his visit to the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa on January 1 he invited him for dinner for the next day on the premises of the All India Bhikku Sangha, just around the corner from Karma Dhargye Chokhor Ling monastery where Gyalwa Karmapa is staying.
During the Kagyu Mönlam in Bodhgaya food is offered every day to the poor on the grounds of Kalachakra Maidan. Rice, vegetables and dahl are prepared in a tent directly on the premises, and the food is then served to the poor on plates made of leaves.
Voluntary helpers from all over the world help with this project, and approximately 500 poor people come every day to receive the food offering
January 2, 2011: Gyalwa Karmapa Visited All Bikhu Sangha
The second day of the New Year marked the end of this year’s Kagyu Mönlam. While the recitations of the Mönlam prayers went on at the Mahabodhi Temple as usual, in the morning vast quantities of tsok (feast offerings) were prepared for the concluding puja in the afternoon.
Straight after lunch everybody assembled at the Mönlam site to await Gyalwa Karmapa and Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche. As soon as they arrived they took their seats and the puja began. Once more, the ritual performed was the ka gyu chi yi la drub, the general Guru Yoga practice for all the lineage masters of the Kagyu School.
At the end of the puja the extensive consecrated food offerings were shared out to the more than ten thousand participants, and every single one received some tsok offerings to take away and share with others.
In the evening, Gyalwa Karmapa went for dinner to the premises of the All India Bhikku Sangha, following an invitation extended to him by its spiritual director, Ven. Dr. Dhamma Viriyo Mahathero. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche was also present for the evening.
Ven. Dr. Dhamma Viriyo Mahathero gave a little speech in which he emphasised his close connection with the 16th Karmapa and his long-standing friendship with Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche.
The Sangha Council of the All India Bhikku Sangha then conferred the honorary title of a Tripitaka Mahapandit (Doctor of the Tripitaka, the three “baskets” of teachings by the Buddha: Sutra, Vinaya and Abidharma) to Gyalwa Karmapa, in recognition and appreciation of his valuable contribution for the promotion of Buddhism in the universe.