24.12.2010 – 25.12.2010, India

The celebrations of the 30th anniversary of His Eminence Beru Khyentse Rinpoche’s monastery in Bodh Gaya

Beru Khyentse Rinpoche’s monastery in Bodh Gaya, Bodh Gaya, Ceremony, Kagyu Monlam, Puja

The celebrations of the 30th anniversary of His Eminence Beru Khyentse Rinpoche’s monastery in Bodh Gaya, Karma Dhargye Chokhor Ling, started on December 24, 2010, with an extensive version of the ritual of Mahakala. The puja started as early as 3am in the morning, and continued for the whole day, until 8pm in the evening.

The highlight of the day took place in the early afternoon when the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje arrived in Bodhgaya for this year’s Kagyu Monlam. He had timed his arrival a few days early, so as to be able to be present for the celebrations of the anniversary of Beru Khyentse Rinpoche’s monastery.

An expectant crowd had gathered in the street in front of the temple to await the Gyalwa Karmapa, led by a large number of Rinpoches and Lamas, including Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Dorje Lopön Nendo Rinpoche, Shangpa Rinpoche and many others.

When the car finally approached, the traditional incense was lit and the music of gyalings resounded. The ceremonial parasol was held over His Holiness’s side of the car as the driver negotiated the last few metres to the entrance of the monastery through the crowd at walking pace, and as soon as he got out of the car the Gyalwa Karmapa was led into the temple in a solemn procession. A long line of monks and nuns dressed in ceremonial garb, as well as hundreds of lay devotees, both Asian and Western, followed in his footsteps.

December 25, 2010

The second day of the celebration once again came to an early start, with a shorter version of the practice of Mahakala scheduled at 4a.m. After a short break everyone gathered once again in the shrine hall (lhakhang), this time for a series of mandala offering ceremonies.

First of all, a traditional mandala offering as well as a symbolic offering of enlightened Body, Speech, Mind, Qualities and Activity were presented to both the Gyalwa Karmapa and Shamar Rinpoche by Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Beru Khyentse Rinpoche. Then the representatives of different centres each offered a mandala to the Gyalwa Karmapa, and to conclude with, different wishing prayers were recited.

After the end of the offering ceremony everybody had time for a cup of tea while the courtyard of the monastery was prepared for the next highlight of the programme: a series of a variety of different lama dances, performed by Dorje Lopon Nendo Rinpoche, the monks of Rumtek monastery and Beru Khyentse Rinpoche’s monks.

Traditional dharma dances alternated with light entertainment provided by the monks of the Kalimpong Shedra, featuring snow lion and yak dances, as well as several masked characters playing tricks on each other and the audience – the Tibetan equivalent of Western circus clowns. The performances were much appreciated by the audience and greeted with hearty applause and laughter.

In the evening all the guests were invited for a banquet dinner in the big tent which had been colourfully decorated for the occasion. A large screen and a speaker’s podium had been set up in the front, and first of all Beru Khyentse Rinpoche mounted the podium to address the audience. He delivered a speech in which he told the story of how Karma Dhargye Chokhor Ling came to be what it is today, illustrating his account with numerous slideshows of the different stages of his life and the construction of the monastery.

His speech was translated into English and Chinese, and then the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa was asked to say a few words on the topic. In a succinct yet profound address he praised the achievement of Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, saying that “since we live in a relative world, favourable conditions are important. It is essential to have places such as this monastery if we want to practice the dharma. Beru Khyentse Rinpoche understood this, and so, encouraged by the 16th Karmapa, he put all his efforts into the building of this monastery, and what we have today is the wonderful result of these efforts.” He concluded by encouraging each and every one present to continually make wishes and support such beneficial activities.

The evening ended on a festive and joyful note, with everybody rejoicing in the positive activity accomplished and enjoying the exquisite food and delightful company.

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