The Beginning Of Kagyu Monlam 2010
Though no official programme was scheduled at Bodhgaya for December 26, 2010, this did not mean that it was a day of leisure.
While lamas, monks and nuns were busy at the Mahabodhi Stupa with the last preparations for this year’s Kagyu Monlam, scheduled to start the day after, an endless stream of devotees from different countries, continents, age groups and walks of life came to see the Gyalwa Karmapa: Rinpoches and large groups of Tibetan monks from different schools, Western students from all over the world, Tibetan ladies in traditional costumes, devotees from South East Asia, fresh-faced young nuns…
They all waited patiently in line for their turn to present their ceremonial scarves and other offerings to the Gyalwa Karmapa and receive his blessing.
The Beginning Of Kagyu Monlam
December 27, 2010
The holy site of the Mahabodhi Temple was at its most splendid on the morning of the opening day of this year’s Kagyu Monlam.
Thangkas depicting the masters of the Kagyu lineage had been put up on the Monlam shrine, and in front of them countless flower garlands, bouquets of flowers and butter lamps had been arranged, and a vast number of elaborately manufactured offering tormas set out. Every surface was covered with flowers laid out in intricate patterns, and a mood of joyful anticipation was in the air.
Early in the morning a large crowd of devotees gathered in front of the entrance to the Mahabodhi Temple to await the arrival of Gyalwa Karmapa and Shamar Rinpoche, while countless others were circumambulating the Mahabodhi Stupa, turning their malas and mumbling mantras, or prostrating themselves around the stupa.
Once the Gyalwa Karmapa had arrived he was led in a procession to the inner temple to the accompanying sound of gyalings (Tibetan musical instruments used in rituals) where he paid homage to the Buddha, lit a butterlamp and offered a silk scarf.
The procession then continued to the Monlam site, where both Gyalwa Karmapa and Shamar Rinpoche lit a butterlamp to mark the official beginning of the Kagyu Monlam.
This year more people have gathered in Bodhgaya to participate in the Kagyu Monlam than ever before – all in all an estimated total of nine thousand.
Apart from the Gyalwa Karmapa and Shamar Rinpoche there are many other Rinpoches and high lamas who have graced the event with their presence, including Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Dorje Lopon Nendo Rinpoche, Shangpa Rinpoche, Lodro Rabphel Rinpoche, Togden Rinpoche, Sang Sang Rinpoche and Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche.
Moreover, approximately six thousand monks belonging to different schools of Tibetan Buddhism as well as about five hundred nuns and several thousand lay devotees from the different corners of the globe have come to Bodhgaya for the auspicious occasion.
Recitations started as soon as Gyalwa Karmapa and Shamar Rinpoche were seated and continued until the evening. As usual, the main prayer recited during the Monlam was Samantabhadra’s Wishing Prayer for Excellent Conduct, also known as the King of Wishing Prayers.
During breaks throughout the day both Gyalwa Karmapa and Shamar Rinpoche continued to receive visitors and give their blessing to devotees.