24th Birthday of the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje
On the 6th of May, 2007, the students and faculty of the Shri Diwakar Vihara in Kalimpong held a puja and celebration in honor of the 24th birthday (Tibetan calendar 25th birthday) of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje.
There was a mixture of holiday festivity as well as pomp and circumstance on the blessed occasion of His Holiness’ birthday celebration. Many people from around the globe spanning several continents came to wish Karmapa a long life, making offerings and showing their respect. Among the guests were Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Khenpo Chodrag Tenphel Rinpoche, Gurung Rinpoche, The Ngang Ten Sang Chop TsogPa (The Buddhist Association of Sikkim), and the Trustees of the KCT (Karmapa Charitable Trust). Also the student body of The Dejong Pema Choeling Academy from Peling, Sikkim made a special journey to entertain Karmapa with some wonderful songs they had rehearsed for this event.
The morning began with the Sang Puja, which included a large smoke offering of cedar wood incense outside the Lhakang. Inside the Puja Hall, the crowd began to steadily swell as people arrived throughout the prayer service from Bhutan, Sikkim and many other locations beyond the small hill station of Kalimpong, West Bengal. Eventually, hundreds of people had gathered to pay their respects. There was simply no room to accommodate the masses in the Lhakang and the people seemed to spill out of the shedra as one by one came in to make prostrations in veneration to His Holiness.
Once the offerings of body, speech and mind were made, His Holiness sat patiently as the queue of devotees made their way with silk scarves (“kattaks”) to receive blessings. After the puja, Karmapa was ushered to the garden of his estate in Kalimpong for the cake cutting and was presented with many gifts from the attendees. It was at this time that the children of The Dejong Pema Choeling Academy from Peling, Sikkim gave their musical performance for His Holiness. Afterwards, Karmapa thanked everyone and invited the multitudes to a special lunch that had been sponsored by supporters of His Holiness. There were scheduled performances of traditional Tibetan music and dancing but, unfortunately, due to the untimely passing of Venerable Sonam Palden, a very close friend to His Holiness and family, it was deemed inappropriate for such lavish celebrations.