His Holiness in Varanasi (January 2006)

Upon returning to Vajra Vidhya Institute, the Ven. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's monastery in Sarnath (Varanasi), His Holiness on January 19 presided over a meeting of all the Khenpos from different shedras who participate in the Annual Kagyu Winter Program of Philosophy and Debate (Karma Gön Chö) at Varja Vidhaya Insititute in Varanasi. The meeting was held His Holiness to further discuss the procedures and structure of the Karma Gön Chö) and to review texts to be studied and debated during the annual Winter retreat. The meeting was also joined by Ven Thrangu Rinpoche and General Secretary Ven. Dilyak Drupon Rinpoche.
On the 28th of January, Mahakala Day according to Tsurphu calendar, His Holiness attended Mahakala practice at Vajra Vidhya Institute, along with Ven Thrangu Rinpoche.

January 30 was Losar according to the Tsurphu calendar (which differs from the Phukluk calendar, the dominant Tibetan calendar tradition). In the early morning, Ven Thrangu Rinpoche, General Secretary Ven. Drupon Rinpoche and all the Khenpos and staff of Tsurphu Labrang, met in at His Holiness's chambers to offer khatas to His Holiness and to wish him tashi delek and long life. A traditional offering of tea and ceremonial rice was enjoyed by the entire gathering, and, pursuant to Tibetan tradition , che-mar was also offered. At about 8:00am, His Holiness entered the main shrine hall to offer a khata to the main Shakyamuni Buddha statue. He then proceeded to the throne, wherepon the main ceremony of the Losar commenced with a supplication to the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha). As per tradition, tea and dre-si was offered to all in attendance. At the end of the program, at the suggestion of His Holiness, participants sang one of the Milarepa's famous compositions to a melody composed by His Holiness himself.
His Holiness closed the program by giving a blessing to all the participants of the Losar, which was followed by a lunch offered by the Tsruphu Labrang.

On January 31, His Holiness visited Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath. At the gate of the main assembly hall, Director Ngagwang Samten greeted His Holiness with the khata and directed him to the main hall. His Holiness gave a blessing to the staff and students and addressed the gathering. Gen Yeshi Thabkhe then gave a speech thanking His Holiness, and His Holiness concluded his visit with tea and a snack with the Director of the Institute. - Karma Woser Rapten

His Holiness at the meeting of Kagyu shedras on January 19, 2006



Report on Presentation by HH Karmapa of Statues of the Lineage Forefathers (January 2006)

His Holiness presenting the specially crafted lineage statues to representatives of Kagyu Monasteries

Over the last two years, His Holiness Karmapa personally supervised the molding and crafting of the statues of the three Tibetan founders of the Kagyu lineage. His Holiness was meticulous in overseeing the production of statues to insure that they captured the spiritual likenesses of these Kagyu forefathers, and conducted extensive research to assure their authenticity and verity to tradition.On the last day of the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa graciously offered a special set of fifteen-inch polished copper and gold statues of Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa as a special gift to all the Kagyu Monasteries present at the Monlam. Creating models of lineage holders in the forms of such replicas is part of a long Kagyu tradition and provides an opportunity for followers of the lineage to inspire strong faith and devotion in their hearts. In addition to the attention to detail that went into creating the inspiring look-alike presence of these statues, they were filled and consecrated with the most sacred relic pills, including substances made from the personal relics of the three great ones.
His Holiness personally presented each and every one of these statues to representatives of the Kagyu monasteries attending the Monlam, imparting his personal blessings and through him, the blessings of the lineage. His kindness in making these gifts reminded everyone of the great kindness of the lineage forefathers represented by the statues, and confirmed the sublime benefit of holding these lineage forefathers in one's heart. - Karma Woser Rapten

His Holiness offering blessing of the lineage through offerings of statues of the three great lineage forefathers of the Kagyu lineage in Tibet

Lineage holders Milarepa (left), Marpa, and Gampopa (right) are depicted by these statues crafted under the supervision of His Holiness Karmapa given to Kagyu Monasteries at the Kagyu Monlam on January 14, 2006


His Holiness In Bodhgaya (January 2006)

The 23rd Annual Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha, which began January 7 in Bodhgaya, successfully concluded on January 14th with a moving nighttime butter lamp ceremony and special aspiration prayers. The prayers and songs included a new composition by His Holiness in Tibetan and translated into English entitled "An Aspiration for the World." The composition was musically arranged for singing by the international audience in attendance at the Monlam, and concludes with the aspiration that in every section of the world will thrive "a fertile field of peace and joy, rich with the leaves and fruits of happiness, filled with many scents of freedom." under the descendent of the very Bodhi Tree where Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment.
On January 7th, His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa opened the annual ceremony, called in Tibetan the Pal Nyammay Kagyupay Sangha Monlam Chenmoand gave the monks and nuns (gelongs and gelongmas) their monastic vows for the Monlam, called "Theck-chen Sojong." Thousands of ordained sangha joined with many high teachers and international attendees in the daily practice. In addition to Their Eminences Jamgon Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche, and the Very Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche, other teachers included Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Anze Rinpoche, Phayu Rinpoche, Nyima Rinpoche, Phora Tulku, Drikung Gyaltsen Tulku, Sonam Rinpoche, Thubten Gyamtso Rinpoche, Reta Tulku, Garchen Tulku, Suru Rinpoche, Drupon Rinpoche, Sherig Tulku Rinpoche, Tulku Ngedun Rinpoche, Tulku Zopa Gyurmey , Gangkar Rinpoche, Tulku Ngotsar Wangpo and many other Lamas and Khenpos.
The daily schedule:
  • 7:00am 9:00am morning session
  • 9:30am to 11:00am second session
  • 1:00pm to 3:00pm afternoon session: teaching by His Holiness on Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation (continuing from last year).
  • 3:30pm to 5:00pm final session
  • 7:00pm till 8:00pm (at Shechen Monastery) teaching by His Holiness for international students on Chenrizig Text "Do-don Kha-kyab ma"
On the next to last day of the ceremony, a special ceremony for the words of the Buddha was celebrated by distributing the 108 volumes of the Kangyur to the sangha, who marched in a procession around the sangha, and then recited different passages of the Buddha's words throughout the morning. In the afternoon, His Holiness made Sukhavati prayers for the deceased, and purified their path through the practice of a fire ceremony of Red Chenrezig. On January 14th, the last day of the Monlam, Bodhisattva vows were given by HE Gyaltsab Rinpoche, and the assembly recited offering prayers and engaged in a ritual meal. His Holiness gave the Chenrezig Empowerment to the assembly in the afternoon, and concluded the Monlam with the nighttime procession of the full assembly around the butterlamp-illuminated courtyard of the Mahabodhi Stupa, as the international community sang the song described above.
On January 17th, HIs Holiness departed Bodhgaya after paying is respects by visiting the main temple,where offered a ceremonial robe to the main statue of Buddha Sakyamuni and engaged in short prayers in the the main shrine. After circling the Bodhi Tree where the Buddha defeated the Maras and attained enlightenment, he left for Vajra Vidhya in Varanasi.
His Holiness had arrived in Bodhgaya two days before the commencement of the ceremony, on the morning of January 5th, His Holiness left Vajra Vidhya Institute, Varanasi, accompanied by HE Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Bo Khangkar Rinpoche and others. The party traveled by road in a convoy of some ten vehicles. Upon his arrival in Bodhgaya, His Holiness Karmapa was ceremonially welcomed by the monks and lay devotees at Shechen Monastery, his residence during his stay in Bodhgaya.
In the afternoon of January 6th, His Holiness visited the famed Mahabodhi Temple and Stupa. After making prayers and offering of flowers and fruits inside the temple of the stupa, he then inspected the site behind the stupa where the Monlam is being held. This year the offering torma and butter decorations have been newly created. Monlam ceremonies start on the 7th.
His Holiness's presence at the Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha in Bodhgaya, the place where Lord Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment, is part of his 2005 - 2006 Winter tour (click here for schedule). - Karma Woser Rapten et al.




New Year's Celebration with His Holiness (January 1, 2006)

On New Year's Day 2006, His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa conducted a refuge ceremony, giving refuge vows to the all the disciples gathered at Vajra Vidhya in Sarnath for the teaching. His Holiness also offered a very special New Year's present to the gathering of sangha and lay devotees: a new composition of a Supplication and Offering to the Guru presented to each disciple after the teaching. His Holiness himself designed the booklets on the computer, and signed each printed booklet containing the supplication.
To further commemorate the occassion, the Tsurphu Labrang offered a ceremonial rice & tea to entire students as a New Year celebration. His Holiness hosted a New Year's luncheon with Ven. Hai Tao and two other mahayana masters, along with HE Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Ven. KhenchenTrangu Rinpoche and Bo Khangkar Rinpoche.
His Holiness's presence at Vajra Vidhya Institute in Sarnath, the site where Lord Buddha Sakyamuni first started teaching the Buddhadharma, is part of his 2005 - 2006 Winter tour (click here for schedule). - Karma Woser Rapten