His Holiness Karmapa Visits the Mahabodhi Temple and the Nyingma Monlam Shrines

His Holiness Karmapa makes offerings and prayers inside the Mahabodhi Temple with Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche and Ayang Rinpoche in attendance. After the prayers, His Holiness walked around the Stupa and offered Katas to the Nyingma Monlam shrines.

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Gyalwang Karmapa arrived in Bodhgaya ~ Emaho « Kagyu Monlam Blog

Emaho, His Holiness Karmapa arrived in Bodhgaya this afternoon. Around one thousand monks from the annual debate and hundreds of devotees from around the world waited joyfully at Tergar Monastery for His Holiness Karmapa and gave him a grand welcome. His Holiness Karmapa will stay in Bodhgaya through early March and will lead all Pre-Monlam activities and the 29th Kagyu Monlam.

via Gyalwang Karmapa arrived in Bodhgaya ~ Emaho « Kagyu Monlam Blog.

The Nyingma Monlam Chenmo Tormas

The 23rd Nyingma Monlam Chenmo for World Peace started yesterday in Bodhgaya and will continue until February 2.

Luminaries attending include Dilgo Yangsi Rinpoche, Rabjam Rinpoche, and Dudjom Rinpoche (to name only a few). The Nyingma Monlam  provides the sole occasion for members of the diverse lineages of the Nyingma Tradition to congregate and pray for world peace.

Every year since 1989 the Nyingma Monlam Chenmo has been held at the holy place of Bodhgaya during the first ten days of the twelfth month of the Tibetan calendar year. This has become an auspicious occasion for the followers of the Nyingma lineages to pray for all sentient beings and to honor the founders of their tradition. The 10th day of the Monlam is observed as Guru Padmasambhava day and the Tsok offered with devotion to Guru Padmasambhava witnesses the conclusion of the annual event. For more info go here.

The Nyingma Monlam Gate at the entrance to the Mahabodhi Temple and Bodhi Tree

Enjoy this extensive slideshow featuring the vast array of tormas prepared for the auspicious gathering:

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Tormas in Memory of the Late H.H. Khenchen Jigme Phuntsog Jungne (1933-2004)

A monlam was recently held in Bodhgaya in honor of the 9th anniversary of the passing of H.H. Khenchen Jigme Phuntsog.

Banner at the entrance to the Mahabodhi Stupa announcing the H.H. Jigme Phuntsog Monlam

A shrine was erected in his honor.

At the age of two, he was recognized as a incarnation of the Terton Sogyal, Lerab Lingpa and is cited as being the most influential Lama of the Nyingma tradition in contemporary Tibet. He played an important role in revitalizing the teaching of Tibetan Buddhism following the liberalization of religious practice in Tibet in 1980 and is well-known for having established the Serthar Buddhist Institute in 1980 near the town of Serthar in Sichuan Province. Despite its remote location, the Institute grew from a handful of disciples gathering in Khenpo’s home to be one of the largest and most influential centers for the study of Tibetan Buddhism in the world, numbering to nearly 10,000 monks, nuns, and lay disciples by the year 2000.

Khenpo Jigme Phuntsog was also an extraordinary Terton (Buddhist treasure revealer), uncovering many treasures texts in Tibet, as well as other parts of China, and India. In the 1990s, he began an appeal to traditional Tibetan yak herders to refrain from commercial sale of their livestock for spiritual and cultural reasons that has grown into the Anti-Slaughter Movement.

Around 1999 the Sichuan United Work Front pressed him on the issue of his support for the Dalai Lama, and demanded that he reduce the number of students at the Institute (either to 150 or to 1400, depending on reports). Jigme Phuntsog refused. In summer of 2001 several thousand members of the People’s Armed Police and the Public Security Bureau descended on the site, razing its structures and dispersed its students.

Khenpo Jigme Phuntsog died of heart failure in 2004, at the age of 70 in Tibet. (These biographical notes are taken from Wikipedia. For more info go here.)

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Karmapa on the significance of the tormas created for the 26th Kagyu Monlam

Here is a video montage featuring excerpts of a talk by His Holiness, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, in which he explained the significance of the tormas created for the 26th Kagyu Monlam (filmed in Bodhgaya, India in 2009). The text below is followed by a link to the transcript of the entire teaching: A Talk on the Relationship Between Masters and Disciples.

Excerpts from “A Talk on the Relationship Between Masters and Disciples:”

“We have expanded a number of the features of the site where we are holding the twenty-sixth Kagyu Monlam, including the main gates and so forth, and I thought it would be good to briefly point out what the tormas represent. The main decorative tormas are those with images of Marpa, Milarepa, and Gampopa on the right, and on the left, those with images of the forebears of the Nyingma school of the early translations, the glorious Sakya lineage, and the Gelukpa order.

The main principle these tormas illustrate is that when we consider the Tibetan Buddhist teachings, there are basically no lineages that are not mixed with the others. When the three Dharma kings Songsten Gampo, Trisong Deutsen, and Tri Ralpachen first established the Dharma in Tibet, the lineage that emerged at that time became known as the “Nyingma school of secret mantra.” Thus the Nyingma was Tibet’s first Buddhist lineage. Later on, during the reign of King Langdarma, the teachings were wiped out of Tibet, and the later propagation of the teachings began. That is the difference between the Nyingma and Sarma vajrayana schools.

Then the oral lineage of the Kadampa masters was passed down from the glorious Atisha, and the Sakya, Kagyu, and Geluk lineages successively appeared. The stages of the teachings of all of these lineages, along with their basic starting points, are the same. The different individual lineages arose out of different lineages of lamas and instructions, but fundamentally there is not even a single lineage that is not mixed with the others. In sum, all Tibetan lineages have been passed down intermingled with the others—all of them share Dharma connections and connections of samaya….”

“Therefore the presence of images of the root and lineage gurus from all of the Tibetan Buddhist lineages here today means that all Tibetan Buddhist lineages are nothing other than the teachings of the Buddha: They are all the same….”

For the entire teaching see link below:

A Talk on the Relationship between Masters and Disciples


A Dazzling Visual Feast of Butter Sculpture Celebrates the Kalachakra Teachings and Empowerment in Bodhgaya, India

The Tormas created for the Kalachakra are currently on display beneath the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya, India, January 2012

The Organizing Committee Banner for the 14th Dalai Lama's 32nd Kalachakra Initiation

The amazing butter sculptures displayed below were created by the Gyuto and Gyudmed monks for the Kalachakra teachings and initiation currently taking place in Bodhgaya. They depict the Seventeen Nalanda Masters: Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Buddhapalita, Bhavaviveka, Chandrakirti, Shantideva, Shantarakshita, Kamalashila, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Dignaga, Dharmakirti, Arya Vimuktisena, Haribhadra, Gunaprabha, Shakyaprabha, and Atisha; Green Tara, White Tara, the Buddha Sakyamuni, Milarepa, the Dalai Lama, Tsongkhapa, and various other deities.

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From Kagyu Office: the Website of His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa — Preserving a Unique Spiritual Art Form, Gyalwang Karmapa Instructs Torma Makers

December 30, 2011- Sarnath, Varanasi.

His Holiness the Karmapa today addressed a group of 80 butter sculptors, including monks and nuns from over 35 monasteries and nunneries. Tibetan butter sculptures, sometimes loosely referred to tormas, are ritual cakes typically made of butter and other substances and often beautifully decorated. Each year, His Holiness appoints teams to create a dazzling visual feast of such images of buddhas, bodhisattvas and other holy beings.

via Kagyu Office: the Website of His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa.