Torma Artists Karma Samten and Karma Wangchuk have written from Bodhgaya where they go every year to create beautiful works of art for the Kagyu Monlam torma display. They shared some of their recent activities with the Torma Film crew. Karma Samten sent photos of some of his latest artworks. This year he is working on sculptures of the Four Great Kings with Indian motifs. He also shared photos of wax-butter lotus flowers he made. This is a new type of flower recently designed by the Karmapa.
On December 23rd, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche initiated the gilding of the large golden Buddha statue inside of the Mahabodhi Stupa. This had been sponsored by a Kagyu Monlam member. Karma Wangchuk and fellow artists, Lama Gelek, Karma Samten, and Tashi Tsering helped to apply the gold to the statue. As Karma Wangchuk said, “It was a really great opportunity to accumulate good karma. We also did this last year with His Eminence Goshri Gyaltsab Rinpoche.”
We are very happy to announce the completion of the film, Torma. It has been quite a journey to arrive at this point because every stage of the production has had its own challenges and rewards. We offer sincere gratitude to the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje for guiding the project from its very inception in 2007. We also offer heartfelt thanks to the Karmapa and the other Kagyu Lineage Masters for graciously and generously sharing their time and wealth of knowledge about tormas. Thanks to all of the Kagyu Monlam torma artists for allowing us to film them at work creating their masterpieces. And special thanks to the sangha at Benchen Monastery in Nepal. It is our great honor to share Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche’s wonderful teaching on tormas. The full teaching/interview is available on the Torma Film DVD.
The Torma Film project is pleased to announce it has entered the post-production phase. We were lucky to be introduced to editor, producer and post-production supervisor, Georg Peter Muller from Living Films in Chiang Mai, Thailand (www.livingfilms.com). Georg is one of the firm’s founding partners and has been living and working in Thailand for 25 years.
On May 10, 2014 Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche performed the Red Crown Ceremony and granted the long life empowerment of Kunchok Chidu.
On 10th May, 2014 H.E. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche presided over the
GARCHEN TSECHU CHENMO, (Sacred Ritual Lama Dance with full Costumes and Masks), with Tulkus, Lamas, Monks and Nuns from Densa Palchen Chosling Monastery performing. [Check out the torma at 3:47]
At Densa Palchen Chosling Monastery, Ralang, South Sikkim, India
This video of the Sang puja at KTD in Jan. 2014 was created by Jason Peterson.
These large shalzes were created for the Grand Puja of the Thirteen Mandalas of the Marpa Tradition, held at Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche’s monastery, Ralang Palchen Chosling, in March 2014. Wax butter gyens mounted on shalze-shaped wooden boards over six feet tall, comprise an elaborate offering to the Buddha and Lord Marpa, as depicted in the huge thangkas adorning the front of the monastery. (Photos courtesy of Jamyang Chenmo)
By the 8th of December, sixty torma makers have arrived in Bodhgaya from over thirteen monasteries in India and Nepal. They will work until December 20th to make all the tormas (sculpted offerings) needed for the Monlam this year. Five of them are master artists who have been coming for years. Another twenty are making the simpler tormas and decorations of fruits and flowers, while the remaining thirty-five have come to apprentice. In the future, they will be able to assist at the Monlam and, returning to their monasteries, they will share with thousands this beautiful tradition that the Karmapa has revived and inspired into a newly refined and expressive art form. (photos by Filip Wolak)
By Yeshe Wangmo
The torma artists are the unsung heroes of the Kagyu Monlam. Every year they labor long hours in relative obscurity, tucked away in a private space far removed from Tergar Monastery and the bustle of other pre-Monlam preparations and activities. This year there were 64 monks and nuns working from dawn to dusk on the butter sculptures and offering tormas (Tib. shalzes) for the 30th Kagyu Monlam. (cont.) Kagyu Monlam News –The great display of offerings : tormas of the 30th Kagyu Monlam.