17th Karmapa, Bodhgaya, Buddha, Buddhism, Butter Sculpture, Film, India, Kagyu Lineage, Kagyu Monlam, Mahakala Tormas, Ogyen Tinley Dorje, torma photo, tormas, Uncategorized

34th Kagyu Monlam Torma-making

In February 2017 the Kagyu Monlam torma artists were creating their artworks. Enjoy the slideshow:

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17th Karmapa, Buddha, Buddhism, Butter Sculpture, Kagyu Lineage, Kagyu Monlam, Mingyur Rinpoche, torma photo, tormas

2016 North American Kagyu Monlam Tormas

Torma master artists: Karma Samten (left) and Karma Wangchuk (right)

According to the 2016 North American Kagyu Monlam website:

“The chöpöns who have kindly come to Kagyu Thubten Chöling include Karma Wangchuk, a master artist from Rumtek Monastery, seat of the sixteenth Karmapa; and Karma Samten, who was trained at Dilyak Monastery in Nepal. Both are members of a select group of torma artists assembled by His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa in 2005, during which they received additional training in the intricate design and detail of torma as part of the preparation for the 2005 Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya.

Eight four-foot tall torma, painted in brilliant colors, are being created for the 2016 North American Kagyu Monlam, gifts of love to great lineage masters of the Kagyu tradition: Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa; the First, Eighth, and Sixteenth Karmapas; and the Eighth and Eleventh Tai Situpas. In addition, the torma will be ornamented with the Eight Auspicious Symbols and the Eight Auspicious Substances.”

(Photos by Margot R. Becker)

The Marpa Lotsawa torma:

NA Kagyu Monlam Torma (July 2016) 4

The Milarepa torma:

NA Kagyu Monlam Torma (July 2016) 8

The Choje Gampopa torma:

NA Kagyu Monlam Torma (July 2016) 3

The 1st Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa torma:

NA Kagyu Monlam Torma (July 2016) 7

The 8th Karmapa Mikyo Dorje torma:

NA Kagyu Monlam Torma (July 2016) 2

The 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpai Dorje torma:

NA Kagyu Monlam Torma (July 2016) 6

The 8th Tai Situpa Panchen Chokyi Jungne torma:

NA Kagyu Monlam Torma (July 2016) 1

The 11th Tai Situpa Pema Wangchuk Gyalpo torma:

NA Kagyu Monlam Torma (July 2016) 5

May it be auspicious!




17th Karmapa, Buddha, Buddhism, Kagyu Lineage, Kagyu Monlam, Ogyen Tinley Dorje, Tibet, vegetarianism

Vegetarian, Feminist Tibetan Monk Taking the US Ivy Leagues By Storm | Adele Wilde-Blavatsky

Karmapa Khyenno!

Twenty-nine year old Tibetan man, Orgyen Trinley Dorje – the 17th Karmapa – is currently on a two-month lecture tour of prestigious US universities, including Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Tickets for all events were immediately sold out. Who is this monk who, after visiting the headquarters of Google and Facebook, spoke about the need for a kinder internet culture? Why are so many people seeking his advice and inspiration in the 21st Century?

via Vegetarian, Feminist Tibetan Monk Taking the US Ivy Leagues By Storm | Adele Wilde-Blavatsky.

17th Karmapa, Bodhgaya, Buddha, Buddhism, Butter Sculpture, Film, Kagyu Lineage, Kagyu Monlam, Monlam Chenmo, Ogyen Tinley Dorje, tormas

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

Bodhgaya, Buddha, Buddhism, Mingyur Rinpoche

Letter from Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche when Departing for Retreat

In early June, 2011, Mingyur Rinpoche left his monastery in Bodhgaya, India to begin a period of extended solitary retreat. He departed in the middle of the night without telling anyone. He did not take any money or belongings, just the clothes he was wearing. The day after he left, his close friend and attendant, Lama Soto, found this letter in Mingyur Rinpoches room.

via Tergar Meditation Community | Teachings & Resources | News & Newsletters | August, 2010 – Letter from Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche when Departing for Retreat.

17th Karmapa, Buddha, Buddhism, Kagyu Lineage, Tibet

Huffington Post: The Karmapa: Tibetan Buddhism’s Next Great Leader?–Paul Brandeis Raushenbush

At first look, His Holiness The Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa is intimidating. Well built, self possessed, and with a keen glance, he walks more like a middle weight boxer than one of the most venerated religious figures in Tibetan Buddhism.

via Paul Brandeis Raushenbush: The Karmapa: Tibetan Buddhism’s Next Great Leader?.

Amitabha Puja, Buddha, Buddhism, Columbarium at Karme Ling, Columbarium shrine, Kagyu Lineage, Karme Ling Retreat Center, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, torma photo, tormas

Amitabha Jangchok Puja and the Importance of Choosing a Proper Burial Site

In a couple of weeks, from May 15-17, the annual Amitabha Retreat will take place at Day Den Shing, the Columbarium at Karme Ling Retreat Center in upstate New York. On the third day, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche will perform the Jangchok, a special ceremony to liberate the consciousnesses of the deceased. It is a very fortunate opportunity for those beings whose ashes will be interred in the Columbarium, but it is not just limited to them. This is an amazing ritual to witness. The Karmapa does a similar puja every year in Bodhgaya at the end of the Akshobyha Retreat, whereby Monlam attendees are invited to submit the names of  friends and relatives who have passed away. At a certain point in the puja, the Karmapa burns the lists of names and liberates the beings. Below is a slideshow of the Jangchok at Karme Ling in previous years and below that are Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s remarks on the importance of choosing a proper burial site from a tantric point of view.

The urns, made of African red granite and containing the ashes of the deceased, are blessed during the Amitabha puja

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The Importance of Choosing a Proper Burial Site

As is written in the sutras, the end of birth is death. None of us will escape death. After death, many people have their ashes cast into water, but there is no evident dharmic reason for this, and in fact, according to Tibetan Buddhist tantric teachings, this may not be the best course of action for the descendants of the deceased.

During a question and answer session at the annual 10-day teaching at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in July of 2007, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche made several comments regarding the importance of choosing a good burial site. His remarks have been summarized below:

The remnant of a person’s being that tends to stay with the person’s remains for a long time after death is not the person’s consciousness. The person’s consciousness moves on because after a certain period of time it takes rebirth. What remains with the body of the deceased is something else. And this something else is not talked about much, if at all, in the sutras, but is talked about frequently in the tantras. And it is called the person’s “la.” In English, the best word for this is their “spirit” if you understand that spirit does not mean the person’s mind, consciousness, or soul or anything like that.

Now, what is this spirit or la if it isn’t the deceased person’s mind, or their consciousness? One way you can think of it is the god or gods that inhabit the person’s body, that are inherited from both parental lines. In any case, it is this ancestral spirit that inhabits the place of burial or interment of the remains, and it is because of the effect of the place of burial on this spirit, that there is significance in the burial site. And we use the word “burial” but understand that it could also be the place where one’s ashes are kept after death.

If the body is interred in a good place, a sound environment with excellent feng shui, then this strengthens or nourishes this spirit. If the spirit is nourished, the descendants of that person will benefit because the spirit remains there perennially. If the body is buried in an inappropriate place or environment, (a place with bad feng shui) the spirit doesn’t die, but it becomes enervated or weak–it is not nourished. And if the spirit of the person becomes weak, this harms the person’s descendants; they may experience various sorts of mishaps, illnesses, impoverishment and so on. This is one of the reasons, the primary reason, for the importance of appropriate burial sites.

Now because of this, it is often said that when a family goes to a lama for divination, to find out why they have such bad luck, generation after generation, often the diagnosis will be the impairment or damage to the spirit of an ancestor, caused by the improper burial of that ancestor’s remains. So while Rinpoche says he doesn’t know exactly what this spirit is, he’s seen sufficient evidence to be assured of its existence and of the importance in choosing the best possible burial place according to feng shui, or geomancy.

Furthermore, it has been taught that there is a great danger of the untimely death of young people if geomancy is ignored. Rinpoche said, “I have seen and experienced this myself. If geomancy is ignored, great obstacles such as misery for the dead and illness for the living can occur. If geomancy is observed, both the dead and the living will be happy. This has been taught by the Buddha, Guru Rinpoche, and others.”