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34th Kagyu Monlam Torma-making

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

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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!




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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

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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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Butter Sculpture

The Roots of American Butter Sculpture

from Wikipedia:

The earliest butter sculpture in the modern sense (as public art and not a banquet centerpiece) can be traced to the 1876 Centennial Exhibition where Caroline Shawk Brooks, a farm woman from Helena, Arkansas, displayed her Dreaming Iolanthe, a basrelief bust of a woman modeled in butter.[1] It was kept cold with a system of layered bowls and frequent ice changes.[1] Brooks had no formal art training but as a farmer she spent years making butter and since 1867, to make the work more interesting, she began sculpting it, eventually using it as a selling point.[1] As her skills progressed she began to see it as more than marketing butter, indeed as an art form unto itself.[1] In 1873 she made her masterpiece Dreaming Iolanthe, which she would re-do over the years at regional exhibitions around the US.[1]Thus she was invited to bring a replica to the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 where it drew so much attention and praise she was invited to sculpt live for the crowds.[1] Afterwards she studied in Paris and Florence and eventually became a professional sculptor who worked in marble, but occasionally made more butter art.[1] She returned for the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition and made busts of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus, however by now she was not the only butter sculptor, the art form was coming into its own.[1]

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The Kalachakra Sand Mandala progresses

The Kalachakra Sand Mandala, July 9
The Kalachakra Sand Mandala, July 10
Kalachakra tormas on the stage at the Verizon Center.
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Wax Butter Color Palette

This clip shows the color palette used by one of the torma artists working in Bodhgaya on the Kagyu Monlam tormas.