Past and future of Kagyu Monlam
During the past years, seven Kagyu Monlam took place in Bodhgaya, where the Buddha became enlightened. In 1996, 2000, 2004, then every year since 2007.
In 1996 took place first gathering under the Bodhi Tree – The Kagyu Monlam. That time His Holiness Karmapa received Refuge and Bodhisattva Vows from Kunzig Shamarpa.
More images from Kagyu Monlam 1996
In 2004, hundreds of disciples from all around the world came together at Bodhgaya, in India’s northeast Bihar state, to participate in the annual Kagyu Monlam, or great prayer festival. Bodh Gaya is the site of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment 2500 years ago. The town is the principal pilgrimage site for Buddhists of all traditions. The four-day event took place from December 10 to December 14, 2004.
Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche arrived in Bodhgaya on December 9th and guided the practice on the two following days. The 17th Karmapa arrived on the 12th. Along with them about 2800 monks and nuns from India and the Himalayas and about 200 participants from Europe and Asia practiced the Paths of Aspirations for the Excellent Conduct of the Noble Ones (Sanskrit: Arya Bhadracarya Pranidhana Raja), a Sutra from the Avatamsaka-Sutra, and a certain Manjushri-Tantra.
Also participating in the ceremonies were Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, Shangpa Rinpoche, and Jigme Rinpoche; reincarnate lamas including Tulku Chogyal, Tulku Tenzin and Nendo Tulku.
The daily program included:
7 to 9am — 16th Arhat Prayer and Manjushri Prayer
9:15 to 11:30am — Arya Bhadka Charya Prani Dhana Raj
1 to 2:30pm — Arya Bhadka Charya Prani Raj
2:45 to 5pm — A cycle of five wishing prayers:
Maitreya Prayer, Bodhisattva Charyavatara Prayer, Amitabha Prayer: Wishing prayer for rebirth in Dewachen, Mahamudra Wishing Prayer, Wishing prayer for rebirth in the pure realm of Buddha Akshobya, followed by the short Mahakala Puja.
On December 13th, Gyalwa Karmapa inthroned a Tulku from Manang, Nepal, and the next day, he also gave a number of private and public audiences.
On December 14, the final day of the event, the Kagyu Monlam concluded with the ritual of Korwa Tongtruk, a practice for the deceased, and the Milarepa guru-yoga accompanied by a variety of offerings (ganachakra / tsok).
Thousands of prayer flags decorated the places of prayer, and participants contributed large amounts of food offerings and butter lamps. Some groups from Western countries also distributed food to the local people of the area.
In 2007, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje led the Monlam prayers for world peace and liberation for all sentient beings on Nov 10th through the 14th at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya. From all over the world people gathered to recite prayers, particularly the “King of Aspiration Prayers”, with His Holiness Karmapa, His Holiness Shamarpa and numerous other prominent Rinpoches and dignitaries from monasteries and Dharma centers of the Kagyu order throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas.
In the future, every year a Kagyu Monlam will take place at the same period of time. Giving a chance to a maximum of people to attend this great and important event.