His Holiness in Sarnath and Bodhgaya

At the conclusion of January through early February, 2003, the Gyalwang Karmapa was at the Kagyu Monastery in Sarnath. A photographic slide show of some of His Holiness's recent activities in Bodhgaya and Sarnath, India is now available here.

Sarnath, India, outside Varanasi, is one of the four most important pilgrimage spots marking the Buddha's life, and is where the Buddha first turned the Wheel of Dharma at Deer Park. While in Sarnath before Losar, His Holiness gave an Amitayus Empowerment on January 26th. On January 27th, he conferred Bodhisattva Vows on the assembly. On the 29th, he traveled through the area consecrating a number of new buildings, such as the stupa at the Universal Education Center. On the 31st and February 1st, he presided over the Mahakala Puja and other ceremonies for the New Year.


The Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha

His Holiness confers a long life blessing
 at the Kagyu Monlam in January 2003

In January, 2003, HH The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa presided over the conclusion of the Pal Nyammay Kagyupay Sangha Monlam Chenmo, "The Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha." The gathering of Kagyu monks from all over the world takes place annually at the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Bodhgaya, India, under the Bodhi tree, the site where the Buddha attained enlightenment. The purpose of the Monlam is to bring peace to the world and to increase happiness and wisdom for everyone.

His Holiness arrived in New Delhi on January 4th and Bodhgaya on the evening of the January 5th. He joined the Monlam on the 6th and in the afternoon conferred a Tara empowerment. On the 7th, the Monlam was graced by the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who joined the Karmapa under the Bodhi Tree for the concluding session. The Karmapa performed Tsok offerings and prayers, and joined His Holiness the Dalai Lama in extending great blessings, prayers and aspirations for an end to all suffering and that all beings without exception may quickly attain peace and enlightenment.

This was the second year in which His Holiness has presided over the Great Kagyu Monlam ceremonies. After the Monlam, His Holiness Karmapa left for Varanasi, where he will maintained a regular schedule while in residence for a few days at the Vajra Vidhya Institute, the monastery of the Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche, the Karmapa's main tutor.

From January 14-20, His Holiness returned to Bodhgaya to receive The Kalachakra ("Great Wheel of Time") Abhisheka from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. While there, the Karmapa held blessing audiences each day for the public. Many thousands of participants received blessings. The Karmapa also visited other sacred sites in Bodhgaya, such as the Buddhist temples representing Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Bhutan. Many persons attending the Kalachakra visited His Holiness in Bodhgaya, including high-ranking officials from Bhutan and many ordinary persons.

After the Kalachakra ceremonies concluded in Bodhgaya, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa both proceeded to Sarnath. On January 21st, the Dalai Lama and Gyalwang Karmapa dined for lunch together at Vajra Vidhya monastery in Sarnath, India, and spent time together. HH the Dalai Lama then departed for a short schedule in Sarnath and Varanasi before returning to Dharamsala.

Slideshow of His Holiness in Bodhgaya and Sarnath 2003