In the beginning of the seminar, after a ceremonial welcome from the residents and main sponsors, Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche expressed his happiness and satisfaction with the development of the Centre in Grabnik and presented the Center with a photo of White Tara, a reproduction of the thangka Rinpoche had received from His Holiness Karmapa and a statue of Guru Rinpoche. Then, for three days, Rinpoche gave us valuable Teachings and the Senge Dongma empowerment. On the fourth day, as Rinpoche was giving an extensive Khorlo Demchok empowerment in the drubkhang, lectures were delivered on his behalf by two lamas, residents of the Centre in Allmuthen: Lama Yonten Palsang and Lama Ngawang Tsultrim.
However, the highlight of this year's seminar was the celebration of Rinpoche's eightieth birthday. In the morning of 19 August 2011, to the music of gyalings, a procession accompanied Rinpoche from His house to the temple, where a few minutes after 9 a.m. began the Sixteen Arhats puja dedicated to the long life of Rinpoche. All those present were given refreshments: traditional saffron-colored rice with raisins and real Tibetan tea (with salt!)
Lama Rinchen read a letter from His Holiness Karmapa with personal birthday wishes for Tenga Rinpoche. The residents of the Centre offered the mandala of the universe and the symbols of the Body, Speech, Mind, Qualities and Activity of the Buddha, and on behalf of all students Lama Rinchen offered Rinpoche a precious gift: a high quality gold-plated statue of White Tara - a symbol of longevity. Later, everyone could offer Rinpoche a present and immediately formed a long queue of students with gifts and khatak. Rinpoche thanked everyone by giving blessings.
At the end of the official part of the ceremony Rinpoche planted in the Center a plane tree, a symbol of longevity, brought by the representatives of Klub Gaja.
After lunch, sponsored by the Center, the artistic part began. Students heartfeltly offered Rinpoche their vocal, poetic, circus, acrobatic and other skills. We all had fun.
During the performances a delegation of the Vietnamese community arrived and a moment later cakes decorated with the auspicious symbols were brought in and we all sang Happy Birthday to Rinpoche
After the performances and Mahakala puja, Rinpoche and all participants were invited for an evening meal. Then, Lama Rinchen presented a slideshow of Rinpoche's life, including a number of archival photos from the beginning of the Benchen Monastery in Katmandu.
In the end, eighty colored lanterns were lit and flew into the evening sky. Rinpoche then went to bed, but the fun continued. Musical performances continued in the tent, and a disco in the rhythm of Balkan music started in the barn. However, the dancing did not last too long, because the next day Kagyu Monlam began at six in the morning.
The Second Kagyu Monlam in Grabnik also was not typical. The year 2010 marked the nine-hundredth anniversary of the birth of the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, the founder of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The entire period between 8th December 2010 and 27th December 2011 was devoted to the celebration of the 900th anniversary of the Kagyu lineage. In Poland, the celebration was held on the third day of the Kagyu Monlam.
Dusum Khyenpa's statue was introduced in a procession and Tenga Rinpoche personally offered it the mandala of the universe and the symbols of the Body, Speech and Mind of the Buddha. Then Rinpoche, as the official representative of His Holiness Karmapa appointed to carry out the relevant events in our country, delivered a commemorative speech. After a break, all participants took part in a sacrificial feast, tsok, reciting "Dusum Khyenpa Yoga Guru", composed specially for this occasion by His Holiness Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
Afterwards, Rinpoche thanked all the sponsors and people who support with their efforts the Grabnik Center, which Rinpoche recognized as equivalent to his official European headquarters in Allmuthen. On this occasion, Rinpoche offered the center a set of brocades, two gold-plated incense burners and all other equipment necessary for processions.
Special thanks were given to two sponsors, owing to whom it had become possible to build a temple and a new kitchen with an all-year dining hall. Rinpoche stressed that supporting both constructions gave everyone the ability to collect enormous merit
Rinpoche had mentioned the projects earlier during the seminar, but now he delivered a speech that touched all listeners, foretelling that the temple, which is to be built here thanks to the joint efforts of all our sangha, will endure kalpas, bringing immense benefits and serving the flourishing of Dharma.
The last day of Monlam ended with the traditional "Lamp Prayer". Starting from the candle lit by Rinpoche, all participants lit their candles and singing "Karmapa Kyenno" circumambulated the Centre. At the end, the burning candles were placed around Karmapa's flag in the middle of the courtyard, and below the flag, monks arranged the candles in the shape of Kagyu Monlam's symbol.
The next day, already after the end of the seminar, Rinpoche and other lamas performed a special ritual of blessing the ground for the construction of a new temple.
Photos from Rinpoche's birthday can be viewed in our Gallery.