The 9th Kagyu Monlam Poland was celebrated from the 24th to the 26th of August 2018. As in recent years, Venerable Sangter Rinpoche presided over it.
The Kagyu Monlam Committee in Bodh Gaya appoints a Chant Master (umdze) and Torma Masters (chöpons) for each country that hosts an official Kagyu Monlam. This year Poland’s honoured guest umdze was Umdze Khenpo Chögye from Lekshey Ling Institute in Nepal. The Monlam Umdze establishes the prayer schedule and leads all the chants. He carries out a very important function.
The chöpons for this year’s Monlam – Chöpon Phurpa Gyalpo from Palpung Sherab Ling monastery and Chöpon Karma Tenzin Dorje from Samten Ling monastery – were also appointed by the Bodh Gaya Kagyu Monlam Committe. Their responsibility is to look after the ritual side of the ceremonies and amongst other tasks they create the special, lavishly decorated tormas, which are placed on the shrine among all the flowers, fruit and other offerings.
According to our established tradition, the Monlam prayer gathering was also attended by monks and lamas from Benchen monastery in Nepal, including Khenpo Ösung, who offered wonderful teachings on lojong practice during the week preceding Monlam.
Numerous Polish lamas travelled here to participate in chanting the prayers and the temple was packed full of lay practitioners. Most of them were from Poland, but there were also guests from Russia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, and a large group of Rinpoche’s students from Austria.
Every day the morning session began with Sojong vows bestowed by Khenpo Ösung.
The traditional ceremonial procession with the portrait of His Holiness Karmapa took place during the second session on the first day. After circumambulating the temple, the portrait was placed on His Holiness’ designated throne and Sangter Rinpoche offered the Mandala of the Universe to Karmapa. Following this representatives from Grabnik Centre offered the Mandala of the Universe to Sangter Rinpoche himself.
Rinpoche bestowed a Medicine Buddha empowerment during the second session on the second day. Then in the afternoon, Sangter Rinpoche performed the "Ritual for Deceased" (Jang chok). Prior to that everyone was offered the opportunity to submit the names of any deceased relatives and friends onto a list compiled for this reason. According to Buddhist tradition, a donation is made on behalf of those beings who have passed away which facilitates the possibility for them to establish a closer connection with Dharma, and accumulate merit. This is particularly beneficial for beings in the intermediate state of the bardo, as well as for future rebirths.
On the third day, following "A Ritual of Offerings to the Gurus" (Lama Chöpa) which included a tsok offering, there was a special ceremony of offering to participants the auspicious substances, attributes and symbols of prosperity. This is conducted every year and those who participate in it, receive blessings for everything to be auspicious, for positive circumstances to arise, and for prosperity to increase. When this particular ceremony is held in Bodh Gaya, significant sponsors of the Kagyu Monlam are touched directly with the pictures that symbolise the auspicious substances. Every year we also invite specific people, who have particularly, not only financially, supported the Centre in Grabnik. In this group, members of the Regular Sponsors Group and other benefactors are included as well as those, who regularly support the Centre with their dedicated physical and intellectual hard, work.
The third day, as always, was concluded with a prayer to Chenrezig and "The Lamp Prayer" (Marme Monlam). First, Rinpoche lit his lamp, and from it all other lamps were gradually lit to share the same flame. At the end, holding the lamps and chanting KARMAPA KHYENNO, Rinpoche, Khenpo, the Monlam lamas, other lamas, monks, and lay practitioners circumambulated the temple and the newly consecrated stupa which houses Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche’s relics. Sangter Rinpoche had conducted this ceremony only one week earlier, therefore circumambulating the stupa and placing lamps on it had a particularly special meaning for us all this year.
Photos can be viewed in the Gallery.