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Losar Program Six: The Great Row Ceremony

24 February, 2012

Photo Story Series

  1. Traditionally, on the third day of Losar the Gyalwang Karmapa meets with his Labrang, monasteries and other staff in “The Great Row Ceremony”..

  1. called because everyone sits in rows before him.

  1. All the staff line up outside the shrine room in their very best clothes to greet the Gyalwang Karmapa, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche.

  1. Gyalwang Karmapa wears a special brocade chuba over his robes and blue and white boots. This costume is only worn at Losar.

  1. He holds a khatag in his left hand, connecting him to his ‘simpon’ or Lord Chamberlain.

  1. Tsurphu Labrang lay staff form a row to the right of the Gyalwang Karmapa…behind them sit rinpoches and members of Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche’s and Gyaltsap Rinpoche’s staff..

  1. Tsurphu Labrang monks sit with Khenpos, umzes and chotrimpas of all the Karma Kagyu monasteries on the left.

  1. A Losar offering of donkey’s ears kabsey, fresh fruit, dried fruit and sweets stands near Jamgon Kongtrul’s throne

  1. The Chanting Masters from the Gutor before Losar offer prayers

  1. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche consecrates the amrit which is distributed to everyone there.

  1. The ceremony includes two rounds of Tibetan butter tea —Gyaltsap Rinpoche watches his being poured…

  1. This year’s ceremony included the presentation of long-service rewards to those members of the Labrang who had served the 16th Karmapa Rigpe Dorje..

  1. such as Soepon Lodro Sherab is nearly 90 years old. He was an attendant of the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa at Tsurphu in Tibet, and escaped with him to India in 1959. He still lives at Rumtek

  1. And Dala who was a monk at Tsurphu. He also travelled to India with the 16th Karmapa, and has been serving the 17th Karmapa as nyerpa.

  1. Simpon Lama Paljor is in his seventies – he was also an attendant to the 16th Karmapa.

  1. Lama Phuntsok travelled to the USA with the 16th Karmapa in 1976, and has also served the 17th Karmapa in India.

  1. Gompo Tsering joined the 16th Karmapa’s staff as the English secretary and translator in 1980. He was the first English teacher at Sri Nalanda Institute, Rumtek, and now serves the 17th Karmapa in Dharamsala.

  1. Chog Ngodup Tsering joined the 16th Karmapa’s staff in 1974 and worked as one of his translators. He is still translating - these days for the 17th Karmapa.

  1. Flanked by two of his heart sons, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa gazes on…


Report by Michele Martin, photos taken by Karma Lekcho, Filip Wolak, Liao Guo Ming, Palten Nyima




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