Monlam Schedule | General Information for All Participants





December 28, 2007, report by Karma Palmo, photo by Karma Lekcho

The 25th Monlam Chenmo is completed, not only in this place. I believe it is also completed in everybody’s heart.

It could be said the reason why I am leading the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo’s work is because I am the head of the lineage; I am the person who bears the name of Karmapa. However, it can also be said that it is because I believe that everyone in this work team has been my family for many lifetimes, either my parents, or other relatives. Therefore, with gratitude, I plunge into the task, hoping that I can make everybody even happier.

While working during the Monlam, maybe due to some temporary circumstances, you may sometimes have felt upset or uncomfortable, but from the ultimate perspective I believe Kagyu Monlam Chenmo is the spring of happiness and joy. More

An Explanation of the Kagyu Monlam logo by the Gyalwang Karmapa

December 26, 2007, Translated by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche & Karma Choephel, photo taken by Karma Lekcho

Throughout my life I have always felt that the outer natural elements and my own mind are close. I have a special connection with the four elements. I am not being superstitious and saying I can talk to the elements, but sometimes it feels that way.

Ever since the human race first appeared on this earth, we have used this earth heavily. It is said that ninety-nine percent of the resources and so on in this world come from the natural environment. We are using the earth until she is used up. The earth has given us immeasurable benefit, but what have we done for the earth in return? We always ask for something from the earth, but never give her anything back.  More

Kagyu Monlam -- for the spread of peace and happiness throughout the world

December 26, 2007, report by Karma Palmo, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Pema

Before leaving the Mahabodhi Stupa, Gyalwang Karmapa said that it was his last chance to talk to the participants gathered for the International Kagyu Monlam. He described how the Kagyu Monlam has been held 25 times in India, headed by the Gewa’i Shenyen, Bokar Rinpoche. Many great masters came, and hundreds and thousands of participants prayed for peace and happiness in the world and made the firm dedication that this would actually eventuate. So, this year, the International Kagyu Monlam offered free medical service and 5,600 people received treatment; this is a practical application of the aspiration to be of benefit to beings, of the relieving of pain and of the expression of not only mere words but real results achieved for sentient beings. More

Medicine Buddha Teachings

December 26, 2007, report by Karma Palmo, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Pema

On December 26, Gyalwang Karmapa spent one session teaching on the Medicine Buddha sadhana, ‘A Sadhana of Menlha, Compiled from the Clear Expanse of Mind, A Mind Treasure Found Within the Sky of Dharma Texts called, “A Stream of Vaidurya”.’

He began by emphasizing that bodhicitta is the most important factor in one’s practice. Only by bodhicitta can one attain enlightenment, and whether one’s practice is a Mahayana practice or not is determined by one’s motivation of bodhicitta. Everything is connected with bodhicitta; there is nothing that is not. May the bodhicitta arise in those where it does not exist, and may it increase more and more in those where it does exist. More


December 25, 2007, report by Karma Palmo, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Pema

As a special addition to the Silver Jubilee 25th Kagyu Monlam, His Holiness said that for three days the practice of Medicine Buddha would be performed, and in the morning of this first day, he would like to offer an empowerment of Medicine Buddha, followed by a teaching session on the Medicine Buddha practice the next day.

Before the empowerment, His Holiness spoke a little. He first quoted from Candrakirti: “Now we have the chance to acquire happiness for this life and for the next lives.” He went on to say that we have this choice right now. We might not always have this opportunity, and if we look not only from the Dharma point of view, but also from a general perspective, at all our lives, we cannot always get the chance to do what we want. More

Monday 24th December

December 24, 2007, report by Karma Palmo & Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Norbu & Taiwan Life TV

The final day of the 25th International Kagyu Monlam began at 6.00am as the mist cleared and the sky lightened. Gyaltsab Rinpoche conferred the Sojong vows.

Gyalwang Karmapa joined the assembly for the short second session during which the Heart Sutra and Prostrations and Offerings to the Sixteen Elders, among other brief prayers were chanted. The main event of the morning was the Alms Procession. The gelongs and gelongmas, wearing chogos and namjars, began assembling under the Bodhi Tree at 10am in their monastic order. Gyaltsab Rinpoche led the procession followed by Mingyur Rinpoche, Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku and other senior Rinpoches and lamas. The first hundred or so gelongs carried in their right hands the traditional monk’s staff, which they tapped on the ground as they walked, making the metal rings sound. Behind the gelongs came the gelongmas, the first one of which also carried the traditional staff. A group of Korean bhikshunis followed. Each monk and nun also carried a large grey metal begging bowl in their left hands. More

Sunday 23rd December

December 23, 2007, report by Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Norbu & Taiwan Life TV

The main event of the morning was the Procession of the Kangyur; all 108 volumes of the Sutra and Vinaya were carried by monks in procession around the outer and inner circuits of the Mahabodhi temple. The procession began from the bodhi tree at 7.30am. At its head came the incense-bearing, yellow-hatted chostenpas, the discipline masters, behind them a solitary monk blew a large white conch, which represents the sound of the Noble Dharma. After that came two monks blowing gyalings. Master Hai Tao, a Taiwanese lama, in the ochre robes of the Chinese Mahayana tradition, and the Venerable Hye Neung, Tibet House, Korea, in the long grey robes of a Korean monk, led the next section. They were followed by Mingyur Rinpoche, Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and the Gyalwang Karmapa, in that order, wearing their red tsesha which signify high Rinpoches in the Kagyu tradition, and carrying posna (traditional Tibetan incense holders). More

Saturday 22nd December

December 22, 2007, report by Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Norbu & Taiwan Life TV

At 11.30am Gyalwang Karmapa held a press conference on the 25th International Kagyu Monlam at Tergar Monastery. Twenty eight reporters, photographers and film crew, representing fourteen different agencies and seven countries, attended the conference. They received a pack of information about the Kagyu Monlam in either English or Chinese, and a small souvenir gift of a hat and tee shirt. Gyalwang Karmapa welcomed them and extended prayers and good wishes to all on behalf of Kagyu Monlam.

This was the second day that the free camp staffed by Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps was held in the village of Vinobapuri. The camp was set up in a local private school. On the first day 731 patients arrived. On the second day there were 826, and when the clinic finally closed in the evening, there were still about two hundred patients who had not been seen. More

Friday 21st December

December 21, 2007, report by Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Norbu & Taiwan Life TV

Gyalwang Karmapa arrived at 6.00am and conferred the Sojong vows.

Before beginning the morning prayers, he spoke to the assembly. He began with a short description of the history of Kagyu Monlam and explained that the Kagyu Monlam was able to happen because of the coming together of causes and conditions including merit; even being fortunate enough to attend the Monlam was rare, a testimony to the merit every one there had accumulated. He told everyone how fortunate they were to have attained a precious human life, to have heard the Dharma, and now to have the opportunity to visit a holy site. He talked about the value of attending Kagyu Monlam at Bodhgaya, the great opportunity it offered to all practitioners because of the sacredness of Bodhgaya itself.

Thursday 20th December

December 20, 2007, report by Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Norbu & Taiwan Life TV

Before dawn broke, Choje Gyaltsab Rinpoche conferred the Sojong vows at the Mahabodhi Temple and led the first session of the Monlam from 6.00am until 9.00am.

Gyalwang Karmapa joined the assembly at 9.30 am, resuming his transmission of The Life of Milarepa. He then gave a commentary on the Prayer of Samantabhadra: The King of Aspiration Prayers before leading the chanting of it. After lunch, he returned to the Mahabodhi Temple to lead the Akshobhya Ritual in the third session.


Wednesday 19th December

December 19, 2007, report by Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Norbu & Taiwan Life TV

Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche gave the Sojong Vows and led the first part of the Monlam prayers. There was a change in the schedule and Pal Gyalwang Karmapa arrived at 7.00am for the conclusion of a special Tsedrub Ritual for him, sponsored by The Kagyu Monlam Working Team. The Tsedrub began at Tergar Monastery on December 13th and concluded at the Mahabodhi Temple this morning, with the offering of a Tenshug (usually referred to as a ‘Long Life Prayer’). Choje Gyaltsab Rinpoche was the Vajra Master.

On the second day of the medical camp, the staff worked through from 8.30am until 5.00pm in order to meet a growing need. Word had spread through the community and more than 900 patients arrived, including many of the local children who were very eager to collect free pencil cases and lollipops but rather reluctant to take their medicine! More

Gyalwang Karmapa Blesses the Medical Camp

December 18, 2007, report by Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Norbu & Taiwan Life TV

After attending the second session of the Kagyu Monlam at the Mahabodhi Stupa, the Gyalwang Karmapa visited the Medical Camp at Birla Mandir in Bodhgaya, in order to bless the activity.

This camp is one of the special events offered this year in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Kagyu Monlam. It aims to alleviate the suffering of the local community by providing free medicine and treatment for local people. In spite of the development of tourism, there are many people living in desperate straits in Bodhgaya today, too poor to afford even the most basic medical treatment or medicine. Poverty, disease and deformity haunt the streets of this small town. More


The 25th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo Begins

December 17, 2007, report by Jo Gibson & Karma Palmo, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Norbu & Taiwan Life TV

5.15am and the dark streets of this small town, little more than a village, were alive with hundreds of people making their way through the pre-dawn gloom to the Mahabodhi Temple. Monks and nuns and laypeople, both Tibetans and foreigners, thronged through the massive red Torii gates. Designed by Gyalwang Karmapa and engineered by Choekyi Gyatso, they were built by eight carpenters brought in specially, and took three months to complete. Then, for two whole days and nights, the carpenters worked non-stop to erect them in place at the entrance to the Mahabodhi site. These massive gates represent sanctuary.


Gyalwang Karmapa Tests Gelongmas

December 16, 2007, report by Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho

As part of the on-going programme to train up monks and nuns in the new codes of conduct, the Gyalwang Karmapa personally tested gelongmas in his private shrine room this morning. Twelve nuns presented themselves at the examination : two from Australia, one from mainland China, one from Hong Kong, two from Switzerland, five from Taiwan and one from the U.K.

Everyone was obviously quite nervous at first, but Gyalwang Karmapa put them at ease as he ran them through the various sections of the codes of conduct, giving explanations, instructions and showing them how to do it when necessary. More

Gyalwang Karmapa Meets the Volunteers

December 16, 2007, report by Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho & Karma Norbu

At a short meeting in the main hall at Tergar Monastery, the Gyalwang Karmapa met a group of about 300 volunteers who are working for the 25th Kagyu Monlam. After thanking them all for the work they are doing, he encouraged them and advised that whenever difficulties or hardships arose they should keep Shakyamuni Buddha in mind and be inspired by the thought of world peace so that the difficulties and hardships would have meaning.

He blessed them individually and handed each one a protection cord and a gift of a signed photo of his hands holding a butter lamp. Each volunteer also received a special silk scarf ─ maroon for women and grey for men ─ decorated with the Kagyu Monlam logo, embroidered in gold.

An interview with the Gyalwang Karmapa

The Gyalwang Karmapa kindly gave the following interview at Tergar Monastery on 13th December.

Q : Your Holiness, please could you explain the meaning of the word monlam?
GK : From the perspective of mind, the meaning of monlam can be explained in several ways. From the perspective of the individual it means having the profound wish to bring happiness and well-being to others and simultaneously enhance our own root of virtue, dedicating that merit for the benefit of all sentient beings. That type of dream is monlam.

Q : What is its importance?
GK : Generally speaking, all major developments in human culture have come about as the result of hope and a clear vision. From the Buddhist point of view, our ultimate goal is to attain parinirvana; in this process, the role of aspiration is fundamental and threefold. At the beginning it is like the seed, in the middle it is like water and manure, and at the end it is the fruit. Without an aspiration the seed of Buddhahood will not germinate. More


The Gyalwang Karmapa Meets the Gelongmas

At a special meeting for gelongma (Sanskrit: Bhiksuni), held in his private room at Tergar Monastery this morning, the Gyalwang Karmapa welcomed everyone who had come to attend the 25th Kagyu Monlam. He then gave a short talk, discussing the reasons why he had specially invited the gelongma to attend Kagyu Monlam.

He recounted how, in 2004, when he took on the responsibility of overseeing the running of Kagyu Monlam, he began looking into the Vinaya and researching codes of conduct.


The Gyalwang Karmapa’s Vision for the International Kagyu Monlam

At a meeting with the Kagyu Monlam Committee members, the Gyalwang Karmapa shared his clear and moving vision of how the Kagyu Monlam should be. He clarified the origins of the reasons and conditions for Monlam, explaining that Monlam means aspirations, giving as an example Shakyamuni Buddha. When the Buddha made the aspiration to attain the mind of enlightenment, he offered a simple bowl of soup – a small thing, but offered with pure motivation for the ultimate aspiration. So, although it was such a small thing, its blessings pervaded the whole of space and benefited all beings.


New Initiatives in preparation for 2007 Monlam


In 2004 the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa issued new instructions on conduct to members of the Kagyu Sangha attending the Kagyu Monlam. In March 2007, there was a meeting at Gyuto of representatives from different monasteries and nunneries and the Gyalwang Karmapa personally instructed them in the new codes. They were then asked to teach these back in their own monasteries and nunneries. More


This year, in accordance with the wishes of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, many of the most important common Buddhist prayers are to be recited in the original Sanskrit form. The original Mahayana teachings were in Sanskrit so this brings us closer to that tradition and forms a continuity between past and present. Furthermore, it encourages us to study the original texts in Sanskrit. More

A Message from the Gyalwang Karmapa

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Kagyu Monlam at the Buddhist holy site of Bodhgaya. This is a small milestone in the Kagyu lineage’s activities for the benefit of sentient beings, but a big step forward for world peace and well-being. So, first of all, I would like to thank all staff members, participants, and those who have supported and been involved in the Monlam over the last 25 years. Because of the power of your aspirations and long-standing support and diligence, I sincerely hope that the Kagyu Monlam will not remain static but will flourish until peace and well-being permeate every corner of the world. More


Coming Soon -- The 25th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo

The 25th Kagyu Monlam will be held from 17th to 24th December, 2007 in Bodh Gaya, India. The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa will preside over the assembly. Kyabje Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Kyabje Gyaltsab Rinpoche along with many other senior lamas and trulkus will attend.

The Gyalwang Karmapa will continue his teaching on The Life of Milarepa and will also teach The Fivefold Mahamudra Practice to foreign students at Tergar Manastery. In addition, Pal Gyalwang Karmapa will perform the complete nyen-drub-ley-sum Purification Puja of Buddha Akshobhya for the deceased and burn their names on paper. On the first day of the Medicine Buddha Puja, Pal Gyalwang Karmapa will give teachings related to Medicine Buddha and confer the empowerment.

Other features include free medical treatments and a Charity Souvenir Bazaar to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Kagyu Monlam.

Click here for General Information for All Participants of the 25th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo
Click here for the detailed Monlam Schedule



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