Akshobya Ritual

The special Akshobhya shrine is set up on the porch outside the Tergar Monastery Shrine Room. His Holiness wears a white kata around his neck during the ritual.


Monks prepare the bonfire over the pacification mandala.


Buddha AkshobhyaAkshobhya is one of the five dhyani buddhas (wisdom buddhas), blue in colour. He symbolises overcoming negative emotions such as anger and hatred towards other sentient beings. 


The eight auspicious symbols - the sacred knot; the Dharma wheel; the lotus; the victory banner; the parasol; the vase; the conch; the golden fish- will be offered during the ritual


Auspicious substances: grains, grasses and seeds for the burnt offering.


Special blue mala that His Holiness uses for the ritual; blue is the colour of Akshobhya Buddha.


17th Karmapa’s Dorje and Bell


The Tibetan-style pecha used for the ritual.


Behind the monks hundreds of people watch from the lawns in front of Tergar and the patio. AA rope cordon keeps them from interrupting the ritual.


Monks who have received the Akshobhya empowerment and completed the retreat.


Foreign nuns from the Tibetan and Chinese traditions  assist in the ritual. 


Laypeople dressed in white also assist in the ritual. All of them have received the empowerment and completed the retreat in previous years.


The coloured string and a metal gate symbolise the boundaries of Buddha Akshobya's pureland, Abhirati.


The invocation


The fire for the offerings.


Darkness falls...



17th Gyalwang Karmapa leads the ritual...


and dons his black activity hat as he prepares to begin the burnt offerings..


Using long tongs the Gyalwang Karmapa carefully adds offerings to the small fire on the shrine.







The flames rise as more offerings are added



The  Gyalwang Karmapa leaves the shrine and goes to light the bonfire.


Inside on the shrine the small fire blazes...


Outside the names of living and deceased are burned on the bonfire.


There are thousands of names to be added to the flames: yellow denotes the deceased, pink is for those who are living but facing obstacles such as physical or mental illness, unhappiness and so forth.



37th Kagyu Monlam Schedule

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Recorded during the 37th Kagyu Monlam, Bodhgaya, India. January 28-30, 2020.