Special Kagyu Monlam Day 5
2 February 2023
On the misty morning of the fifth day of the Special Kagyu Monlam, the ritual procession which displays the entire body of the Kangyur (Translated Words) in 108 volumes took place.
The day began with Mahayana Sojong, and then, as a prelude to the Kangyur procession, The Essence of Glory Practice of the Sage was read during the first session. In the second session, lines of monks and some lay people waited in the grounds of the immense Bokar Shedra. Meanwhile, inside the shrine hall, the volumes of scripture were piled high in front of the altar, and as the procession mustered, the gelongs waited patiently to collect the volume of scripture they would carry.
Finally, the procession of the 108 volumes of Kangyur scriptures, containing sutra and tantra, emerged from the main shrine hall and walked slowly down the steps. First came the lead incense-bearer, then monks playing gyalings and white conches, followed by the most senior monks from Rumtek (the Karmapa’s monastery), the Drupon and the Dorje Lobpon. They preceded a line of khenpos, organised according to the seniority of their monasteries: Rumtek first, then Sherabling, then Lava, and so forth. Next came Khenchen Lodroe Donyoe Rinpoche and Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, resplendent in ceremonial Gampopa hats and bearing incense. They were followed by the 108 gelongs carrying the precious volumes on their left shoulders, supported by their left hand and steadied by their right hand. They walked in a focused and absorbed manner, their eyes cast down on the ground ahead of them.
The procession turned right and slowly made its way along the path around the main building, which was lined on both sides by monks, nuns and a few laypeople. As the procession passed, all of those present received the blessings of the scriptures. Then, monks from the left side of the path joined the monks on the right to form a double row to receive the procession as it completed the clockwise circumambulation and walked back into the main shrine hall where the volumes were observantly placed on the centre of the shrine podium for the ritual to continue.
After the tea break, as everyone was again seated inside, the third morning session began with the Mandala Offering and the offerings and praises from The Essence of Glory Practice of the Sage. Then came the Reading of the Kangyur. Portions of the texts were carefully distributed among all the participants who knew how to read Tibetan -monks, nuns and laypeople- and the reading began. In that way, the scriptures were read in their entirety. Monks collected all the sheets methodically at the end of the reading, and the ritual was brought to a close with the conclusion of The Essence of Glory Practice of the Sage.
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