Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya
Each year, as part of the offerings during the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, the Golden Buddha image in the main shrine room at the Mahabodhi Stupa is painted.
After the final session of the Kagyu Monlam on Sunday, HE Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche went to the Mahabodhi Stupa to make this offering.
1. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche and his entourage make their way through the precinct which leads to the Mahabodhi complex.
2. The original Mahabodhi temple complex was buit by the Emperor Ashoka circa 260 BC to commemorate the place where Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment. It is thought that the current structure was built in the 5th and 6thcentury AD, at the time of the Guptas. It is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world, though it has been renovated several times during its history. It fell into dereliction but was excavated and restored extensively in the 19th century.
3. Inside the main shrine room is this world-famous golden Buddha image. It sits on the Vajrasana or diamond throne. The image is unusual because it is actually black, carved from black stone, but it is painted gold and clothed in robes.
4. The ceremony begins with prayers.
5. Gyaltsab Rinpoche begins painting the sacred image.
6. Rinpoche is assisted by Karma Wangchuk, skilled painter and torma maker.
7. With utmost care and devotion, Rinpoche applies the golden paint.
8. He covers the whole image.
9. The gilding is finished and
10. Rinpoche is assisted down from the dais by his attendant.
11. Finally the gilding is followed by dedication prayers.
12. The beauty of the Mahabodhi complex at night. The temple was designated as a World Heritage Site in 2002. It remains the holiest site for Buddhists worldwide.