Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya
22 January, 2019
The 36th Kagyu Monlam has concluded successfully and most of the participants are making their way back to their monasteries or homes, except for the nuns who will now begin their annual Winter Dharma Meeting, the Arya Kshema.
Looking back over the last two weeks, here are some of the points of note this year.
1. One significant feature this year was the number of laypeople who attended from the Himalayan regions: more than 3200.
2. There were more than 4000 monastics - monks
3. and nuns.
4. In addition there were Rinpoches and Tulkus.
5. 1300 participants came from abroad.
6. Of particular importance was the contribution of the people of Nyeshang: not only did their community sponsor the Monlam, but those who were able to attend participated fully as volunteers:
7. … women served tea and lunch
8. … prepared vegetables in the kitchen
9. …and washed the bowls.
10. The men served as dharmapalas.
11. Generally, the keyword this year seemed to be simplicity.
The Welcome Gate was a traditional Tibetan design.
12. The stage decoration was also less ornate, with flower arrangements bringing colour and beauty . There was a sense of spaciousness…
13. and an emphasis on symmetry.
14. The great, seven-foot high tormas used to be on the top tier, but this year, under instructions from the Gyalwang Karmapa, the great tormas were moved down onto the stage itself.
15. Instead of the usual eight tormas, there were only six this yearbecause the theme was The Six Buddha Families.
16. The nuns continued to be co-equal chant leaders with the monks.
17. The timing of the Akhshobhya Fire Puja was changed to early afternoon rather than evening.
18. A special Mahakala Puja was added to the programme to remove obstacles and support the Gyalwang Karmapa’s swift return to India.