January 15 – 27, 2020
The Chanting Master Training Course for nuns and monks, sponsored by the Kagyupa International Monlam Trust, took place from January 15 to 27, 2020 in the Monlam Pavillion library. 56 nuns and monks participated in the training which was led by Rumtek Umdze Öser, assisted by four senior umdzes from Benchen, Leksheyling, Ralang and Dilyak monasteries.
In Tibetan Buddhist practice, the umdze or chanting master is an essential part of all rituals.They lead the prayers while the chöpon [the ritual master] performs other aspects of the ritual such as making the offerings. A skilled umdze is able to regulate the timing of each part of a ritual and maintain the correct melodies exactly. Often a team of umdzes work together, as at Kagyu Monlam.
During the course, the trainees studied and rehearsed melodies for the most important prayers from the Kagyu Monlam. Umdze Öser demonstrated the correct rhythm and melody and the monks and nuns repeated them until they reached a satisfactory standard.