Benchen Karma Kamtsang Centre,
August 28 – 30, 2020
Due to the pandemic situation, no Tibetan Lamas could come to Poland this year. Also, according to epidemiological rules, only a limited number of people could stay in the temple. However, the head of Benchen Monastery, His Eminence Drubwang Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, advised us to continue our yearly practice of holding a Kagyu Monlam, even with a small assembly. Rinpoche said that the number of people is not important; what is important is to maintain the continuity of practice. Also Ven. Sangter Tulku Rinpoche, who has most often presided over our Kagyu Monlam in previous years, encouraged us very strongly to maintain this activity.
Accordingly, thanks to the blessings and inspirations of our Lamas, our 11th Kagyu Monlam was completed in a very auspicious way and in a very uplifting atmosphere. This year, Lama Rinchen - the main lama of the Benchen Centre in Poland - led the ceremonies. Only 50 people were present in the temple, but all the prayers and ceremonies were transmitted publically via on-line streaming, so over one hundred people participated continuously in the prayers from a distance.
As is the tradition, on the first day we held a solemn procession with a portrait of His Holiness the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. After circumambulation of the stupa and the temple, the picture was placed on His Holiness’s throne, and Polish lamas offered a Mandala of the Universe and the symbols of Awakened Body, Speech, Mind, Qualities and Activity to the Gyalwang Karmapa - the source of all blessing and inspiration, and the supreme head of our lineage.
During the second day of Monlam, in the afternoon session, we performed the Medicine Buddha ritual and dedicated it to all those who have suffered in any way because of the pandemic. On the third day, in the afternoon, we offered a Jetsun Milarepa tsok puja.
As is the custom each year, on the evening of the last day, we offered the Marme Monlam, the Lamp Prayer. Literally, just after the last syllable of the dedication prayers was pronounced, a bolt of lightning hit remarkably close to the temple and immediately a heavy storm began. Consequently, we had to place our lamps on the shrine under the feet of the great Buddha Statue, not at the stupa, as in previous years. The storm was unusually intense, and thunderclaps and lightning filled the sky for a long time. Everybody considered it as a very auspicious sign.