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  • SABA Celebrates 900 years of Karma Kagyu Lineage at Bodhgaya

    Published on December 31, 2010

    Bihar: South Asia Buddhist Association (SABA) recently commemorated the 900 years of the Karma Kagyu Lineage at the holy monastery of Maha Bodhi Stupa, Bodhgaya. This year marks the 900th year since the birth of the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa (1110-1193), who founded the lineage of Karma Kagyu in 1139 C.E.

    Both His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu Lineage, the 14th Shamarpa Rinpoche, also known as the Red Hat Karmapa and the Governor of Bihar His Excellence Dev Anand Korkani  were present in Bodhgaya on this auspicious occasion.

    The lineage of the Karmapas is the oldest lineage of consciously reborn spiritual masters (tulkus), stretching back to the 12th century. The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, indicated prior to his death that he was to take rebirth again in Tibet. The second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi, was thus the first consciously reborn lama of Tibet. Ever since, the Karmapas have continued to manifest in successive incarnations, the present Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje being the seventeenth in this line.

    The Shamarpa lineage is the second oldest reincarnate lineage in Tibetan Buddhism. Shamarpa Rinpoche (Mipham Chokyi Lodro) is a lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and the mind manifestation of Amitabha Buddha.

    The festivities at the foot of the Mahabodhi Stupa were opened by the ceremonial addresses of the 17th Karmapa and 14th Shamarpa Rinpoche who led a special practice for receiving the blessing of Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa and the masters of the Kagyu Lineage. Thereafter, Shamarpa Rinpoche performed a Mandala offering, followed by a Guru Yoga Puja along with tsog and lamp offerings.

    The day wrapped up with the mesmerising performance by a troupe of artists of international repute who presented their famous stage production of the “Twelve Deeds of Buddha Shakya Muni”. The audience at the performance was moved by this presentation of the dramatic version of the major events in the historical Buddha Shakya Muni’s life. Spiritual leaders, lamas, nuns and devotees from across the globe had gathered to participate in the commemoration.

    In an interview on the topic of the significance of this event the 17th Karmapa said, “Since all manifestations that we experience are born out of our mind, meaning wishes, this present experience of our life is a proof that all aspirations and wishes do come true. May the prayers and aspirations made on the auspicious occasion of the 900th anniversary of Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa benefit all sentient beings.”

    Speaking on the occasion, Shamarpa Rinpoche said, “Today, at this blessed place where the Buddha attained enlightenment, we are celebrating the 1st Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa’s memory, rejoicing in the Bodhisattva commitments he has made for all sentient beings. May the merit generated here today spread throughout the world as a source of relief to eliminate all the natural disasters and the tribulation that has come along with those in the past, to stop all wars, famine, crimes and injustices. May peace prevail for all and New Year spread spiritual prosperity amongst all sentient beings.”

    The sound of Gyalings (Tibetan musical instruments used in religious ceremonies), drums and cymbals made the ambience divine. The place was intrinsically charged with the ongoing sacred   chants done by thousands of Buddhist followers who had come to Bodhgaya from all over the world to witness and participate in this historical event. Prayers were offered for the safety of our country and the entire world. A strong positive fervour pervaded the whole place.

    Monastery in New Delhi

    The Karmapa International Buddhist Institute originates from the wishes of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa. He specified certain projects to be completed in order to establish the Karma Kagyu lineage outside of the Himalayan region. Among these projects was an institute of higher learning and study of Buddha’s timeless wisdom, including Buddhist philosophy, theory of perception and the Tibetan language, which was to be accessible to Buddhists from around the world. The Indian government donated a plot of land to H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa for this purpose. After the death of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa in 1981, Shamarpa Rinpoche carried out the vision and founded K.I.B.I., which opened in the autumn of 1990.

    The Karmapa International Buddhist Institute has recently completed more than 20 years of service towards providing significant knowledge of the foundations of Buddhist philosophy and practice for individuals all over the world who have participated and continue to participate in the annual courses.

    To shoulder a community responsibility the Karmapa Charitable Trust was established by the 16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje. Since then the Trust has been working extensively in Sikkim for the education of underprivileged children and physically challenged people. The Trust is the rightful administrator of Rumtek monastery in Sikkim.