The Reading of the Kangyur: Connecting with the Words of the Buddha

The Reading of the Kangyur, the Tibetan translations of the original teachings of the Buddha, occupied the second half of the morning session on the fifth day of the 35th Kagyu Monlam. The Reading is a quintessential collective effort by the assembled Monlam, with every Tibetan-literate person taking part. This connection to the words of the Buddha also resonates, for Dharma practitioners, as a deep expression of faith and devotion, with many a lay reader shedding tears merely to be able to hold the precious texts.

 

1. After the Kangyur Procession and the Mandala Offering with 37 Features, the 110 volumes of the Kangyur make their way to the assembled Kagyu Monlam.

 

2. Once unwrapped from their golden brocade, the oversized sheets were distributed to Sangha and lay practitioners able to read from the Tibetan.

 

 

 

4. Gyaltsap Rinpoche and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche also participated in the Reading of the Kangyur.

 

 

 

6. Many Tibetans (and, here, Bhutanese) came especially for the Reading of the Kangyur, in order to connect with the sacred words of the Buddha.

 

7. Each reader was given a sheaf of pages, anywhere from a couple up to a dozen or so.

 

8. Everybody read at their own pace, the many different voices on many different passages yet producing a melodious recitation.

 

9. The Reading of the Kangyur is precisely the reading of the whole Kangyur: all the pages of all the 110 volumes are distributed and read in this one sitting, which this year took a little less than 90 minutes to complete.

 

10. It might seem like a logistical nightmare, but after the Reading, the pages all manage to be collected back into the right volume, in the right order. Then great care is taken in their re-wrapping.

 

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