Promptly following the morning Kagyu Monlam teachings, a formal daily Sangha lunch is offered in Tergar shrine room for fully ordained Sangha, those who hold the gelong (bhikshu) or gelongma (bhikshuni) vows. Monks, nuns, and lay volunteers specially prepare three-hundred and ten place settings that include an alms bowl (lhung ze), a water bowl, spoon, and plate.
Seated on cushions in fourteen-rows, the Sangha begins with offering prayers. The volunteers served nine items on the first day including rice, fried potatoes, a cauliflower dish, eggplant with string beans, stir-fry cabbage, daal, chili sauce, fruit juice and lassi. The Sangha eats silently maintaining the decorum of discipline. When the wooden block’s staccato sound signals the end of the meal, all the Sangha place their plates and spoons atop their alms bowls in unison. While chanting the Heart Sutra, the younger volunteer monks collect the rice offering (chang bu) made to be given to the hungry ghosts.
1. 310 place settings are set out in Tergar shrine for the first Sangha lunch of the 35th Kagyu Monlam
2. Donning their yellow ceremonial robes (chogüs), gelongs and gelongmas prepare for lunch to begin
3. Each Sangha member has an alms bowl (lhung ze), a water bowl, spoon, and plate
4. Offering prayer is given
5. 40 monk volunteers from different monasteries serve the attendees
6. 22 lay volunteers also serve the Sangha
7. The volunteers proficiently serve each of Sangha members
8. Gelongs and gelongmas maintain the requisite disciplinary silence during lunch
9. Gelongmas attentively uphold the decorum of discipline
10. Attendees slowly eat their meal
11. The wooden blocks signal the end of the meal and attendees place their plates atop the begging bowl