25 – 27 August, 2017
The 8th Kagyu Monlam in Poland, presided over by the Ven. Sangter Rinpoche, was held at the Benchen Centre in Grabnik .
Two chöpöns (ritual masters) from the Bodh Gaya Kagyu Monlam Chenmo – Chöpön Lama Ang Pasang from Benchen Monastery and Chöpön Jigme from the Lekshe Ling Monastery – arrived a month before and started preparing richly ornamented tormas, which were later placed on the shrine alongside fruit, flowers and other offerings.
Umze Chojung led the chanting of the prayers, supported by many other lamas: lamas from Benchen Monastery in Kathmandu as well as Polish lamas who, under the guidance of Rinpoches and lamas from Benchen, had completed the traditional three-year retreat. In total, there were 26 lamas - 13 Tibetans and 13 Europeans.
Khenpo Gawa Nyima from Benchen Monastery bestowed the Sojong vows at the beginning of each day.
The first day began with a solemn procession of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa’s image. Then Sangter Rinpoche, together with the other lamas, offered a mandala of the Universe, as well as symbols of awakened Body, Speech, Mind, Qualities and Activities to the Karmapa’s throne.
Polish lamas offered the mandala to Sangter Rinpoche.
In his introductory speech, Rinpoche emphasized how much benefit prayers performed together bring and how precious are the efforts that the participants put into taking part in Kagyu Monlam.
“You must have endured the difficulties of travelling, very often coming here from far distances, “ Rinpoche said. “Maybe you are not pleased with your accommodation or you don’t like the food – ‘but remember: you have come here not for holidays! You have come here in order to express prayers of good wishes and to practise generosity, together with fully ordained monks, Khenpo, lamas and other lay practitioners.
“In this noble gathering, surely at least one person is a genuine Bodhisattva. Thanks to the power of pure samaya bonds among us and the fact that our minds merge during the prayers, everybody will benefit in the same way as the joint power of prayers of all of us together with Bodhisattvas and lamas.”
On the second day, in the morning session, Sangter Rinpoche bestowed the empowerment of Thousand-Armed Chenrezig and movingly retold the story of of Gelongma Palmo, thanks to whom we now have the Nyungne practice.
On the third day, the Offerings to the Gurus followed by the sponsor appreciation took place, and the Monlam concluded with the Chenrezig Prayer and, finally, the Marme Monlam. Rinpoche lit his candle first and then the flame was passed on. Holding their candles aloft, brightening the darkness, everyone walked around the temple and Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche's Stupa, chanting Karmapa Khyenno.
This year’s Kagyu Monlam fund-raising efforts included an auction for people to help paint the golden stripes on the top of the stupa –under the professional guidance of Joanna and Adam, of course. Those who were able to receive this precious opportunity were overwhelmed with joy. The money raised was donated to finishing the stupa.
The 8th Polish Kagyu Monlam was full of beautiful and inspiring moments created by the common efforts of our Benchen community. Led by our lamas, we were privileged to pray together, as well as meet many of our old friends and make new ones.
All the pictures and a video are available on this link: