May 2018
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20th Sakya Monlam in Lumbini for World Peace

Ven. Jhampa Losal

Every year, despite the distance and traveling time, a large congregation of thousands of Sakya monks, Khenpos and Rinpoches assemble together headed by His Holiness Sakya Trizin in Lumbini for the Great Sakya Monlam Festival for World Peace. The noble aims of the Sakya Monlam Prayers Festival include peace and stability in the region, spontaneous emergence of inspiration in the mind of general public to embark on the path of Dharma and international world peace.

After the political changes in Tibet, in the 1950s, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness Sakya Trizin and the leaders of other Tibetan Buddhist schools worked to establish Temples, monasteries, nunneries, and colleges outside of Tibet. Under their leadership, the Buddha’s doctrine began to flourish once again in India and Nepal, the birth place of Lord Buddha and most of the Tibetan tradition was successfully re-established including the performance of the Monlam Festivals.

2Venerable Dharthang Glossary Link Tulku, primarily of Nyingma tradition, also assisted this revival by his generosity sponsoring the prayer gathering of all four schools.

The first Sakya Monlam outside Tibet took place in Lumbini from March 1-15. 1993. Since then, Sakya Monlams were organized in rotation system under management of the four sub-traditions of Sakya: namely Sakya, Ngorpa, Tsarpa and Zongpa.

The 20th Sakya Monlam took place in Lumbini began on 1st December 2011. This time Tashi Rabten Ling Monastery of Tsarpa tradition took her turn to organize the Monlam. As always, His Holiness Sakya Trizin, the Supreme Head of Sakya Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism kindly presided over the Monlam which was attended by dozens of high ranking Rinpoches and Khenpos. His Eminence Dungsey Asanga Rinpoche, His eminence Akash Rinpoche, Her Eminence Jetsunma Chemi Palter, His Eminence Thartse Khen-Rinpoche, Khangsar Shabdrung Rinpoche, Chogye Shabdrung Rinpoche, Shabdrung Rinchen Paljor, Tarik Rinpoche, Dhezhung Rinpoche were the some of prominent Lamas who had blessed the 20th Sakya Monlam Festival.

Unlike previous Monlam, this Sakya Monlam this time, saw tens and thousands of attendants mainly built up of the monks from Sakya Monasteries in Nepal and India and pilgrims from Tibet. There were also over two thousand monks and lay practitioners of Tamang cast from nearby districts such as Narayanghat, Morang, Chitwan, Dhauni, Parsa, Butwal and Bhairahawa.3

During the Sakya Monlam, the entire area of Lumbini was painted with maroon color of Monk’s attire. The organizer generously and wisely arranged a meticulous congregation for performing Monlam Puja at Lumbini Garden with array of floral decoration on the ninth day of the Monlam. The last day of the Monalm also saw His Holiness Sakya Trizin bestowing Long-life initiation to public on special request of Monlam Organizing committee.

In re-establishing the prayer festivals, two important considerations were: which prayers should be recited and where to gather from year to year. The prayer to be recited at Sakya Monlam was determined by His Holiness Sakya Trizin, His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpcohe and His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche along with other senior Sakya Lama and monks who choose 100,000 recitation of Samantabadhra prayer as the main recitation. Lumbini, Nepal, the site of the Buddha’s birth, was chosen for the first time as the gathering place. At this sacred site, monks, nuns and lay people from all countries gather in a huge convocation. The arrangement for this great gathering is managed by the Monlam Committee.

Last modified on Thursday, 01 November 2012 04:44