Thrangu Monastery Canada, Richmond, BC
June 30, 2019
Today the courtyard in front of the monastery has been transformed into an outdoor
theater: in front of the long staircases leading up to the shrine hall, a long screen with
the insignia of the Monlam and “Lamp Prayer” in Tibetan and Chinese formed the
background for a wide platform. Before this stage, two chairs covered brocade wait for
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. Cushions with lotus flower
designs have been set out on either side for the monks and nuns, and a sweep of prayer
flags stretches from the top of the monastery to the edge of the property, flying over
four white peaked tents for those attending the event.
The two announcers for the evening came on stage and invited Dunse Lama Pema to say a few words. After welcoming everyone, he said that His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa was not able to come but he himself felt that the Karmapa’s spirit was clearly present and he hoped that others had felt this as well. Lama Pema observed that during the time of the 7 th Karmapa, the Kagyu Monlams included cultural performances, and this evening’s presentations in Tibetan, Nepali, Chinese, and English would continue this tradition. In closing, he prayed that His Holiness would return soon to Canada.
Monks and nuns then filed in from either side of the stage and led the practice of Chenrezik, the embodiment of compassion. This was followed by Tibetan singers and dancers, evoking with great spirit their lively cultural traditions. One sang about the
Karmapa, “the sun of our hearts, my lama, the Wish-fulfilling Jewel.” The next performances came from Nepal, the close neighbor of Tibet to the south with close spiritual and cultural ties. This was followed by presentations in Chinese, the first of
which was a delightful group of young children, dressed in white and singing the long mantra of 1000-armed Chenrezik. The next singer presented the Karmapa’s song “An Aspiration for the World.”
Then two young women came on stage and played together on a piano the moving melody of the Lamp Prayer. As a surprise to everyone, His Holiness voice came in over the music with a message for everyone:
We engage in the Monlam in order that the power of the Buddha Shakyamuni’s
love and compassion can spread throughout the world and bring greater
happiness and peace to all sentient beings. We pray for a world in which people
will be able to live together harmoniously in peace and love and without
Through your aspirations during this Monlam and through my good intention,
I’m certain we will be able to deepen our Dharmic connection. I cannot be there
personally but my spirit is with you and supporting you all. I prayer that together
we can be the light that illuminates the darkness of this troubled world. Thank
you so much.
As mist circled around the stage, monks and nuns filed in from either side while the performers fill in the back rows. With the Karmapa’s voice in the lead, they all sang the Lamp Prayer in Tibetan and Chinese, and then the English was led by the lovely tenor of Khenpo Karma Choephel. The Lamp Mantra was recited many times while people waved back and forth the lotus flower lamps in their hands. The MCs closed the evening with the aspiration that the teachings of the Buddha flourish, and in particular, that the Karmapa’ teachings be victorious, spreading in all directions and always flourishing, and that Canada may prosper.
At the end of this shimmering summer evening, the dream flag of the North American Kagyu Monlam was passed onto Khenpo Tenkyong as the representative of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, where the 11 th North American Kagyu Monlam will be held.