5,000 initiated into Tibetan Buddhism at Bodh GayaBy IANS
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
BODH GAYA - More than 5,000 people from across the globe sought refuge in the compassionate light of Gautam Buddha in a six-hour initiation ceremony conducted by one of the oldest schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Karma Kagyu sect, at Bodh Gaya Wednesday.
Trinley Thayle Dorje, the 17th Karmapa of the Karma Kagyu sect, conducted the initiation rite which inducted new devotees at the Karma Kagyu Vajrayana monastery in the high seat of Buddhism.
The initiation was a revival shot for Buddhism that is consolidating base as a mainstream faith in India, the birthplace of Buddha. With the rite was the two-day closing celebration of the commemoration of 900th anniversary of the Karma Kagyu sect commenced.
The Karmapa blessed the novices as they pledged allegiance to the teachings of Gautam Buddha and the spiritual masters of the sect.
The core ritual of the commemoration ceremony, a special prayer service, will be inaugurated by Bihar Governor Devanand Kumar Thursday morning. It will be conducted by the Karmapa and his spiritual guide, Sharmapa Mipham Chokyi Lodro.
The sect that traces its lineage to Indian spiritual master Tilopa was formally instituted as a Buddhist spiritual order by the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa. It is one of the four major schools of Buddhism in Tibet founded on the tenets of meditation, education, translation of texts, transmission of teachings, tantrik rites and realisation of ultimate realities of life.
Thousands of Buddhist scholars, monks, devotees and novices have flocked to the town, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) world heritage site, to take part in the commemoration rituals.
On Wednesday, the holy town of Bodh Gaya - where the Bodhi tree under which Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment over 2,500 years ago and the Mahabodhi Stupa are located - resembled a sea of humanity with pilgrims jostling for a glimpse of the 27-year-old Karmapa.
The queues of novices snaked across the forecourt of the sprawling monastery spilling on to the mainstream thoroughfare. The initiation ceremony began at 7 a.m. and ended after 2 p.m.
Addressing reporters here, Sharmapa Mipham Chokyi Lodro said: The commemoration ceremony was a tribute to the first karmapa of the Kagyu sect and celebrates the unique tradition of reincarnation that forms the root of the Tibetan Buddhist schools.
The ceremony marks the revival of Tibetan Buddhism in India which was wiped out in the 16th century. The religion emanated from India. We want to protect Tibetan Buddhism and make the religion relevant to youngsters in the country, he said.
The month-long celebration began Dec 2 in New Delhi at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute that was set up in 1990.