Monastic Events at Dharma Chakra Center (Rumtek Monastery)


The Monastery viewed from the courtyard in front

MONASTIC TRAINING AND DAILY SCHEDULE

Individuals who enter the path of monasticism go through a very thorough training of Tibetan buddhism, with a tremendous focus on ritual art of tantric buddhism and monastic discipline. Training begins with reading, writing, and Tibetan literature. They also memorize all the important sadhanas of the vajrayana practice, typically more than thirty individual texts. Monks perfect the rituals and arts of music, torma-making, chanting, sacred lama dance, and other ritual performances. As they develop, individual monks later have a choice to focus on one particular art, if they prefer to do so. They also get some training in the vajrayana practice of meditation.

Daily schedule for monks begin around 5:00 am when they either either engage in their individual meditation practices, or, for the younger ones, training sessions. Each elder monk trains some young monastics as their pupils and continues to guide them in both learning and daily practice disciplines. During the day, they attend different classes or the monthly ritual practices. Every month, the monastery has one to three weeks of intensive practices whgich all but the youngest monks join.

Rumtek focuses on all the tantric practices with a strong emphasis on the mother tantra teachings, such as Vajrayogini, Chakrasamvara, Hevajra, and others, that have been the heritage of Kagyu lineage. Rumtek also engages in lots of Nyingma tantric practices, such as the Guru Rinpoche practice, Vajrakilaya, and other termas from from Rikdzin Jatson Nyingpo, Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa, Yonge Migyur Dorje, and others.

MONTHLY SADHANA PRACTICES AT RUMTEK:

All members of the monastic sangha participate in the following daily, monthly, or weekly practices that are held at the main shrine hall at the main monastic seats of Tsurphu in Tibet or Rumtek in Sikkim, India.

First Month:

1st through the 8th day - Tibetan Losar / New Year. (8 days celebration). During most Losars (not every year), Tibetan Opera Dance is also performed for a number of days, as a celebration in which the whole community participates.

3rd day - Practice of the "Combined Sadhana Of The Three Roots," (rtsa gsum dril sgrub).

9th through 14th day - The practice of the "Longevity Sadhana: Union Of Upaya And Prajna" (sthe sgrub thabs shes kha sbyor), a terma of Yonge Migyur Dorje. This is practiced as the offering to the Karmapa for his longevity and for the accomplishment of his buddha activities.
15th through 21st day - The practice of the "Offering To The Guru," (bla ma mchod pa) of the Fourteenth Karmapa, Thekchok Dorje.

Second Month:

2nd through 8th - The combined practices of the "White Tara: Who Bestows All Siddhis" (sgrol dkar dngos grub kun stsol), and the "Five Sisters Of Tseringma" (tshe ring ma), the protectress of the Dharma who was a student of Milarepa, for one week.

A week-long practice of the "Five Varahi Devis," the Vajrayogini Sadhana practice, with the arrangement of the full tantric sand mandala. This is one of the three main Yidam practices of the Kagyu lineage. This ceremony takes place in the second half of the month.

Third Month:

A five-day practice of "Drolma Mandal" (sgrol ma mandal gyi cho ga), a practice of the Tara deity compiled by Kathok Rikdzin Tsewang Norbu.
26th - A week-long practice of "Sangthik Yabka & Yumka," a terma of Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa, for the memorial offering of the Fifteenth Karmapa Khakhyap Dorje.

Fourth Month:

Monks at the Black Hat Dance Ceremony 
in the courtyard of Rumtek Monastery


3rd through 10th day - The yearly Drupchen, grand sadhana practice, which alternates between 1) The Padmasambhava practice called "Tse-Chu" (gsang 'dus bla ma'i las byang le'u brgyad pa) on the tenth day, a terma of Guru Chöwang, with the full opening of the mandala and the Sacred Tantric Dances including the dance of the Eight Manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava; and 2) The Vajrakilaya practice "Zabdun Phurpa" (zab bdun phur pa), a terma of Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa, with the full opening of the mandala and the Sacred Tantric Dances.

Fifth Month:

16th day through 22nd - A week-long practice of "Chakrasambhavara Sadhana" ('khor lo bde mchog), one of the three main Yidam practices of the Kagyu lineage.

22nd through 30th - A nine-day practice of "Dorje Trolö," one of the eight manifestations of Padmasambhava.

A week-long practice of the "Hevajra Tantra Sadhana," one of the main Yidam practices of the Kagyu lineage, and a most treasured tantra of Marpa.

Sixth Month:

A five-day practice of "Chöd Tsok" (gcod tshogs), Cutting Through, a practice of Prajnaparamita originating from Machik Lapdron and the Third Karmapa Ranjung Dorje. This practice tradition is one of the eight chariots of the practice lineage of the Tibetan vajrayana buddhism.

15th day - The beginning of the "Yarney" (d.byar gnas), Summer Retreat, also known as the rainy season retreat, which lasts for six weeks. During this retreat, the monks focus on study and very strict practices of the vinaya teachings.

A week-long practice of the "Kamtsang Chöchö" (kam tshang chos spyod) collection of rituals, during the Summer Retreat.

Seventh Month:

A week-long practice of the "Kagyu Gurtso" (bka' rgyud mgur mtsho), the ocean of the yogic songs of the Kagyu lineage, which is a collection of songs from Kagyu lineage masters.

Eighth Month:

A week-long practice of "Gyalwa Gyamtso" (rgyal ba rgya mtsho), Red Avalokiteshvara Sadhana, with the arrangement of the full tantric sand mandala, and one of the three main Yidam practices of the Kagyu lineage. At the end of the practice, there is a special procession to dissolve the sand mandala into the water.

Ninth Month:

A week-long practice of the "Padmavajra" (pad ma ba dzra), a terma of Yonge Migyur Dorje.

A week-long practice of "Ladrup"(bla sgrub), Guruyoga sadhana practice, by the present His Eminence the Tai Situpa Rinpoche, for a commemorative offering of the lord of the mandala, the kind guru who has bestowed upon us the lineage of the Kagyu order, His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa Ranjung Rikpe Dorje.

Tenth Month:

A week-long practice of the "Vairochana Sadhana" (kun rig) and "Akshobhya Sadhana" (mi 'khrug pa), with the full sand mandala.

Eleventh Month:

A nine-day combined practice of the "Chakrasamvara Sadhana" ('khor lo bde mchog) and "Gönpo Chakshipa" (mgon po phyag bzhi pa), Four-armed Mahakala, with procession of an extensive Torgyak, a torma offering ceremony.

A week-long practice of "Ladrup"(bla sgrub), Guruyoga sadhana practice, by the present His Eminence the Tai Situpa Rinpoche, for a commemorative offering to the lord of the mandala, the kind guru who has bestowed upon us the lineage of the Kagyu order, His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa Ranjung Rikpe Dorje.

Twelfth Month:

22nd through 29th - The yearly Drupchen, the grand sadhana practice, an eight-day practice of the "Mahakala Puja" (mgon po ber nag can), Two-armed Mahakala, the special protector of the Karma Kagyu lineage, with the full opening of the mandala and the Sacred Tantric Dances, including the dance of Mahakala and the retinues. This is one of the biggest sacred dance occasions for the Karma Kagyu lineage and an important celebration time because it takes place just before the Tibetan New Year.



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