His Holiness Tests His Sangha
January 3, 2014Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya, India
As the morning’s teaching wound to a close the thousands of gathered laypeople left the Pavilion, while the monks and nuns stayed behind. After a short while His Holiness returned to the stage ready to test the sangha on essential points of their monastic conduct.
His Holiness places great importance on the conduct of the sangha, especially during the annual Kagyu Monlam, and takes care to educate them on his expected standards. Each year before the Monlam he personally inspects their performance of key rituals, drawing on both the Vinaya precepts set out during the life of the Buddha himself, as well as ritual aspects unique to the Tibetan context.
Pulling out the name of a monastery at random, he called forward the first group of eight monks. As His Holiness tapped out a timed rhythm on a small drum, the monks performed three perfectly synchronized prostrations.
Next he assessed them on the correct way of carrying, wearing and removing the Chugu or yellow ceremonial robe; chanting the Sanskrit tea offering prayer; putting on their yellow Tsesha crested hats and winter Dagam cloaks; and carrying both the alms bowl and the texts of the Kangyur in the correct manner.
After the monks had passed the test a group of nuns came forward to do the same—who were rewarded with a big round of applause at the end of their turn.