Karma Kagyu's 900th anniversary celebrations end

IANS, Dec 30, 2010

Bodh Gaya, India -- The 22-day commemoration of the 900th anniversary of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism Thursday ended at the historic Kalachakra ground in the holy town of Bodh Gaya - the seat of Gautama Buddha's enlightenment - with an impressive ceremony and a special 'wishing prayer'.

The two-day closing ceremony was presided over by the sect's 17th spiritual head, the 27-year-old Karmapa Thrinley Thaye Dorje, who shares his title with 25-year-old Karmapa Ogyen Thrinley Dorje, recognised as the spiritual head of the sect by the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama.

The two - Thrinley Thaye escaped to India from Tibet in 1994 while Ogyen fled to India on horseback in 1999 - were locked in a controversy in the late 1990s when both moved the Dalai Lama for official recognition citing that they both were reincarnations of great spiritual masters.

The Dalai Lama approved of Ogyen Thinley Dorje.

Thrinley Thaye Dorje is however revered by millions of Kagyu followers as the 17th Karmapa - and recognised by his spiritual master Sharmapa Mipham Chokyi Lodro, a senior lama vested with the right to identify reincarnation.

The Karmapa of any Buddhist sect is considered a manifestation of the Buddhist holy deity of Arya Avalokitesvara, an enlightened being of great compassion. They carry the special spiritual powers of Guatama Buddha and are also known as Bodhisattvas.

The prayer service began in the morning with the offering of the mandala (ritual offering) - to the lord and ended with a theatrical performance of Buddha's '12 deeds in life'.

Addressing the congregation attended by nearly 7,000 Buddhist monks, guests, invitees and scholars from across the world, Bihar Governor Devendra Konwar said: 'Buddhism was a way of life'.

'I equate Buddhism with humanism. Mind perceives all the mental stages of life. Buddhism helps control and regulates the mind, ameliorates human suffering and guides man towards salvation, the only path shown by Buddha,' he said.

On Wednesday, more than 5,000 people from across the globe were initiated in the sect.

The anniversary celebrations to commemorate the birth of the first Karmapa of the order Dusum Kyenpa began Dec 2 in New Delhi.

The Karma Kagyu or Red Hat order is one of the four oldest schools of Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet. It is different from the Gelugpa sect of Buddhists or the Yellow Hat order led by the Dalai Lama because it interprets Buddha's teachings in a different way from the Gelugpas.

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