17th Gyalwa Karmapa"Buddhism is a way of life through which we develop the qualities of our mind.
This way of life is very unusual, as it is a means to attain happiness without harming others.



Travel Log—Commemorating Shamarpa's Parinirvana with Karmapa in Kalimpong

See the original in French

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Finally, the river

The departure is scheduled at 9am, and it is after 10am that the procession begins to descend towards the river. Before that, the urn with the sand from the mandala is shepherded in great pomp (the words here are weak) to the truck, the first vehicle in the long convoy, after the police van with sirens blaring, followed by the car with the Karmapa then a dozen vehicles including two small dump trucks full of motley monks.

The departure in procession

First Kalimpong, then the winding road, then the impracticable road then the river. Re-procession (bathers and fishermen better hold still). A tent and a makeshift altar were set up on the bank. A sand mandala (very simple this time) is drawn in record time under the attentive eye of the Karmapa who then places the urn on it. A few invocations (I did not know who was called), many offerings, and endless music accompanying the Karmapa to the very edge of the river. The sand is poured into it. Some wishes again. Karmapa comes back to sit down. Some wishes again. The ceremony is over.

The convoy: first the police (we do not see them here),
then the truck with the urn,
then the car of the Karmapa and then the rest of the vehicles

Two dump trucks full of motley monks

This ritual, short and magnificent, is like an immersion of the sacred into the profane world. The sand has consecrated the river, which in turn will consecrate the oceans that surround the continents. Not to mention that the water evaporates... It reminds me of the improbable metaphor of Jigme Rinpoche to explain the blessing: it is like mould that invests an entire wall. In the end it is everywhere. Then he adds: I take reverse examples, because they are better remembered (proof!).

The procession: the urn, the Karmapa and then us.
In front, thirtyish banner bearers, cymbal players,
along side drums and gyalings, incense bearers...

What do we do after a week of rituals, under the sun and along a river? We picnic! Mini pizza and small hamburger (without meat!) with Fanta and Coca for everyone. The drummers eat with their drums, the incense carriers with their burners and the photographers with their cameras. Just a little time that passes. Then re-re-procession the other way. You get back in the cars; the siren, the urn, the monks in the trucks, our procession ends its road back in the rain.

Once arrived, a mandala is drawn on a temporary altar.

The Karmapa places the urn on the mandala

The ritual is accomplished

The movement to the river to pour the sand

Just a moment before the Karmapa pours the sand

All the while, the assembly accompanies the movement with music

Last wishes

The picnic

All is finished

That's it; the mechanism of the drupcho has stopped. Everything is dissolved, only the timeless wisdom should remain ... and its perpetual compassion.


Lama Puntso


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