The Kagyu Monlam originated five hundred years ago in Tibet when the 7th Gyalwang Karmapa, Chödrak Gyatso, established an annual prayer festival. Gatherings of over ten thousand members of the Sangha assembled at the Monlam where they performed the liturgy of The Twenty-Branch Monlam which was compiled by the 7th Karmapa. They prayed for beings to complete the accumulation of merit as well as for harmony in the world. They also prayed to dispel obstacles and unfavorable circumstances so all beings could be free from suffering and misfortune.
In 2004, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa compiled a new prayer text, reflecting the splendor of this timeless tradition, meeting the needs of today’s international Buddhist community, and benefiting beings worldwide. This Monlam Book incorporates the 7th Karmapa’s Twenty-Branch Monlam as the core practice. In the words of His Holiness:
“I make the aspiration that when you recite [from the Monlam Book] during the Monlam, each word may arise in your heart and then emerge from your mouth. I pray that every letter and syllable become a golden image and that every word fill the entire world. May all the sounds of lament and war as well as the poisonous winds in the environment be dispelled. May these words of love and compassion blend with the innate goodness of every single being and coalesce into one powerful force. Like the light of the sun, moon and stars, may love, compassion, and wisdom shine forth. May they strike every single living being and dispel the darkness of ignorance, attachment and hatred that has lurked for ages in their being. When any living being meets another may it be like the reunion of a mother and child who have long been separated. In a harmonious world such as this, may I see everyone sleep peacefully to the music of nonviolence. This is my dream.”
This DVD set contains Highlights of the vows, prayers, aspirations, practices and ceremonies from the Fifth North American Kagyu Monlam. The Highlights DVD includes two messages from His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. Also included on a second DVD are two teachings by Khenpo Tsulnam Rinpoche on The Three Excellences and on Practicing Bodhicitta (taught in Tibetan and translated into English, Chinese, and Vietnamese).