Monlam

Monlam (Prayer Festival)

Usually February; 4th-25th days of first Tibetan lunar month
The greatest festival in Tibet follows the Tibetan New Year ( Losar) celebrations, and commemorates the miraculous powers of Buddha. The two-week festival was started in the 14th century by Tsongkhapa, the great reformist monk, to ensure that the new year would be successful and prosperous. It is a time to attend examinations of and make offerings to monks, to light butter lamps, and above all to socialize, get the latest news, and watch sports events such as wrestling, archery, and horse racing. On the 15th day celebrants throng to Lhasa's famous Jokhang temple, where monks have created enormous butter sculptures. ( See Butter Sculpture Festival.) A procession around the Barkor, the old city of Lhasa, carries a statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha.
When the Chinese denounced religious observances in 1959, the festival died. It was revived again in 1986, and has been observed since, although not with the grandeur of earlier days.
CONTACTS:
Office of Tibet
Tibet House, 1 Culworth St.
London, NW8 7AF United Kingdom
44-20-7722-5378; fax: 44-20-7722-0362
www.tibet.com
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Mar 9
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 82
RelHolCal-2004, p. 217
References in periodicals archive ?
Mathur, who was, until recently, an adviser on Tibetan Affairs to the Government of India, said the conference has been postponed due to two reasons - the sudden death of Kathok Getse Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma School, and an upcoming annual aspirational prayer season called Monlam.
The Prayer of Blissful Realm, written by one of the great Tibetan masters, Karma Chakme Rinpoche, popularly known as Dechen Monlam is recited by Bhutanese people of all ages including schoolchildren at all kinds of religious events.
In 2014, there was even a "Rimay Monlam" or "non-sectarian prayer festival" in Garrison, New York (Rimay).
Recently, there has been increased suppression during Losar activities and Monlam celebrations.
Monks squat on the ground in sub-zero temperatures during the Great Monlam Festival in Labrang, eastern Tibet.
"Several hundred monks marched from the monastery after officials banned them from praying, calling to be allowed to celebrate the Monlam prayer festival and for authorities to release all Tibetan prisoners," the group said.
''Many of the monks who were detained were participating in a masked dance performance, so they couldn't perform the dance, which is a major event in the Monlam festival,'' which was to conclude Feb.
The Great Prayer Festival, or Monlam Chenmo, traditionally closely associated with the Geshe exam process, has been banned each year since 1988.
Charles watched carefully as mandala maker Lobsang Monlam from a monastery in Mysore, southern India, demonstrated how the delicate creation is put together by feeding bits of sand on to a tracedout template through a funnel.
'We also deeply appreciate all the kindness and hospitality we have received and are very grateful to Her Majesty the Queen and her Government and people.' Charles watched carefully as mandala maker Lobsang Monlam from a monastery in Mysore, southern India, demonstrated how the delicate creation is put together by feeding bits of sand on to a traced-out template through a funnel.
Traditionally, such religious sculptures have been made at monasteries during the winter Monlam festival, when the weather is cold.
Each February, Bodh Gaya hosts the huge ten-day festival known as Monlam. This is the most popular time for visitors and the highlight of Bodh Gaya's winter activities.