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Prayers for world peace & free camp in holy town

- Change of annual event venue for security paraphernalia at Mahabodhi Mahavihara

Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the leader of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhists, on Thursday extended support to India’s policy on the border dispute with China.

At a news meet in Bodhgaya, he said: “I am a refugee in India and don’t know how much I should talk about the India-China border dispute. I have the support of the Indian government and the local people. But I fully support the policies of India.”

Dorje has been living in India since 2000 when he escaped from Tibet.

One of the two claimants to the seat of the 17th Karmapa of the Kagyu sect, Dorje is in the holy town to lead the 11-day Kagyu Monlam prayers.

The annual prayer session will start next Monday at Tergar Monastery, around 2km northwest of Mahabodhi Mahavihara. At least 13,000 devotees from 80 monasteries from different states of India, Nepal and Bhutan are likely to participate.

Usually, the 11-day event is organised at Mahabodhi Mahavihara.

Dorje said: “We are concerned about environment protection and the safety of the ancient stupas spread over the Mahabodhi Mahavihara campus. The ancient stupas are precious and need to be preserved. There is lack of space on the campus to accommodate a large gathering of devotees. Also, after the serial bomb blasts at Mahabodhi and other places in Bodhgaya, security has been beefed up on the temple campus. The security personnel will face problems in managing the crowd and the devotees would be inconvenienced too. So, only a couple of simple processes of the prayers will be organised at Mahabodhi Mahavihara.”

Kagyu Monlam will begin on January 6 with prayers for world peace. Dharma teachings will be held from January 3 to 5. A special Garchen Tse Chu puja and vajra dance will be organised from January 6 to 10. A lamp prayer will be conducted on January 16.

For the first time, a free medical camp will be organised during the prayers. Doctors trained in allopathy and Tibetan medicine will attend to the people.

Dorje also said the Dalai Lama is expected to visit Mahabodhi Mahavihara soon but added that the date has not been finalised.

“The Dalai Lama is also concerned about the serial bomb blasts in Bodhgaya. We do not know yet who targeted the sacred site of Mahabodhi Mahavihara and even what was the reason behind it. We need to renew mutual love and kindness. Bodhgaya is not the only place in the world where bomb blasts have taken place. There is a need for individual responsibility to tackle the menace of terrorism,” said Dorje.

He added: “India is the motherland of Buddhism and Bodhgaya is the place from where Buddhism began and spread across the world. So, there is always a feeling among the Buddhists to gather in Bodhgaya. Efforts should be made to bring development in and around the town. I also support the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee’s plan to build a hospital. There are clinics but no hospital equipped to handle accident and emergency cases here.”