Offering of 3000 Manjushri statues

13 May 2009 - 1:08am Comments Off

Offering of 3000 Manjushri statues

A divine offering

by Anonymous

The largest ever Kechara House pilgrimage to Gaden Monastery in South India set off on April 14 th 2006. 62 pilgrims some of whom had flown in from Thailand and England especially for this trip  were going along with Kechara House’s spiritual director, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche to make offerings to the Sangha of Gaden. As Kechara House is an official branch of Gaden Monastery, this trip was especially meaningful for members to also establish a connection with the ‘mothership’ monastery.

Kechara House had raised funds to sponsor the retiling of Gaden Lachi (main prayer hall) with green marble and to offer each monk one Manjushri statue, a set of robes and 150 rupees. Funds had also been raised to retile the large debate hall of Gaden Shartse, one of two colleges within Gaden which Tsem Rinpoche studied in. We were going to Gaden to officially present these offerings and to partake in a monastery-wide puja held especially in our honour.

Behind the Scenes

Monks such as Kating Rinpoche and Geshe Puntsok, old friends of Rinpoche from his days in Gaden, were instrumental in arranging and preparing the incredible heap of offerings that would be distributed on the day.

This involved over 1 year of preparation. It began with extensive traveling between Mundgod, South India to Delhi (which takes 3 days of constant traveling on dodgy Indian trains!) to oversee the sculpting of the statues. After the completion of the statues, they were then packed and sent down to Gaden. Kunga, Kechara House’s ‘resident’ thangka and statue painter from Delhi then went down to Gaden with a few other painters to paint the statues’ faces. This would prove to be a gigantic task in itself,  paint wouldn’t stay on in the wet season, and would crack in dry weather.

Meanwhile, a gigantic volume of mantras was being cut and rolled, which would later be inserted and sealed into the statues. Finally, individual robes for each statue had to be stitched and put onto each Manjushri statue.

Robes were also being prepared - large reels of material had to be individually cut into separate pieces that would then be offered to the monks. Each monk would receive a full set that includes the three separate pieces making up each robe.

Geshe Puntsok with some of the 3000 Manjushri statues prior to preparation

When we arrived at Gaden Lachi on the morning of April 16 th, the offerings were sitting there complete in tidy piles, ready to be distributed - we had it easy, as if all the hard work had been done quietly without us even realizing for us to claim the limelight ‘glory’ of the day.

inserting mantras into statues

packing monks' robes

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