A shrine to and image of the protector Sangharama occupies centre stage.
In procession, preceded by a Chinese-style incense bearer, the Venerable Siu Kun enters first, followed by His Holiness the Karmapa.
Together they pay respects to the Sangharama shrine…
and offer incense.
Sangharama carries a special reclining-moon-blade weapon engraved with a dragon in his right hand. With his left, he holds his long beard.
The Venerable Siu Kun is a highly respected monk from Hong Kong, and the Vice-Chairman of Hong Kong Buddhist Association. He wears traditional Chinese ceremonial robes.
The Karmapa wears a special Chinese-style chögu [prayer shawl] and his le-sha [black activity hat].
Nuns from Drubdey Nunnery in Bhutan lead the chanting in Tibetan.
A choir of 32 Chinese monks and nuns from different monasteries in Hong Kong lead the chanting in Chinese. The Venerable Tsang Chit, Abbot of Tung Lin Kok Yuen [first row, second on left] is one of three chantmasters.
The stage is organized symmetrically. The choirs face each other and the Karmapa and Ven. Liu Kun sat in chairs facing each other.
Because Sangharama came from China, many elements used in the ritual come from the Chinese tradition, such as the large temple drum…
and the temple bell, rung with a huge wooden clanger.
The ritual is partly in Tibetan, partly in Chinese, but there were phonetics for English speakers and for Chinese when necessary…
so that the thousands of people who had come can join in the prayers.
The ritual ends and His Holiness the Karmapa and the Ven. Siu Kun prepare to leave.
The Karmapa exits first.