Each month at Rumtek there is at least one, week-long puja (usually devoted to a specific deity); some months the pujas last for two weeks. There are also prayer ceremonies on special days of the month. All activities, except the birthday of the Seventeenth Karmapa, are noted in terms of the Tibetan Tsurphu calendar. Some of the activities are also detailed in the page on "Practices at Rumtek."
On Losar, the Tibetan New Year's Day, lamas, monks, and lay followers of the Gyalwa Karmapa make offerings to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa, and high tulkus. Festivities continue on the second and third day of the New Year with performances of lhamo, a traditional Tibetan opera depicting tales of the Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava, and the Gyalwa Karmapa's previous lives. (February or March of the Gregorian calendar)
Dubchen and Tsechu
A week-long Vajrakilaya (dubchen) or Guru Padmasambhava tsechu puja is performed every other year in the fourth month, along with chams (ritual dances) on the ninth and tenth day of the puja. (May or June of the Gregorian calendar)
One hundred million mantras are recited by the monks' community and lay devotees from Rumtek and other parts of Sikkim who gather at the monastery at Saga Dawa, the anniversary of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana, when the benefit of all dharma activity is multiplied manyfold. Empowerments and teachings are also given. The dungdrub puja is organized by the Karmapa's Satu Dungdrub Committee (Pal Karmapae Jesden Tsokpa), the lay sangha of Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre, especially for world peace and to help people develop tranquility and compassion by following the path of the Buddha's teachings. (May or June of the Gregorian calendar)
Birthday of His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa
A long-life ceremony is offered on June 26 in honor of the birthday of
Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the Seventeenth Karmapa,
along with cultural programs throughout the day including sacred dances
by the monks, and folk songs and dances by the lay community.
For forty-five days each summer, the monks observe yarnay, a retreat that begins on the fifteenth day of the sixth month. The monks perform basic ritual practices such as sojong, a confession of faults and renewal of vows that occurs bi-monthly, observe rules and regulations in addition to their daily routine, and do not venture beyond the marked bounds of the monastery. The retreat concludes with gakye, the ceremony lifting the restrictions. The Dharma Chakra Centre celebrates the end of the retreat with a lhamo performance. (July-August of the Gregorian calendar)
At the end of the year, the monks perform a week-long Mahakala puja, along with ritual dances held for two days before the eve of Losar, the Tibetan New Year. In 1999, the great Mahakala lama dance, where monks perform chams in the courtyard admidst three life-sized statues of Mahakala, Mahakali, and Thamchen Dorje Legpa, was performed for public view for the first time in the history of the monastery. This revival of a Tsurphu tradition now takes place annually to end the year. (February or March in the Gregorian calendar)
Visit "Practices at Rumtek" for more detail on some
of the activities listed above.