Ama la & Bodhgaya
The city of Bodhgaya situated in the state of Bihar, is one of the most important Buddhist sites, where the Historical Buddha attained enlightenment beneath the Bodhi Tree next to the Mahabodhi Temple.
Buddha Shakyamuni was born in 563 BC and renounced his family at the age of twenty nine and travelled to search for truth. He meditated and finally attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya. It is the most important pilgrimage site for Buddhists, similar to Varanasi for Hindus or Mecca for Muslims.
This winter, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama will give teaching at Bodhgaya for three days from 29th to 31st December, 2022 and the Geluk International Foundation will offer a Long Life prayer to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the 1st of January, 2023. Over fifty thousand people will gather during the teaching from over sixty different countries, because it is our first gathering after the Covid pandemic and the first visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Bodhgaya, after the pandemic lockdown.
My mother, Tsering Dolkar – sixty seven years of age, wants to travel after the long lockdown and to stay away from the harsh winter cold in Ladakh. Her travel date is from November which is too early for her pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, so she joined me in South India for a month and had opportunity to receive teaching from His Eminence 104th Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin at Sera Jey Monastery. This is my longest period to spend time with Mum and we shared childhood stories and family life after my birth in 1976 as the oldest son in our family. I was away from home at the age of seven to join Sera Jey, so life after my absence is more curiosity to learn from Mum.
Geshe Tsewang Dorje (the spiritual guidance of mine), presently Director of Ngari Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (NIBD) in Leh, Ladakh and Spiritual Director of Ngari Institute Foundation in California also visits Sera Jey Monastery for a short period. His teaching and guidance on organizing Maitreya Buddha Prayer at Bodhgaya is very auspicious. Under Geshe la’s instructions, members of NIBD swung for preparation and gave the title as “Ladakh Jam-Mon Chenmo” (Ladakh Maitreya Buddha Prayer) which will last from 6th to 15th of January, 2023 at the main temple in Bodhgaya.
Dr. Ngawang Yeshi and Kunzang Namgyal and the group, traveled directly from Ladakh to Bodhgaya to register for prayer place within the main temple. Geshe la himself came up to Sera Jey for thangka “Wall Hanging” preparation during the prayer. I am responsible for prayer text book printing and papers for announcement. So, as of now all are fully set and ready for the event.
During the Maitreya Buddha Prayer, everyone is welcomed and Geshe la said this is the first ever Maitreya Prayer arrangement at Bodhgaya by Ladakhis, and will continue every year because many Ladakhis prefer to pilgrim at Bodhgaya during the winter due to cold weather in Ladakh. So, this event will be an opportunity to accumulate more positive merits for the devotees.
Why Maitreya Buddha Prayer?
According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Maitreya Buddha is called the Future Buddha which means he will appear as the fifth universal buddha to turn the wheel of dharma. In the future, because of the growth of delusion, the beings in this world will degenerate – their lifespan will decrease and be filled with much suffering. When human life expectancy has decreased to only 10 years, Maitreya will manifest in the form of a great spiritual leader and demonstrate the path of virtue. He will spread the teaching on loving kindness. After many eons, people will live for 80,000 years which is maximum and then again degenerate until the next buddha. According to the Historical Buddha and his own promise, the Maitreya Buddha will take birth as Siddhartha in the world as a universal teacher like Shakyamuni.
My mum will join the prayer at Bodhgaya along with other Ladakhis. During the event, Geshe la will teach Maitreya Buddha Prayer Text and recite the text along with other devotees from all over the Himalaya.
We welcome all devotees to participate in the “Ladakh Jam-Mon Chenmo” mass prayer from 6th to 15th January, 2023. This is the first year and ghe prayer will take place every year at Bodhgaya, the land of Buddha.