New Delhi, 27th January 2012:
The New Year celebration of the Tamang Community ‘Sonam Loshar festival’ begins today in the presence of His Holiness, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje in Kalimpong.
For the first time His Holiness has been honored as a Chief Guest of the occasion. The 3-day New Year fest of Himalayan communities like Tamang, Sherpa, Yolmo, Lopa, Dolpo, Shingsa, Walung, Nyeshang, Bhutia, Thakali will commemorate its concluding ceremony on 29th January 2012.
The Himalayan ethnic groups expressed their joy as they participated in the inaugural ceremony with His Holiness, which was a riot of colours and a cultural show presented by Buddhist devotees.
The New Year fest has been organized by the Tamang Buddhist Association, Kaffer and Tamang Youth Association, Kalimpong. The word ‘Loshar’ means New Year or beginning of new era (‘Lo’ means year and ‘Shar’ means fresh). Tamang community marks their new year with the first day of new moon, or in other words, the very next day after the no-moon day of month of Magh. It is a very joyous festival for them.
The first day of the programme commenced with a warm welcome of His Holiness 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje by lighting a butter lamp followed by the hoisting of the National Flag and Panchsheel Flag by Him. There after devotees and followers of different communities felicitated His Holiness and participated in many activities enthusiastically. The event also saw the Declaration of the “3-day Tamang Loshar Mela” by the Chairman, Shri Nima Thing (Former Advisor, STCS and Government of Sikkim).
An opening song by Kaffer Tamang community, a competition and exhibition kept the interest of the visitors and audience alive. In the afternoon, a traditional dance competition and exhibitions by different communities maintained the liveliness of the ambience. They greatly enjoyed the live musical night by the guest artists. His Holiness also offered a condolence prayer to the people who died in Earthquake in Sikkim last year.
Speaking on the occasion, His Holiness, the 17th Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje emphasized on the importance of the occasion and wished a prosperous New Year to his devotees. He also gave some guidelines to make the year more fulfilling. He said, ‘Inner peace is the key to achieve personal health (mental and physical), which in turn help individuals to adopt a positive attitude and therefore develop themselves better.”
“There are three distinctive aspects to a Buddha, which are generally referred to as the three kayas, the three bodies of the Buddha. They are the Dharmakaya, the Sambhogakaya and the Nirmanakaya. In Dharmakaya, we identify the Buddha as the full realization of uncontrived primordial wisdom. In the Sambhogakaya, we identify him as a pure body of bliss, free from all sufferings and all attachments. And in the Nirmanakaya, the Buddha appears in a communicative form, whereby, we as yet unenlightened may better relate to him tangibly.” His Holiness added further.
The Tamangs are the ancient and original inhabitants of the mountains and plains of the Himalayan regions of Nepal and India. The community, who otherwise practice the Nyingma Buddhist tradition, was seen patronizing the 17th Karmapa, who is at the Zenith of the Karma Kagyu School at today’s auspicious occasion.
On the first day of the celebration the Rinpoches, learned monks, nuns, devotees and followers of Buddhism from different parts of the world made their presence to the cultural New Year event. Hon’ble Guests Sri Nima Thing (Former Advisor, STCS, Govt. of Sikkim), Dr. Gayatri Bhattacharya (Head of Department, Sociology, Kolkata University), K.M. Titung (President, Central Committee, All India Tamang Buddhist Association), Satish Thing (General Secretary, Central Committee, All India Tamang Buddhist Association), Prakash Tamang (President, Central Committee, Tamang Buddhsit Association), Kalyan Choudhury (Former Vice-Chairman, Minority Commission, Govt. of West Bengal) and many more distinguished guests gathered to commemorate this auspicious celebration and seek blessings from His Holiness.
About the Karma Kagyu Lineage
Karma Kagyu, or Kamtsang, is the largest lineage within the Kagyu School, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Its spiritual head is the Gyalwa Karmapa. The Karma Kagyu lineage was founded by the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa. Followers believe that the Karmapa’s appearance as the first consciously reincarnate teacher was predicted by the Buddha in the Samadhiraja Sutra. The Karma Kagyu School belongs to the Vajrayana branch of Mahayana Buddhism. The central teaching of the Karma Kagyu is the doctrine of Mahamudra, also known as the “Great Seal”. This doctrine focuses on four principal stages of meditative practice.