28 January 2024
Finally, after four years, the Arya Kshema has returned to Bodhgaya. Kagyu nuns have come together from India, Nepal, and Bhutan for the 8th Arya Kshema. Nearly 400 nuns of all ages have come from six nunneries. Many also attended the Kagyu Monlam, which ended two days ago.
This morning, undeterred by a damp and chilly pre-dawn, they made their way to the Mahabodhi Temple. The adventurous ones walked across the fields by moonlight, and the rest went by tuk-tuk. It has become customary to take the one-day Mahayana Sojong vows on the first day of the Arya Kshema, and Gyalton Rinpoche bestowed them to the nuns gathered kneeling under the branches of the bodhi tree. Offerings were also made in the Mahbodhi Stupa ground floor shrine room – where Gyalton Rinpoche and representative nuns offered bowls of fruit and a set of new robes to the sacred golden Buddha.
This year’s Arya Kshema is being organised by Khegyu Dhagma the nunnery connected with Gyaltsab Rinpoche’s monastery at Ralang. The other five nunneries attending are: Karma Drubdey Palmo Choskyi Dingkhang, Karma Lekshey Ling, Samten Ling, Thekchen Lekshey Ling, and Tilokpur.
Drupon Dechen Rinpoche, who recently graduated from the shedra at Rumtek Monastery, is in charge of the day-to-day running of the Arya Kshema, and closely liaises with the Gyalwang Karmapa over the programme.
The nuns are housed in dormitory accommodation in the Kagyu Monlam Kitchen building, a huge four- storey structure with plenty of space and facilities, and more comfortable than the tents they occupied during the Kagyu Monlam.
The Arya Kshema is funded by the Kunkyong Charitable Trust of Tsurphu Labrang.