To benefit both the living and those who have passed away, the Ocean of Merit Society organized a special Amitabha practice at the Gyalwang Karmapa’s North American Seat, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, and invited His Holiness to preside. The Ocean of Merit was started by disciples of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, who is its guide and advisor. Rinpoche gave the organization its name with the hope that through its various activities, an “ocean of merit” would be accumulated.
For the occasion today, many disciples drove north from the New York area to join together with numerous others who had come from near and far. Early in the morning gusts of wind blew large snowflakes around the courtyard, but the skies cleared as the time for the ceremony neared. During the two and a half hours it was performed, His Holiness sat on his throne in front of a Golden Buddha, the focus of practice in the KTD shrine hall. Before the practice began, people had written the names of those they wished to help on a sheet of paper, and during the practice, they were offered outside to the ritual hearth in the center of the snowy courtyard.
Karmapa and Sangharāma’s connection to Tsurphu
At the time of the lunch break, a separate shrine was arranged in front of the Karmapa to honor Guan Gong, known later as Sangharāma, who is a special protector of Tsurphu Monastery, the Karmapa’s main seat in Tibet.