In Tibet, at the beginning of Lunar New Year it was the tradition to make extensive offerings to large assemblies of sangha performing powerful prayers and practices for the new year.

They are then requested to dedicate for various purposes. The dedications include including removal of obstacles to life, health, wealth and relationship. The prayers of the Sangha are believed to bestow a rainfall of success on career, relationship, business, harmony for oneself, all our family members as well as for the entire world.

The Monlam Tradition

The Great Prayer Festival was established by the Great Saint Lama Tsong Khapa (also known as Losang Drakpa) in 1409, and was first held in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Lama Tsong Khapa at that time invited all the people of Tibet to the two-week-long festival of prayer, auspicious rituals, teachings, and celebrations, from the first new moon until the full moon of the lunar New Year. Many hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million streamed into Lhasa for these celebrations to observe the rituals and specially the debates that were held every day in front of the Potala.

The Great Prayer Festival Now

The noble tradition is preserved and is practiced in the same way to this day in most of the Gelug monasteries. On the full moon, the Day of Miracles is the highlight of the festival, when thousands of people, lay and ordained alike, come to pray, view the big butter sculptures, and make offerings to the Sangha. The main purpose of the Great Prayer Festival is to pray for the long life of all the holy Gurus of all traditions, for the survival and spreading of the Dharma in the minds of all sentient beings, and for world peace. The communal prayers, offered with strong faith and devotion, help to overcome obstacles to peace and generate favorable conditions for everyone to live in harmony.

 Monks perform traditional Tibetan Buddhist dances during Monlam Prayer Festival, and cakes are made with butter sculptures.

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