The Molam Prayer Festival holds in many Tibetan monasteries across Tibetan Plateau, but the Rebkong or Tongren county in Qinghai Province and Labrang or Xiahe in Gansu Proince in the Amdo region of Tibet are the two most most famous Molam Festival among all.
The Monlam Chenmo, also known as The Great Prayer Festival, is the most important Tibetan Buddhist celebration of the year. It falls on the 4th – 11th day of the 1st Tibetan Lunar month. Monlam means “wish-path” – the Buddhist path of helping others through the prayers. The Monlam Chenmo commemorates the Buddha’s enlightenment or fully awakening from ignorance. All the prayers are being sent to sentient beings in six realms (human realm, animal realm, hungry ghosts realms, hell real, demi-god realm, and god realm).
According to the Buddhist belief, time of Shakyamuni Buddha is considered as the time of Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) flourishment or the time of spiritual prosperity. However, it has already passed its peak, therefore, is gradually declining. During Monlam festival monks, nuns as wells as lay people are sending prayers in order to postpone and slow down time of decay.
Monlam Chenmo was established in 1409 by lama Tsongkhapa, the great philosopher and founder of Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The first festival was held in Jokhang in Lhasa, where thousands of monks gathered together for chanting prayers and performing religious rituals, such as Buddhist dances (cham), torma offering, giant thangka unveiling, etc. Due to all these rituals have been preserved, they are being performed every first lunar month nowadays.
Giant Thanka Unveiling
Local men from Sanggeshung villgage or Wutun village is helping monks to unfold the Giant Thangka painting.
Buddha’s image of the Thangka displayed in front of local people
Local monks and Lama were praying while the Thangka were displaying on the mountain side in Wutun Si.
Tea party in Gomar monastery
Village girls receiving Tsok from the monastery
A nomad mother and her daughter from to visit the Molam Festival in Tongren, Rebkong
Monks Cham Dance or Mask Dance in Rebkong Molam Festival
Monks Mask Cham Dance in Tongren Rebkong
Little monks to attend the ceremony
Drama team in the monastery
Tibetan Incense to purify the monastery