The highlight and finale of the Gutor Puja is the all-day Lama Dancing, or cham (Tib), on February 22nd─the final Protector Day of the waning 12th Tibetan month. The dance, which will include 25 or more costumed Black Hat lama dancers, will take place in the monastery’s upper front courtyard in both morning and afternoon sessions. Every year, a few thousand spectators fill the courtyards to enjoy the monastery’s popular annual Lama Dance.
Shortly before sunset that day, the grand finale of the costumed dance performance will feature the ceremonial burning of an effigy in a haystack erected in the lower front courtyard. This incineration symbolizes turning one’s back on one’s own destructive habitual patterns and the resulting harmful circumstances─spectators will notice that, at one point, the monks, high Lamas, and many lay spectators will, in unison, literally turn their backs on the flaming haystack for a full minute!
Throughout the 7 days of puja, all visitors are welcome as observers or participants in the puja, and may come and go as they wish. In fact, our monastery’s staff encourage our friends, benefactors, organization teams, and all those related to our monastery, both near and far, to offer heartfelt prayers during this time for the dispelling of obstacles for all sentient beings, and for the manifestation of happiness, longevity, prosperity, and enlightenment for all in the coming new year.