Traditionally, every year Gutor Puja takes place over a course of 7 days preceding the start of the Tibetan lunar New Year. The puja is essentially a wrathful exorcism to sweep away all lingering negative energy, harmful influences, bad luck, and adverse circumstances and usher in good fortune, prosperity, blessings, good health, and excellent conditions for a fresh start to the next 12 months.
At Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, the gutor’s ‘special guest’ is invariably the mighty deity, Vajrakilaya, whose powerful blessings are evoked, again and again, by the monastic assembly based on an intricate Vajrayana sadhana practice, intense mantra recitation, and thunderous musical interludes. The puja will be led by the monastery’s abbot, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, its Vajra Master, Phakchok Rinpoche, and Tulku Urgyen Yangsi Rinpoche.
The highlight 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.