Kagyu Monlam has the following origin. The Tibetan word of Mon-lam can be translated to “Path of Aspiration.” Many aspiration prayers are recited during the Kagyu Monlam. The main prayer is known as the “King of Aspiration Prayers” or “Samantabhadra Wishing Prayer.” It is part of a large collection of the teachings of the Buddha preserved in the Kanjur.
Since 1996, the Kagyu Monlam is taking place in Bodhgaya, India, in the Bihar state. Bodhgaya is the place where Buddha achieved enlightenment. Thus, it is the main pilgrimage site for Buddhists of all traditions.
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, has been leading the aspiration prayers since 1996, accompanied by other Buddhist lamas. The effect of reciting an aspiration prayer in the presence of such great Bodhisattvas just once is said to be more effective, rewarding, and valuable than reciting it a million times on your own.