Torma Making

torma on shrineRegularly at the Abbey, the monastics gather in the dining room to make tormas.

Tormas are sculpted offerings typically made with barley flour. There are many different styles of torma offerings. Some are quite elaborate while others are relatively simple. Each style of torma is designed for a specific diety. The torma that is shown at the left, on the Mahakala shrine in the Main Shrine Room, is the traditional Kagyü form intended for offering to Mahakala. This type of torma is known as a Karthor. We offer one in the morning and one at night along with tea and food offerings. 

The design of the tormas was decided by the Karmapa who saw them in a vision. They are a type of offering cake, meant to appease specific kinds of protectors. The one offered in the morning is in connection with supplicating for the teachings and asking for protection from the environment. The afternoon one is a little more specific and is connected to Gampo Lhatse, a protector specified as having a particular relationship with Gampo Abbey. This was designated by Thrangu Rinpoche. We are making offerings and supplicating to succeed in our practice of the dharma.

These tormas are made from a special type of barley flour that is shaped into the desired form and decorated with small disks and balls made from butter. Preparing tormas is a form of practice.

torma making at Gampo Abbey
Making tormas at Gampo Abbey

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