GYALWANG KARMAPA RECEIVES DISCIPLES ON THE EVE OF DEPARTURE FROM BODHGAYA
January 10, 2010 - Bodhgaya, India
On the eve of their departure from Bodhgaya after the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, over 1,500 disciples attended a public audience granted by the Gyalwang Karmapa at Tergar Monastery. Gyalwang Karmapa offered an oral transmission and words of advice on putting His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings into practice. He spoke in Tibetan and Chinese to the large gathering, comprised predominantly of Tibetan and Bhutanese, with many international students in attendance as well.
Gyalwang Karmapa began by establishing a Dharma connection with the audience by conferring the oral transmission of the Chenrezig mantra and the practice text called All Pervading Benefit of Beings. Next, he underscored how extremely fortunate they had all been to receive teachings in the holy place of Bodhgaya from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whom we can see as Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion, in human form. Gyalwang Karmapa stated that he himself had little to add to what His Holiness the Dalai Lama had said over the past five days. He then proceeded to encapsulate the main points that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had been stressing over the course of the previous days’ teachings.
Gyalwang Karmapa reiterated the point that we need to ask ourselves whether our practice of Dharma is primarily concerned with gaining some ease and comfort in this life. If the main motivation of our practice is to experience some temporary sense of relief or relaxation, or in hopes of gaining a long life or wealth, this is a sign that we have turned the Dharma into another worldly pursuit. In our ordinary lives, we work hard to accumulate material things and surround ourselves with friends and family, but in times of trouble we need to ask ourselves just what resources we have. When problems arise, all the material goods we have expended so much effort in amassing are of no assistance. Quite often, His Holiness noted, we also find that our friends and family have little to offer either. What does help in adverse conditions is our Dharma practice, he said. Yet in order for our Dharma practice to serve as a resource to us when we encounter difficult situations in our lives, we need to engage in sincere efforts in our practice. Gyalwang Karmapa urged the audience not to content themselves with having come to a holy place, seen great lamas and received empowerments and words of Dharma from them. Most of us have already seen many high lamas and attended many such events, but collecting such experiences is not the point of Dharma practice. Rather, the point is to allow the teachings to affect real change in our hearts and minds.
Gyalwang Karmapa spurred audience members to have confidence in their own ability to change, and not to resign themselves to their negative habits. We must not console ourselves with the thought that we were born with this personality or nature, he said. Instead we should determine to make serious efforts to become kinder and more principled people. When we return to our homes after the time receiving teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the holy site of Bodhgaya, the friends and family we left behind should note some change for the better in us.
Following this talk, delivered in Tibetan and translated into English, His Holiness offered words of encouragement especially to newly arrived refugees from Tibet. Gyalwang Karmapa reminding those newly arrived from Tibet of their special responsibility to preserve Tibetan culture while in exile. Next, Gyalwang Karmapa, who is fluent in Chinese, then delighted the Chinese-speaking members of the audience by addressing them warmly and at length directly in their native Chinese.
Departing from his usual custom, at the close of the audience His Holiness declined to give the individual blessings that he generally bestows on each person who attends public audiences with him. Rather, His Holiness commented that since he himself had a bit of a cold and many in the audience seemed to have colds as well, there would be no end to the exchanging of colds. However, His Holiness said that he had seen each of the members of the audience and they had seen him as well, and this encounter fulfilled the main purpose of coming together in public audiences, which is to cultivate a wholesome connection with each another. For his part, His Holiness said, he would keep each and every member with him, not only on this day but always, orienting all his actions to their happiness and well-being.