Gyalwang Karmapa on Jamgon Kongtrul lineage
Since the first Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, who was a great being identified in the Buddha’s teachings, non-sectarian master of all Buddhist traditions, and master of the five treasuries, the successive Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoches have been, among the many great masters who have upheld Buddhism in general and the Practice Lineage of the Karma Kamtsang in particular, like the sun and moon, if we compare them to heavenly bodies.
Since the first Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, they have been extremely important not only for the Kagyu tradition but for teachings of all the different traditions. Likewise, it is because of the resolve and aspirations of the First Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche that the eight chariots of the practice lineages, which had been at death’s door, were revived and that the lineages of their empowerments, transmission, and instructions have remained extant without disappearing.
The Second Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche was born in the family of the Fifteenth Karmapa Khakhyap Dorje and achieved a great state of being learned, venerable, and good. In particular, he was the root lama of many of our older living Kagyu masters or a lama whom they considered extremely kind to them. In particular, he was considered by the sixteenth Karmapa to be among his root gurus.
Similarly the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche was recognized in an amazing manner by the Sixteenth Karmapa. He stayed with the Sixteenth Karmapa, accompanying him like a body and its shadow. The way he served and attended his lama was peerless, and so he became someone prasied by everyone. However because we lack sufficient merit, Rinpoche passed away at a young age and was unable to continue his activities for the benefit of Buddhism and the teachings.
However, the connections between lamas and students are not just an external connection of body and speech; it is an internal connection of the mind. So there is no better way to remember the lama than for students to practice the instructions the lama gave them. For that reason, it is important for us who follow them to practice by following the examples given by the great Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoches through training in following the examples of body, speech, and mind as well as conduct of these great masters from the past.
In particular, this year is the twentieth anniversary of the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Chokyi Senge’s passing away, so we should once again recall the life examples of his body, speech, and mind. We should bring clearly to our minds his living face, his pleasing voice, and his good heart and once again recall his kindness with great sincerity of our bodies, speech, and minds. We should in the future continue to respect and serve Buddhism and sentient beings without faltering.
Similarly next year is also an important anniversary for Buddhism in general and for our lineage in particular because it is the bicentennial of Jamgon Kongtrul Lord Thaye’s birth. Because the First Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye was born, there were many teachings of the eight chariots of the practice lineages that had been in danger of being lost, but he revived all of those that had declined and likewise he provided a good example of how not to have a sectarian bias. Because his fine deeds were so amazing, we should also train in following his example so that we will be able to take all four lineages as the path without any sectarial bias at all.
Additionally, along with Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Orgyen Chokgyur Lingpa, Jamgon Rinpoche made compiling the Five Great Treasuries his most important life work, preserving all of the empowerments, transmissions, and instructions and preventing them from disappearing. I think that the most important way for us repay the kindness of these great masters of the past is to come to a thorough understanding through listening, contemplating, and mediating, and then practice them in order to uphold, preserve, and spread the teachings.