Gyalwang Karmapa Teaches in Sarnath on Keeping our Dharma Practice Pure
27 February 2015 – Varja Vidya Institute, Sarnath
As dawn broke in Sarnath on 27 February, the skies opened and an auspicious light rain began to shower, several peals of thunder ruffling the early morning stillness. By 9am the skies had cleared and the sun shone brightly down on the crowd gathered in the lush gardens of the Vajra Vidya Institute, eagerly waiting to enter the shrine hall.
Although he had not planned to teach in Sarnath, the previous evening the Gyalwang Karmapa had spontaneously announced he would give a talk the following morning. This came as a surprise gift for the large, international group gathered at Vajra Vidya Institute for the annual two-week teaching seminar with Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, many of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s own students and devotees among them.
The Karmapa began by joking with the gathering that since he had spoken so much and given so many teachings already this year, he felt he hadn’t much left to say. Nonetheless, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and the Vajra Vidya khenpos had requested him to teach, so he was happy the opportunity had arisen.
He first spoke on the importance of keeping our Dharma practice and motivation pure and not using the Dharma for worldly benefits.
“We hope to take care of the affairs of this life and practice the Dharma together,” he began, “but if we practice the Dharma we can’t focus on this life. If we focus on this life we can’t practice the Dharma. This is a difficult situation. But it’s also one we made up for ourselves—it’s not one in actuality.
“For example, often we do our Dharma practice in order to become more prosperous, more popular, or have a better life. We use the Dharma for this, but it’s difficult because the greater our prosperity the more we’re deceived by it. The goodness of our lives deceives us. It distracts us. It makes it difficult for us to turn our minds to the Dharma.
“If a person was able to enjoy the good things and pleasant objects of the senses in this life and exercise control over them, then this would not necessarily be harmful for our practice—we’d be able to increase prosperity and still practice the Dharma. But for most of us, the more prosperous we get in this life the more we are deceived, and the more harmful this is for us.”
The Karmapa emphasized the importance of working to train our own minds, which is the entire essence of practicing the Dharma.
“When we talk about practicing the Dharma we talk about spiritual freedom, which means having control of our mind. It’s difficult to say that development or improvement in external material things is something that harms our spiritual freedom. But what happens is that as the amount of external things increases, this functions as a condition for us to develop greed and creates a difficulty. It blocks our ability to exercise spiritual freedom.”
Next the Karmapa told the gathering that this year the Four-Session Guru Yoga had become quite popular, and he’d received repeated requests for the oral transmission. Describing the guru yoga text by the eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje as one of the most sacred, with the strongest blessings, he said it was very important for individuals who uphold the tradition to practice the Four-Session Guru Yoga. Because it was popular, he felt it would also be beneficial to give the oral transmission once more, which to the delight of those gathered he then proceeded to offer again.
“I’ve given instructions on how to practice the Four-Session Guru Yoga twice this year already. But since it’s a practice where you visualize yourself as Vajrayogini, then you need to have an empowerment before doing the practice,” he cautioned. “You should receive the empowerment of Vajrayogini or Vajravarahi—at least the vase empowerment, if not all four— and if you’ve not received these then you should at least have the empowerment of Chakrasamvara.”
In response to yet more requests, the Gyalwang Karmapa then offered the oral transmission of the long ngöndro text on the four special preliminaries, called the Chariot that Traverses the Noble Path.
“All the different versions of this text are really the same,” he clarified, “but there are a few slight differences in the end during the guru yoga practice – in length, and in the supplication to the lineage. In actuality there’s no difference, just slight variations in the words.”
The Karmapa finished by reflecting how deeply happy he was that he’d been able to make an extensive long life offering to Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche the previous day.
“There is Vajra Vidya Institute and all other monasteries and Dharma centres under the direction of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche,” the Karmapa said, “and if they’re all able to gather their energies together and dedicate them for the benefit of the teachings, I think this will be very beneficial.
“The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, said we should think of practice as being the best of all offerings, but this is not definitely so. There are occasions when making material offerings is best, or offering service to the guru is best, or when offering practice is best. If we all contribute and do primarily what the lama asks us to do, I believe we will be able to accomplish things very beneficial for beings and the teachings. We’ve made a good interdependent connection for this to happen.”
December 28, 2016, in a historic letter sent to his Kagyu nunneries in India,
Nepal, and Bhutan, the Karmapa officially announced that the actual process of
establishing full ordination for nuns in the Karma Kamtsang tradition would
begin. He stated that at the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment in Bodh Gaya,
on the auspicious day of the full moon in the Month of Miracles, (the first
month in the Tibetan calendar, falling on March 12, 2107), the shramaneri (getsulma)
vows would be conferred on those nuns wishing to take full ordination. Following
much deliberation, a path to full ordination was established. It was decided
that the nuns would hold these shramaneri vows for a year, after which they
will take the shikshamana (gelopmaor training) vows from Dharmaguptaka
nuns and keep them for two winters or two summers. Finally, they will receive
the bhikshuni (gelongmaor full ordination) vows with the
participation of nuns from the Dharmaguptaka tra…
Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
many preparations are underway for the Getsulma (novice) ordination to be held
during this 4th Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering. The Karmapa plans to hold
the ordination on the auspicious full moon day of Chötrul Duchen, the historic
day that marks fifteen days after Losar and commemorates the time when the
Buddha performed a different miracle each day to instill devotion. As the
Karmapa mentioned during the first day of the Arya Kshema, this year initiates
the historic path to the process of full ordination, which will occur in stages
over several years. This is a well-thought process that grants nuns the
opportunity to practice the authentic vinaya path. They will take the Getsulma
vows in the tradition of a strictly observant tradition of Mahayana Vinaya
nuns, thus garnering respect for their sangha and demonstrating their life-long
commitment to their vows. Since there is no lineage for fully ordained nuns in
SE Report GANGTOK,
March 16: A delegation of monks from various monasteries
of Sikkim staged a sit-in protest outside the BJP national headquarters in New
Delhi today demanding the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to be allowed to visit
and bless the people of Sikkim.
The delegation led by Denjong Lhadey chanted slogans
demanding and also submitted a memorandum with the demand to the Prime Minister’s
Office through senior officials.
The memorandum reiterates the Denjong Lhadey’s
demand to urgently send the Buddhist spiritual leader to Sikkim. The monks on
dharna outside the BJP office were also detained by Delhi police at Mandir Marg
police station and later released, informs a press release.
In November of 2015, during the 6th Khoryug Conference, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa set the aspiration that all Khoryug monasteries and nunneries should develop practical skills and knowledge for disaster preparedness and response. He later explained that “We were all affected greatly by the earthquake in Nepal and wanted to know how we could help so that in the future we are not just taken by fear but prepared to be useful and deal skillfully with the situation.…
Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
the second half of his teachings this morning, the Karmapa shared his research
into the history of nuns and their status. He began by explaining the
background of the name “Arya Kshema,” given to the Winter Dharma Gathering. He
noted that among the disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha, there were his eight
greatest male monastic disciples, known for their prajna (supreme wisdom) or
miracles and so forth. Likewise, there were female master disciples who were
greatest at miracles or known for their prajna and other outstanding qualities.
Arya Kshema is one of these and she is described in theSutra of the Wise and
greatest in wisdom and confidence, so the Winter Dharma Gathering is named
after her. “In
giving this name,” the Karmapa explained, “we are also following the saying,
‘Later disciples should practice the example of past masters.’ Previously,
during the time of the Buddha Shakyamuni, there were woman arhats, bhikshu…
the third year in succession, the Taiwan Health Corps has been working with
Kagyu nuns during the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering. Twenty-one
nuns from eight nunneries—Ralang, Tilokpur and Palpung Yeshe Rabgye Ling in
India, Karma Leksheyling, Tara Abbey, Osel Karma Thekchöling and Samten
Ling in Nepal, and Drubde Palmo Chökyi Dingkhang in Bhutan– have
successfully completed a nine-day training in basic health care. Dr
Jeffrey Chen, CEO of the Taiwanese based NGO Taiwan Health Corps, first
responded to a request from the Gyalwang Karmapa to develop initiatives to
improve the health and healthcare of nuns more than three years ago. This year
he has returned for a third time with a team of six health professionals to
provide basic training for a new batch of nuns. The team comprises Professor
Kuo Su Chen, a specialist in Women’s Health, Dr Chin Min Yi, a doctor of
traditional Chinese medicine, Dr Wei Cheng Chou, urologist and surgeon, Hsin-Yu
afternoon of the 34th Kagyu Mönlam started slightly earlier than usual with a
Medicine Buddha tsok practice according to the Concise Ritual of
Offering to the Seven Tathagatas, compiled by the 6th Sharmapa. Tsok, in
the form of small bags of fruit, was distributed to each and every participant,
sangha and lay followers alike, and money offerings traditionally known in
Tibet as 'kunki' were also given to the sangha.
At the end of
the afternoon break, His Holiness Karmapa came onto the stage and the session
on the Appreciation of the Sponsors opened with the procession for the mandala
offering, led by the sponsors who then sat on the stage for the blessings that
would follow. Appreciation of the Sponsors is an opportunity to share and
dedicate virtue, and His Holiness spoke at some length on the importance of
generosity as a means for generating virtue, and on the equal indispensability
of the dedication of the virtue generated.
For the Gyalwang Karmapa, the Tibetan New Year began in the
first hours of the day, as he met in the Tergar Monastery shrine hall with
tulkus, khenpos, and masters from various monasteries and received their
khatas. In return he gave them his blessing and a traditional bright red cord.
The monks recited prayers for peace in the world and the flourishing of the
teachings as well as the very long life of the Karmapa. Afterward the entire
monastic and lay Sangha gathered at 4:30 am in the Monlam Pavilion for a
special long-life practice based on theThree
Roots Combined, calledA
Life-Force Indestructible like a Vajra. The practice was led by the
Karmapa’s heart son, Gyaltsap Rinpoche, who had bestowed this empowerment the
previous day. In February of 2016 the Karmapa had also given this empowerment,
and at the time commented on its importance for his Kamtsang Kagyu lineage. The
short lineage is traced back to a text based on the pure visions of th…
Pavilion — Bodh Gaya, Bihar
break, after the smoke offering Massing Clouds of Amrita had
ended on Sunday morning, the stage needed to be cleared and rearranged in order
for Gyaltsab Rinpoche to bestow the Red Crown ceremony and the Long
Life Empowerment of the Three Roots Combined. His Holiness the 17th Karmapa
personally took charge of arranging Gyaltsab Rinpoche’s throne with great
respect and care; he had received the Empowerment of the Three Roots
Combined from Gyaltsab Rinpoche when he bestowed the Treasury
of Precious Terma, or Rinchen Terdzo empowerments some
throne was placed directly in front of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s high throne. To
the right, on an elegant golden table covered with brocade, sat a delicately
wrought silver pavilion.
At last the
stage was set, the gyalings blew, and the sangha returned from the break to
take their seats. After several minutes, the Gyalwang Karmapa led an elderly