How to Separate from Attachment - Science of Mind Day 1
The India International Centre, New Delhi, India
November 7, 2015
It is the seventh time now that The Foundation for Universal Responsibility of HH the Dalai Lama has hosted the Gyalwang Karmapa for a weekend of teachings in New Delhi. For this occasion, the stage of Indian International Centre’s main hall has been set up with a spacious white chair covered in red and gold brocade for the Karmapa, flanked by members of the ordained sangha in their burgundy robes, the eight auspicious symbols on backlit screens, and tall, double sprays of flowers in hues of red and white.
To explore the topic of this weekend’s teachings, entitled Science of the Mind, the Karmapa chose the famous verse, The Four Freedoms from Attachment, composed by the founding patriarch of the Sakya school, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo:
If you are attached to this life, you’re not a Dharma practitioner. If you are attached to samsara, you don’t have renunciation. If you are attached to selfish aims, you don’t have bodhicitta If there’s grasping, it is not the view.
Since these teachings are especially meant for Indians who have an interest in Buddhism, the Karmapa first extended his greetings to them for Diwali, the glittering festival of lights, wishing them a very happy holiday. Since it is customary to bring gifts of sweets, the Karmapa said playfully, “I should have brought some sweets for you but hopefully my talk will be sweet enough.”
The Karmapa began his teaching by saying that the text was a profound oral instruction, expressing all the points of the foundational and great vehicles or all three types of people (a teaching from the stages of the path or lam rim tradition). There are numerous commentaries on this verse, but it would be best just to focus on the verse itself, which is easy to understand and can be recalled again and again.
How does one listen to profound Dharma? Both the one giving the teaching and those receiving it should be clear about their motivations and their reasons, because it is a good motivation that makes for true sharing of Dharma. If you just come to the teachings out of curiosity, what you hear will not bring much benefit. However, if you come with a clear motivation and understanding of the reasons why you came, then the teachings will help to develop your minds.
When listening to the Dharma, you also need to keep clearly in mind a goal, no matter how large or small it may be. The Karmapa then provided an opportunity to experience what this might be like and asked people to reflect in a natural way about why they came while he chanted the refuge vow and the generation of bodhicitta. Having reminded people of the proper motivation, the Karmapa began his explanation of the first line of the verse:
If you are attached to this life, you are not a practitioner.
Since we are Dharma practitioners, the Karmapa commented, we have to recognize what it means to be one. This line can also mean that someone on the Dharma path investigates what is within their own mind. If we do not ask ourselves questions, then how can we know what is means to be a practitioner? And if we spend most of our time doing things other than Dharma, how can we become a true practitioner? The Karmapa asked, “Is being a real practitioner putting aside our family and the work that supports us and spending all our time on Dharma? Is it something separate like this?” Actually not, he replied. We need a stable livelihood and a happy household and do not have to give them up to practice Dharma.Otherwise, Dharma practice would be for the select few and not something ordinary people could do.
Dharma practice should inspire us and bring strength of mind. It is focused not on the temporary but the ultimate, on what can truly satisfy our minds and bring lasting joy. For this reason, the Karmapa explained, a true practitioner looks to future lives and not just what concerns this present one. Of course, Dharma practice will benefit us in this life, but our ultimate goal is a high and deep kind of true joy. The Karmapa commented, “Believing one hundred percent in past and future lives is not easy, even among Buddhists. In Kham we say ‘Believing is pretending to believe.’” It is difficult to believe in past and future lives because we are asked to trust something we cannot see.
Some people think, the Karmapa noted, that making prayers to a deity is practicing Dharma. If we are lucky and our prayers are answered, then our expectations grow. But this kind of result does not bring true happiness; it only increases our expectations. What we need is a goal for our lives that will benefit us when we come to the day we must die. At that time whether our mundane prayers were filled or not will not matter. What we need, he said, is something that has made our lives meaningful, that has brought true joy and confidence to our minds.
Taking an example from his own life, the Karmapa related that since he was recognized at the age of seven, he has had to face many difficulties and situations that he did not wish for. However, he kept in mind that he had a responsibility and the profound purpose of helping others, so temporary obstacles became a way to become a better person and strengthen his character, and also a way for his mind to become more spacious. If we let our minds get upset and disturbed, he noted, this will just stir up more problems.
The Karmapa’s talk was followed by a few questions. The first one, related to what he had just said, asked about what to do when obstacles arise. Should we fight them or just let things be?
The Karmapa responded: “The goal a practitioner has in mind is very important. If an obstacle is temporary, it’s not a problem. The actual problem is not accomplishing the ultimate goal of our lives, so we can take temporary troubles as a chance to improve ourselves and develop our resolve and courage. The real obstacle is to lose our inspiration and enthusiasm.” He added, “If our motivation is vast and stable, it will not disappear in the face of obstacles.”
The next question asked: If we practice Dharma for future lives, how will it benefit us in this one?
The Karmapa replied: “When we say we’re practicing for next life, it means that we’re taking the benefit of the Dharma in this lifetime as a basis for future lives. When we practice Dharma, we are not wasting our time; on the contrary Dharma makes life meaningful. Then at the time of death we will not be disappointed, and at the least, we will not have regrets.” He continued to explain, “It is by having a result in this life what we can figure out the benefit in a future life. When we think about the benefit in the future, it means that there has to be a benefit in this life, for without it, there would be none in the future.” In sum, we should take the long-term view but not give up on this life.
The next question asked: How should we prepare for death?
In responding, the Karmapa spoke of the reflection on death and impermanence. “When we contemplate death and impermanence, this spurs us on to make efforts so that we make each day meaningful. From another perspective, thinking about impermanence is a preparation for death: everything is undergoing change from moment to moment; it is the nature of all things to come and go.” If we can accept things are they are, he stated, “we will have less fear of death and see it as a natural process.” We can also prepare for death by experiencing each day as an entire life time: we are born in the morning, go through the day of our life, and die at night.
The final question queried: How do we enhance our diligence or joyful exertion?
The Karmapa responded: “Diligence should be imbued with a sense of enthusiasm. And meditating on impermanence will inspire our diligence, since we will not want to waste this life.” We can also think about the benefit of Dharma practice. The Karmapa noted that these days people are very result oriented but that the results of Dharma practice may take time to appear so we need certainty and enthusiasm that allows us to stay the course. Reflecting on the benefits and deeper meaning of Dharma practice will allow to practice for a long time.
The teachings will continue tomorrow and are being made available through webcast translations into English, Spanish, Chinese, German, and Polish.
Aldershot, Hampshire, England – Morning, May 27, 2017
Early on this day of the Karmapa’s visit to the Nepali community in Aldershot, the double arch of a luminous rainbow filled the sky. It recalled his first visit to the US when rainbows followed him everywhere on the East Coast. The Karmapa was invited by the Buddhist Community Centre UK to this beautiful area of England, famous for its military garrisons and home to a sizeable population of Gurkha soldiers who have served in the British army. In 2006 they were allowed to live in England and in 2007, the Buddhist Community Centre UK was founded by Mr. Kaji Sherpa. He had the vision of establishing a Buddhist monastery to serve the growing Buddhist Community in this southeast region of the UK.
His daughter explained that about half of the Gurkha population in Nepal is Buddhist, and that her father felt a need for Buddhist guidance in this community, so a committee of Nepalis purchased a social club and completely transformed it into a …
During his first visit to the UK from May 17 to 28, 2017, the Karmapa, a prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader, joined former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Rowan Williams together with scientists, scholars and cultural figures for a dialogue on the environment hosted by the International Campaign for Tibet and Inspire Dialogue Foundation.
The round table discussion, held on May 24, 2017, was intended to bring together perspectives “between disciplines and generations” as the beginning of an ongoing exchange, according to Lord Williams, Master of Magdalen College and a noted poet and theologian. It involved figures from the arts and sciences, including Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London; James Thornton, the founding CEO of ClientEarth; Dame Fiona Reynolds, former Director-General of the National Trust; Dr Bhaskar Vira, Director, University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute; Tracey Seaward, film producer …
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, made his first visit to the United Kingdom this month.
At 31 years old, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, a reincarnation lineage that dates back more than 900 years. His Holiness was born in eastern Tibet but fled to India in 2000, where he now resides at the Gyuto Monastery near Dharamshala. He is the only reincarnate Lama to have been recognised by both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese communist government.
The Karmapa’s 11-day visit began on May 17 and the first public event was held on May 20 in London’s Battersea Park.
“I would like to express my great delight at this opportunity that has come to pass for me to visit London, the capital of the United Kingdom, for the first time. Especially, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to all you friends who are gathered here. I have been waiting for a long time to visit the United King…
May 29, 2017 - The 17th Karmapa, one of Tibet’s leading Buddhist figures arrived in Toronto yesterday on his first visit to Canada. Known for his concerns about current global issues as well as for his spiritual leadership, the 31-year-old Karmapa will engage in a wide range of religious activities and will speak on environmental and social responsibility at various universities.
During his month long trip to Canada, the Karmapa will travel to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor the 16th Karmapa, who travelled extensively throughout the country and was instrumental in introducing Canadians to Buddhism in the 1970s.
Head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the 17th holder of a 900-year old lineage. Born in a nomadic family in eastern Tibet, he made headline news in 2000 with his dramatic escape to India, where he now lives near the Dalai Lama. The 17th …
This morning the Karmapa traveled to a northwest suburb of London to visit the impressive BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, the largest Hindu temple in Europe. Marble and limestone have been brought alive by Indian artists, who carved every inch with intricate design. The founder of this Hindu bhakti tradition was guru Swaminarayan (1781-1830), famous for his support of the poor and encouraging women’s education. He was also known for his vegetarianism and opposition to animal sacrifice, positions that the Karmapa also supports.
At the temple, the Karmapa was met by Pujya Yogvivekdas Swami and offered the traditional greeting of a garland of flowers, a tika (the red mark of blessing) and a blessed cord. The Karmapa was then guided through the temple to see an exhibition on understanding Hinduism. Always curious, he asked many question of the guide. He then participated in prayers with the swami and other priests in two of the shrine rooms, both of white m…
Worshipped as a living god, will the 17th Karmapa Lama also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity? By MARTIN REGG COHNOntario Politics Columnist Tues., May 30, 2017
It is not his destiny to be the next Dalai Lama. For he is already reincarnated as the 17th Karmapa Lama.
Yet he may one day succeed his 81-year-old teacher and protector.
Revered since age 7 as spiritual leader of a 1,000-year-old branch of Tibetan Buddhism, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is making his first trip to Canada this week at the age of 31.
Meeting Ontario politicians Tuesday before sitting down for an interview, the Karmapa padded around Queen’s Park in a pair of brown hiking shoes peeking out from under his simple maroon robes. A picture of youthful wisdom with his direct gaze, towering above other monks at six feet tall, he may yet emerge as the public face of Tibetan Buddhism
Worshipped as a living god and the Buddha of Compassion, will he also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity?
May 27, 2017 – Lakeside International Hotel, Frimley Green, England
In the concluding public event of the 17th Karmapa’s first visit to the United Kingdom, nearly 2,000 people gathered at Lakeside International Hotel near Frimley Green in Surrey to receive an Amitayus Long Life empowerment. The Nepalese and Gurkha community turned out in force to welcome the 17th Karmapa and were joined by devotees from the UK, Europe, America, and other countries worldwide. This was the second part of a one-day program organised by the Buddhist Community Centre UK.
Monks from various Kagyu European centres and the Karmapa’s ritual master and attendants had worked hard to prepare the stage for the empowerment. The golden pagoda used during the Chenresik empowerment earlier in the visit now enshrined an image of Amitayus and a smaller image of Guru Rinpoche. To the left of the images, a large bowl contained long-life pills made from roasted barley and butter and to the right four bowls contained long-lif…
Transforming Disturbing Emotions: Dialogue of the Three Major Traditions of Buddhism Date: Thursday, June 1st, 9:30AM – 12:00PM Place: University of Toronto, Convocation Hall (MAP) Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp9TaET_SNw
How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times In these two sessions, His Holiness will discuss the basic nature of mind and the methods of obtaining happiness through listening to and contemplating the teachings of the Buddha, and then meditating according to the teachings. Date: Friday, June 2nd, 9:30-11:30AM, 2:00-4:30PM Place:The Enercare Centre, Hall D (MAP) Video: How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times 1…
May 31, 2017– In the morning after his arrival, at 9:00AM, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje arrived at Karma Sonam Dargye Ling– a Tibetan Buddhist centre under the direction of Lama Tenzin Dakpa. This was a visit of great significance, as the centre was first established in 1976 by the venerable Lama Namsel Rinpoche under the request of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje.
Upon arrival, His Holiness was ushered into the main shrine hall and seated on the highest throne, on which he proceeded to receive a body-speech-mind offering from the sangha. The yellow rice and tea ceremony followed in sequence for the welcome ceremony. Shortly after tea was served, the current resident teacher of Karma Sonam Dargye Ling, Lama Tenzin Dakpa, rose to speak.
Lama Tenzin referenced the founder of this centre, Lama Namsel Rinpoche, as one of the first Canadian resident lamas to request for His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa to visit Canada. …