Set in front of the throne this morning is a wide sofa chair covered with brocade. The Karmapa entered the hall from the left side and took his place on the chair, which gave a closer, more intimate connection to the audience that fills the hall wall to wall. The question and answer period went so long yesterday, he commented, there was no time for instruction on meditation, so he proposed beginning with meditation today.
On his last tour in the US, the Karmapa related that he had visited the Google and Facebook campuses, each of which have a room set aside for meditation, a sign that interest in meditation is increasing. He was concerned, however, that meditation might go the way of yoga, losing its traditional context and value, and turning into one more thing to market.
There are many ways to meditate, he began, and they can be condensed into calm abiding (shamatha) and insight (vipashyana), or in other words, resting and analytic meditations. There are many kinds of meditation and many different ways of explaining them, depending on different traditions and lamas. For example, in the vajrayana, some types of insight meditation are resting meditations. But usually, insight is correlated with analytical meditation and calm abiding with resting meditation.
“Calm abiding and insight meditations are related as cause and effect,” the Karmapa stated. “Calm abiding must come first. If not, then insight meditation will be difficult, so I will introduce you to calm abiding first. It means bringing all of our mental energy to focus on one reference point, while simultaneously our mind becomes relaxed.”
The usual way of practicing calm abiding is to go to a solitary place devoid of distractions and noise—even a dog’s bark is said to be detrimental—and spend five to six months in meditation. In our contemporary world, he commented, it is difficult for this to happen, as distractions are everywhere so it is a challenge for us to practice calm abiding, for our mind should not be drawn outside by objects, but collected or turned inward. With the constant presence of smart phones and Internet access everywhere, this is difficult.
“What we call meditation,” the Karmapa explained, “actually means that whatever is happening, whatever situation we might meet, our minds remain settled within themselves; in a simple, unfabricated way they just rest there. If we can do this, then there is no need for us to do meditation as a separate activity.”
He then told a story about someone who came to meet the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje and said he did not want to meditate. Is there a teaching for this? Rangjung Dorje replied, “Yes, but if I told it to you, you would check and try to meditate on it. And with that you would turn it into a fabricated practice, imposing something extra. So even if I gave you this teaching of no meditation, it would not benefit you.”
The Karmapa summarized: “When we practice calm abiding, we relax, do not let our minds wander outside, and rest in awareness no matter what is happening.” However, since we are so used to mental constructs and thinking about things, this kind of practice is difficult for us.
How do we practice meditation that needs no meditation? To illustrate the practice with the example of an affliction being liberated as it arises, the Karmapa selected one of the afflictions, anger. When it is on the verge of arising, just as it is emerging, we look into it, for once an affliction is fully present, it is difficult to work with. To do this practice, we need experience; without it, the thought of anger seems to be simultaneous with its arising fully in our mind. However, if we practice and come to know the situation, we can see that there is a sequence—first this happens and then that.
The Karmapa counseled, “When a thought arises, we look at it and simply rest with it. We are not looking for anything special. As soon as the thought arises, we rest our awareness there. This is all we need to do.” We do not analyze, thinking, “What is this concept? Where did it come from? Where did it go?” It is not that kind of meditation here. In sum, we merely need to open up our wisdom eye and look nakedly, just noticing (or paying bare attention to) how the thought is arising. “There is no need to analyze, make an effort, or think. We are simply looking,” he said.
“When we look like this,” the Karmapa noted, “the anger weakens. The usual, powerful dynamic of anger’s arising will lose some of its compulsive force.” He gave the example of a child who is telling a lie. If we look clearly into their eyes, they will naturally become embarrassed and back down. Similarly, since the afflictions are fictitious, having no real underpinning or basis, they will shrink just like the child telling a fib, when we look into them. With this vivid example, the Karmapa ended his discussion of meditation and turned to the topic for the morning, compassion and happiness.
He began by quoting from the Way of the Bodhisattva, composed by the famous Indian pandita, Shantideva: All the suffering in this world comes from wanting happiness for ourselves; all the happiness in this world comes from wanting happiness for others.
The core of the issue, he explained, is that we want happiness in this world for ourselves because we take our self to be real in the sense of being autonomous and self-generating. We think we are independent, not needing to rely on anything or anyone else. Further, the Karmapa said, on the basis of taking a self to be real, we hold it dear and think it quite special. This unfortunate grasping to things as solid and real is extended from ourselves out to other objects, so we think, “My family, my friends, my things, my body, my house, ad infinitum.” Grasping onto the reality of a self seeps into everything.
The Karmapa added, “In general, however, we do need to care for ourselves; it is not a fault but actually a necessity. The danger is that we do this while taking the self to be real and independent. This way of thinking makes problems and could bring about our ruin.” He followed this with an example: taking the self to be real is like a prison with iron walls. “When we are incarcerated in the prison of the self,” he explained,” we cannot make connections with many other people, for only our parents and close friends are allowed in. The doors do not open to others.”
As a consequence of being stuck in the prison of the self, when our loved ones must go to the hospital, we are unable to help them. On a larger scale, he continued, while in this jail we are at a distance from all others, from all the living beings who have been our parents. Thinking about this can be quite dispiriting. So what we need to do, the Karmapa advised, is to take the hammer of a powerful compassion and break down the prison walls.
The Karmapa then turned to the subject of the Buddhist teaching on no self. “If we take the term literally,” he said,” we could think that it means there is no self at all. And people challenge this idea saying ‘If there is no self, then how can you talk about karma, cause and effect?’” But the Buddhism understanding of no self does not mean that the self is a blank or a void. Rather, the negation applies to the self that we think exists as independent and self-existent, as some kind of solid entity. This is the self that does not exist.
“The actual self is like a vast and endless web,” he elaborated, “that connects all possible phenomena. So we have to expand the way we think the self exists so that it can pervade the whole, immense universe and make untold numbers of connections.” “Self and other arise in dependence upon one another and,” he continued, “if we can make our relationships with others based on this understanding, then all living beings will be connected through a vast innernet” (playing off the word Internet). We can connect with everyone and everything through compassion, he said.
If we consider how things really are, then we will come to see that there is no difference between others and ourselves. We are a part of them and they are a part of us, and consequently, their happiness and suffering is ours and visa versa. It also follows that we must be concerned about and take responsibility for others. Most of the clothes we wear, for example, are not made here in Europe but elsewhere; however, we do not know names of the people who made them nor would we recognize them. Yet they have helped us by fashioning our clothes, and do so while receiving low wages and living close to poverty. Their difficulties have created something beneficial for us and so we must take responsibility for them.
Knowing that we depend on each other, we know that we must care for each other. If we do not care for others, then one day when we ourselves need assistance, it will be difficult to find. When we seek happiness, it should not be just for ourselves alone. The self that wishes only for its own happiness is mistaken; actually, from the point of view of how things truly are, that solitary self does not even exist. The central point here is that happiness in this world actually comes from wishing for others’ happiness. Therefore we should do all we can to develop our love and compassion. He concluded by saying that for him with all the difficulties he has known, what gives him real happiness is being able to help others.
A short session of question and answers followed.
Do all sentient beings have a connection with the Karmapa? He replied that one could view the incarnations of the Karmapas in two ways: that he is one individual taking rebirth many times or seventeen different people. In general all living beings have a connection with the Karmapa but there is a difference in being close or distant, which comes not from the side of the Karmapa but is based on the individual’s feeling.
How do we maintain awareness at the time of death? The Karmapa responded that we should train now. If we do not learn to focus our awareness now, it will be difficult to do when death comes. To school ourselves, we can think of one day as a whole life: in the morning we are born from the womb and we die when we go to sleep at night. If we learn to think like this, it will be helpful.
When your Holiness teaches in the West do you use the same terms or adapt the teachings for the audience? There is a slight difference, he said. When speaking to Tibetans, I do not need a translator, and when teaching others, he joked, I do not use a lot of quotes because they give translators a hard time. But actually there is not much difference.
2 Apr 2017ChandigarhNaresh K Thakur n firstname.lastname@example.org
DHARAMSHALA: With his rival Trinley Thaye Dorje now a married man, who shed monk’s robes to get hitched with his childhood friend, the claim of Ogyen Trinley Dorje to the title of the 17th Karmapa and Rumtek Monastery throne has become stronger
Thaye Dorje, 33, married Rinchen Yangzom, 36, in a private ceremony attended by close family members in New Delhi on March 25 and announced it on March 30. His office described the couple as “close childhood friends” who have known each other for more than 19 years.
Karmapa is the title given to the spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu sect, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and are the oldest institutionalised series of rebirths in Tibetan Buddhism, preceding the Dalai Lama of Gelug sect. Currently, there are three contenders who claim to be the rightful reincarnation of 16th Karmapa. While Ogyen Dorje, who is recognised by the Dalai Lama as well as the Peoples’…
Editors note: This text was done by Michele Martin who conducted interviews with Tempa Yarphel, the search team and others. Mrs. Michele Martin allowed us to use it for our website. We are very happy about her generous offer and like to express our deep gratitude. Thanks a lot!An Amazing Story: Finding the Reincarnation of Tenga Rinpoche Part 2
An Amazing Story: Finding the Reincarnation of Tenga Rinpoche Part 2
by Michele Martin, Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, March 21, 2017.
The second time that His Holiness gave them information about the yangsi was during these ceremonies at Vajra Vidya Institute. The Karmapa arrived here on March 20, 2016 from Bodh Gaya, and on March 21, 2016, he began the three days of pujas in the radiant shrine hall of the Institute.
Two special altars had been beautifully arranged by the Karmapa himself: one for the Guru Yoga of Karma Pakshi in the morning and another for the practice of the Five Tseringma sisters in the afternoon. Said to reside in t…
Michele Martin Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India March 21, 2017
Ever since he passed away on March 30, 2012, finding Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche’s reincarnation (yangsi) has been awaited with great hope and deep devotion, especially in the Karma Kamtsang lineage. Before founding Benchen Monastery in Nepal, he was the ritual master for HH the Sixteenth Karmapa and famous for his detailed knowledge of vajrayana ceremonies and practice. When traveling in Germany, the Gyalwang Karmapa spoke about Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche on August 30, 2015: “While here in Germany, I had the opportunity to meet briefly with many students of Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche and share some remarks with them. It has been a while now since he passed away but during all this time, his students and I myself have been continually remembering Rinpoche. This recollection has caused our faith, devotion, and love for him to continue flourishing.
“Before Rinpoche passed away, he spoke a few words to me about his future reincarnation.…
Please note: Overseas visits will be finalised and confirmed only after obtaining all the necessary clearances.
Visit to the United Kingdom in May
Public Teachings & Empowerment on Saturday 20th of May – Sunday 21st of May
On Saturday, His Holiness will teach on the 8 Verses of Training the Mind across two session in the morning and one session in the evening. On Sunday, His Holiness will continue his teachings on the 8 Verses of Training the Mind in the morning, and then in the evening he will bestow the Chenrezig Empowerment.
Editors note: This text was done by Michele Martin who conducted interviews with Tempa Yarphel, the search team and others. Mrs. Michele Martin allowed us to use it for our website. We are very happy about her generous offer and like to express our deep gratitude. Thanks a lot!
An Amazing Story: Finding the Reincarnation of Tenga Rinpoche Part 3
by Michele Martin, Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, March 21, 2017.
Meanwhile in Kathmandu, the General Secretary spoke with Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche to let him know that he was going to Bodh Gaya to spend Gutor (days of Mahakala practice before the New Year) and Losar (New Year) of 2017 at Tergar Monastery with His Holiness. “What shall I say to His Holiness about the yangsi?” he asked. Nyenpa Rinpoche replied, “Don’t say anything at all about the yangsi. It’s best to keep quiet. His Holiness knows who you are. If he wishes to say something, he will. If not, then come back.”
So the General Secretary followed his plans and went to Bodh Gay…
Dorje is one of the three claimants to the position of Karmapa — the religious head of the Tibetan Buddhist sect of Karma Kagyu. An official anointment of a Karmapa has been long held up over differences between India and China, already at loggerheads over festering border disputes and diplomatic tensions.
But Dorje’s marriage has emboldened supporters of one of his rival claimants to raise the pitch and demand that New Delhi recognise Ugyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa.
For the past nine months, monks of the famous Rumtek monastery, 24km from Sikkim’s capital Gangtok, have been holding a relay hunger strike in support of Trinley Dorje. Thaye Dorje’s marriage has now prompted the…
DHARAMSHALA, MARCH 31: The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, recognized by the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has requested followers of Kamtsang Kagyu to refrain from speaking ill about each other in the wake of “recent events”, which has caused a stir in the Buddhist community.
Without making any direct reference to the recent news of his rival Karmapa Thinlay Thaye Dorje’s wedding, the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje wrote, “Recent events in the Kamtsang Kagyu may cause a lot of discussion both inside the lineage and out, and I am slightly worried about the possibility of people trading barbed words over it,” Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje wrote on his official Facebook page, without specifically referring to any particular incident.
Addressed as ‘a request to all my friends’, the Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje urged everyone to consider all the different sides of the situation before making any criticism. The 31-yea…
Tibetan spiritual leader Karmapa XVII Ogyen trinley Dorje became the initiator of the return of women to take full monastic vows, according to the portal «Save Tibet».
The Karmapa and the Dalai Lama insist, for the preservation of Buddhist teachings requires a community, consisting of four parts (full monks (elongi) full of nuns (gelongma), and women and men holding practising the vows of laity). In reality, however, the transmission line is a complete women’s vows broken.
«Monks and nuns can equally follow the principles of Buddha’s teachings and bear the same responsibility for compliance with these principles. However, there was a period when the nuns do not have the opportunity to fully practice the teachings and this is not the best way affected the status of Buddhism as a whole», — quotes the portal words Karmapa XVII.
Gelong or bhikshu — the highest degree of monastic commitment. Monks galangi observe more than 220 vows. It was decided that the restoration of full monast…
India has been a special place for him and the Karmapa says it has helped him personally gain in many ways particularly in developing his spiritual powers including patience.By: PTI | New De | Published: April 23, 2017
India has been a special place for him and the Karmapa says it has helped him personally gain in many ways particularly in developing his spiritual powers including patience. "Particularly for Tibetan people, India is a very special country. Many of them have fled to India from Tibet. So for all Tibetan people, India really occupies a special place in our hearts," he says.
"It has been 17 years since I myself came to India. Personally, during this period, there have been some difficult times. But since I came, India has helped me develop my spiritual powers including patience," Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, told PTI in an interview.
The spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism has come up with a book "Interconnected: E…
The internet has brought people closer to each other but also needed is an "innernet" to make us feel our inter-connectedness inwardly too, Tibetan spiritual leader, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, said on Sunday.
"The information age makes us highly aware of our interconnectedness and the internet allows us to see how much we depend on one another. But we also need to have an innernet -- not just a connection on a material or outer level. We need to be able to feel our connectedness inwardly," said the Karmapa at the release of his new book "Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society".
The book, which came out of a month-long dialogue with a group of students from the University of Redlands, California, who travelled to Dharamsala to learn from him, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, outlines his vision for a global society that truly reflects the interdependence that is now becoming widely recognised and s…