Freedom is a powerful idea. But I am not sure we are always very clear what we have in mind when we speak of it. Does freedom mean doing whatever we feel like in any given moment? Does it mean having the power and liberty to exercise our will with no obstruction? Does it evoke a state in which we have shed ourselves of all obligations to others?
Many of our notions of freedom are based implicitly on the idea that we are utterly self-sustaining and separate entities. This model leads us to feel that others’ claims on us undercut our freedom. We experience our relationships as ties that bind us and limit our freedom. Based on this, we assume that we cannot all be free, because the freedom of one person comes at the cost of another’s. If we believe that, it is small wonder that people so often seek to dominate and oppress others. This is an idea that slips into discussions of freedom—the idea that freedom is in some fundamental way a limited resource, such that one person exercising his freedom detracts from another person’s ability to be free. But this is not the case. Freedom is not a zero-sum game.
It is possible and realistic for every person to experience real freedom. The reason we have not managed to do so is we lack an understanding of what real freedom is and how it can be achieved. We need the wisdom to distinguish the egocentric pursuit of self- interest from the pursuit of authentic freedom.
When I hear what people say about freedom sometimes, it sounds to me like longing to live out the fantasy of being independent and absolutely autonomous individuals, of being free of consequences and responsibilities—that is to say, exempt from the principle of interdependence. But there is no such thing. We cannot exist out- side causality or outside the connections of interdependence, and so freedom cannot be a matter of escaping from those connections.
Only freedom developed on the basis of a realistic view of who we are and how we relate to others can be authentic—and extended universally to all. If we acknowledge our interdependence, and take into account the vast networks of interconnections in which our lives and actions are embedded, we will find that our own freedom is inseparable from the freedom of all other people. When we truly appreciate this fact, we experience interdependent freedom—a freedom that does not detract from others’ freedom. This is the freedom that we can all enjoy together without conflict.
Freedom’s Inner Conditions
Freedom does not start from the outside. Although external conditions have a part to play, that is not where freedom originates. This might sound backward, but authentic freedom arises initially from inner conditions. Its deepest roots are within us.
Most often when we speak of freedom, what we actually have in mind are freedom’s outer manifestations. This may be the gravest error we make in our understanding of freedom. If we think we will achieve freedom when we can exercise complete control over our immediate environment, we overlook the single most important determinant of authentic freedom: our own minds.
Our mind has unlimited potential. It is not bound to any one position or viewpoint. What we think or feel—our mental state—is not simply determined by outer circumstances. Because of this, no matter how challenging our external conditions might be, we can experience freedom if we cultivate the inner resources that allow us to feel free. The basis for establishing authentic freedom is within us.
If you can access a sense of inner freedom no matter what is going on around you, you are experiencing freedom. As important as outer liberties are, freedom does not consist solely in enjoying physical or verbal liberty, such as freedom of movement or freedom of speech. We may have the liberty to do and say as we wish and yet still be deeply unfree mentally or emotionally. This is why inner freedom is key. When we have freed our minds and hearts from within, our happiness no longer depends on making the rest of the world serve our self-centered goals. Not only that, we gain freedom to work to change the external conditions that have the potential to limit or obstruct our freedom from outside, and we also have what we need to be able to work for the freedom of others.
What are we looking for when we seek freedom? Maybe at the bottom of it all, the freedom we seek is the experience of genuine happiness. Since this is an inner experience, external things cannot be the measure of our happiness or our freedom. We will come back in a moment to the question of what we mean by happiness and how it enables us to experience freedom, but I think if we examine our own experiences, we can see that whether we call it freedom or not, if we feel free, we feel happy, and if we feel happy, we also feel free. The state of mind and the feeling we seek can be called freedom, or it can be called happiness. But whatever name we give it, if we want to experience happiness or freedom, we must cultivate the inner conditions that give rise to those states.
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…