Day Four: The Initiations of ‘Knowing One Frees All’ - Seize the Day
Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
23 December, 2014
As the packed audience relaxed, the Karmapa seized the moment to make a powerful exhortation to the audience.
We have all achieved a precious human body with leisure and resources. Leisure means we are free of the eight states that lack freedom and we have all the resources that come from ourselves and others. We have the facilities that allow us to practise the dharma. We have a great opportunity now and we must not let it go to waste. We must use this precious human body to accomplish great benefit and achieve a great result.
The eight states that lack leisure are the hells, hungry ghosts, animals, barbarians, long-life gods, having wrong views, the dumb and idiots. Because we are free of those eight states we have the eight leisures. If we are free of the eight states that lack leisure but we spend all our time in various busyness, it doesn't make any difference if we are free of the eight states or not. When we have the leisure we need to use it to accomplish the dharma.
We have all gathered here at the Monlam, whether monastics or lay people. We have everything we need to practise the dharma. It's all been prepared for us. Having all the facilities to practice the dharma, we may be free of external impediments to practising dharma, but we should think what it means to be free of impediments. Many people lack basic livelihood; they have no clothes to wear,no drinking water, or medical treatment. They have great difficulties. If we compare ourselves to them we can see what it means to have all the facilities to practise. It means we have a particular responsibility to use everything we have. We need to make an effort to help all those beings. For that reason it’s important for us to make an effort to help all those sentient beings who are deprived and keep them in our mind. Sometimes we don’t realize what fortune we have. Only when some unfortunate situation occurs do we realize what an excellent opportunity we have.
It is important for us to have a broader perspective.
12. Leaf-Clad Shawari
When the Buddha was staying in Sravasti he taught the dharani mantra, essence mantra, near-essence mantra and root mantra, and many different rituals, to his entourage and the four communities [bhikshus, bhikshunis, male and female lay practitioners]..
It belongs to kriya tantra and, of the three transcendent classes of kriya tantra, it is in the lotus or Padma family. She is considered one of the wrathful deities. However, there are also many different forms of the goddess, leaf clad Shawari, that were taught by the great masters of the past. There are different colours of body and many different numbers of faces and arms. There are some with three faces and six arms, or with one face and four arms.
The lineage comes down from the Buddha, to Manjushri, to the master 'Victorious over Enemies',and then to Wangchuk Dorje, the 9th Karmapa, from whom it was passed down through the realization lineage of the Karma Kamtsang.
This is also a kriya tantra. Of the three transcendent families, she is in the Tathagata family. The Tathagata family has eight sections; of these she is in the mother of the family section.
When the Buddha was staying in Śravasti he taught the dharani of Marici to the victors. There are many sadhanas of Marici written by the great masters of India; sixteen sadhanas of Marici are in the” Ocean of Sadhanas” alone. This particular one was written by the 6th Karmapa, Thongwa Donden in accordance with the sadhana found in Acarya Abhayakara’s “Garland of the Perfection of Yogas”.
In degenerate times the goddess Marici is especially beneficial because most yidam deities are difficult to practice; but she is especially strong and powerful in degenerate times. She is followed by Buddhists and non-Buddhists in many lands, including China and Japan. She is well-known in China and practiced by Taoists and others, as well as Buddhists. She is particularly famous amongst warriors. She appears prominently in popular tales of the western armies of the monkey king.
14. Armband of the Noble Victory Banner’s Peak
When the Buddha was in the heaven of the thirty-three, there was a war between the gods and demi-gods. The gods lost and Indra was very discouraged and disappointed. So the Buddha taught the dharani mantra of Armband of the Noble Victory Banner's Peak and then the gods were victorious over the demi-gods.
This is yet again kriya tantra, in the Tathagata family. It is also included within the wrathful female deities.
The lineage was passed down from Abhayakara’s “Ocean of Sadhanas”.
15. Goddess Sarasvati
The practice of Sarasvati is praised as being the greatest for removing the darkness of ignorance and unknowing, for developing the light of wisdom, and for being able to write poetry and treatises.
This sadhana of Sarasvati is superior to other sadhanas of Sarasvati. This practice came from Vajradhara to the wisdom dakinis, and then to Rinchen Jungney down to the 9th Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje.
16. Orange Manjushri with Retinue
The Karmapa began with a story.
In India near Nalanda there lived an old man of ninety-nine years. He felt weary with samsara and thought he needed to achieve buddhahood. He went to see a pandita who lived nearby and asked for help. The pandita said: You are ninety-nine years old. You are too old, you cannot even read.
The old man thought to himself, 'This is very true, I cannot read and I cannot study the dharma and if I cannot read or study I will not be able to achieve the state of buddhahood'. So he felt very discouraged.
As he sat there, he met a master named Chariot of the Sun, who gave him a practice of Manjushri. He asked, 'How long will it take me to accomplish the practice?' The answer was: If you have a karmic connection then you can achieve this in one day. So he took a sword and put it by his table and vowed, 'If I do not see Manjushri face to face by tomorrow morning I will commit suicide'. He did the practice. The next morning he saw Manjushri who gave him teachings. By the blessings of Manjushri he became like an eight year old boy. He was called Kumaradeva, the youthful wise one. He became well -versed in all areas of knowledge.
Kumaradeva taught it to Pa Dampa Sanjay who then gave it to Machig Labdron, from whom it passed down to the Ninth Karmapa.
In the final empowerment of the day, the Karmapa blessed his Lamas with a special multi-coloured, tiered torma of Manjushri, which resembled an elaborate confection. In both shape and colour, it was very different from the previous tormas used during the empowerments.
''Seven or eight years ago Gyaltsab Rinpoche told me that I should have a torma of Manjushri such as this one,” the Karmapa explained, “ so that’s why I had this torma made.''