Jnana-Pravaha Centre for Cultural Studies & Research, Varanasi, UP, India
Friday, November 6, 2015
The sounds of Karmapa Khyenno played through the white canopies set out on a sunny green lawn while the Ganges flowed nearby along its ancient course. This peaceful landscape of the Jnana-Pravaha Centre was the setting for a dialogue between spiritual teachers entitled, Awakening the Light of the Dharma: How to Uphold Dharma in the World Today. The Gyalwang Karmapa gave the keynote speech at this meeting focused on issues close to his heart.
The gathering brought together spiritual leaders from a variety of Buddhist and Hindu persuasions, Sufi, Jewish, and Theosophist teachers along with professors from Benares Hindu University joined by representatives from other academic and cultural institutions. The conference was mainly sponsored by the Jnana-Pravaha Centre and the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW), based in New York. Its founder, Dena Merriam, introduced the conference speaking from her long-term commitment to inner development as an essential element in the positive transformation of the global community.
She spoke of the pervasive violence in the world today toward the women, the environment, and animals. To deal with this problem, she said, we have learn to think in terms of the whole web of life; we need a long-term vision, an understanding of the laws of cause and effect along with an increased respect and humility towards the earth’s community of life. For this to happen, an inner transformation has to come first before an external one.
Marianne Marstrand, Executive Director of GWIP, introduced the Gyalwang Karmapa as someone who expresses a deep concern for the earth and her living systems and one who shares his wisdom and insight with young people around the world so that they do not lose hope in these times.
After extending his greetings to all the Dharma friends who had gathered, the Karmapa remarked that he had come to the conference because it was focused on “developing mutual understanding between different spiritual traditions and inspiring their sacred perception of each other.” Sadly these days, there are many conflicts and misunderstandings based on the various religious traditions and we cannot postpone dealing with them. “We can see with our own eyes the difficulties in this world so even if we wanted to hold back and not do anything, we could not. If we can take small steps together, we can accomplish great things. This is critical for the peace of the world.” The Karmapa also emphasized that the importance of making good connections between individuals, “only then can we come together and do something great.” These relationships, he noted, are facilitated by a pure and spacious attitude.
“One of the most important things religious traditions can do,” the Karmapa remarked, “is to shift people’s attitudes. For example, science has given clear messages about the damage being to our environment, but this has not helped to change things. People’s attitudes and motivations have to transform, and religious leaders must show the way here. This means that all of us engaged in the religious traditions have a great responsibility.”
The Karmapa closed his talk by saying how delighted he was to see Dharma gurus and students at the conference and offered his best wishes and prayers that all be auspicious. Afterward, he took questions from two students.
The first one asked, “In this present time, how far are the teachings and beliefs of Buddha alive and relevant?”
The Karmapa responded, “In looking at Buddhist principles, we can see that there are some that stem from tradition and others that have turned into customs. We have to examine and see what is appropriate and helpful for the present time.
“If we look at the essence of Dharma,” he continued, “we can see many aspects that are very relevant–love and compassion, having few desires and being content, the understanding of interdependence, and mindfulness meditation.” In addition, the Karmapa said that the way Buddhism is taught is crucial: “Teachers must teach in tune with our contemporary world so that the Dharma matches the needs of the people who are living here and now.”
The next questioner asked: “What role can Buddhism play in insuring and promoting gender equality? The Karmapa replied: “When the Buddha was present on this earth, he gave both women and men the opportunity to practice in four different ways: through the vows of full ordination for both men and women as well as lay vows for women and men. These four types of vows for the lay and ordained sangha resemble the four pillars supporting a house.” However, the Karmapa noted, this situation has changed over time. For example, the tradition of full ordination for women disappeared in Tibet.
In general the Karmapa stated that exploring philosophical views on the subject of equality for women or passing numerous laws will not bring the changes needed to establish equality. The rights of women, he said, are part of the basic rights of human beings. All living beings have the right to be happy and to avoid suffering, so if we can truly cherish and sustain these basic rights, equality for women will come. On this positive note, the Karmapa closed his presentation.
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, one of the Karmapa’s teachers, then spoke and emphasized the importance of pure motivation during interfaith dialogues and also the need to sustain the Dharma so that it is available over time. Human beings have the special faculty of discerning intelligence, which allows them to change what is negative and develop what is positive. In doing so they can benefit all forms of life. So it is essential to preserve our religious traditions and let them flourish for the benefit of all living beings.
During this first morning of the conference, the esteemed speakers also included Sri Jagadguru Dr. Chandrashethar Shivacharya Mahaswami from Varanasi, Radhanath Swami, a teacher of Bhakti-yoga, and the famous woman teacher Anandamurti Gurumaa. The conference will continue through November 8 with further presentations and discussions.
Recently the Gyalwang Karmapa went through a medical examination in Germany, his doctor strongly advise him to stop all Dharma propagation activities so that he has more time and space to treat some of the medical conditions that he has. After much consideration, the Gyalwang Karmapa decided to cancel this year’s Asia Dharma Teaching, i.e. the Diamond Sutra Teaching.
When we heard about the Gyalwang Karmapa’s decision to cancel the teaching, our emotions evolved from unspeakable shock to calm contemplation. Eventually, we understand the difficulty and necessity to make such a decision. We will continue to pray that the Diamond Sutra Teaching to be held in future, yet we are unsure when and where the teaching will be held. Therefore, we will begin the refund process for those who had registered for the teaching after we had negotiated with the hotel for refund.
Even though we feel a sense of regret that the Diamond Sutra Teaching cannot be held, yet we understand and …
In 2016, the Centre had lifted restrictions on 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, movement within India after five years. Following this, he visited Arunachal Pradesh, an area claimed by China.
Sujit Nath | News18.com Updated:July 26, 2017, 11:31 PM IST
Kolkata: Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant permission to 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, to visit the state.
Any such visit to the by the Tibetan leader living in exile in India is likely to anger China. This comes at a time when the two countries are engaged in a standoff in Doklam plateau in the Sikkim sector.
In 2016, the Centre had lifted restrictions on Dorje’s movement within India after five years. Following this, he visited Arunachal Pradesh, an area claimed by China.
“I also invited the Prime Minister to visit Sikkim after the rainy season came to an end this year, which he agreed and promised to make a trip soon,” Chamling told the media after his mee…
གཟའ་འཁོར་འདིའི་ནང་བོད་ཕྱི་ནང་གཉིས་ཀར་ལོ་ཆུང་བྱིས་པ་རེ་རང་སྲེག་བཏང་འདུག །སེམས་ལ་ན་ཟུག་ཆེས་ཆེར་སློང་བའི་གནས་ཚུལ་འདི་དག་རྣ་བར་ཐོས་དུས། བཟོད་ཐབས་བྲལ་ཏེ་སླར་ཡང་གཞིས་བྱེས་བོད་མི་སྤུན་ཟླ་ཡོངས་ལ་འབོད་སྐུལ་ཞིག་ཞུ་འདོད་བྱུང་། This week, two young Tibetan children, one in Tibet and one in India, have burned themselves to death. These events pain me deeply. I could not bear to think of it when I heard the news, and for that reason I want to make a request of my fellow Tibetans at home and abroad.
༢༠༠༩ ལོ་ནས་ད་བར་བོད་ཕྱི་ནང་དུ་བོད་མི་བརྒྱ་ཕྲག་དང་ཕྱེད་ལ་ཉེ་བས་གཅེས་པའི་རང་ལུས་ཞུགས་སུ་ཕུལ་ཏེ་ཚད་མཐོའི་ལས་འགུལ་ཤུགས་ཆེར་སྤེལ་མོད། འོན་ཀྱང་མིག་སྔར་དེ་ལ་ཐོབ་འོས་པའི་སེམས་ཁུར་དང་། ཚེ་སྲོག་ལ་རིན་ཐང་དང་བརྩི་འཇོག །དེ་བཞིན་ཁོང་ཚོས་རང་སྲེག་གཏོང་བའི་རྒྱུ་རྐྱེན་དང་མངོན་འདོད་གང་ཡིན་ལ་དོ་ཁུར་བྱེད་མཁན་རྒྱལ་སྤྱི་དང་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་གང་ཡང་ཕལ་ཆེར་བྱུང་མེད་པའི་ཚོད་ཙམ་རེད། From 2009 to the present, nearly 150 Tibetans within Tibet and abroad have immolated their own precious bodies, maki…
The land of Sikkim, at the border of India and Tibet, was consecrated as a hidden sanctuary for the Buddha's teachings during the present epoch by the second Buddha, the great master Padmasambhava, who blessed it with the vajra wisdom of his body, speech, and mind. Through the infallible power of his aspiration and through our great effort, the monastery Shaydrup Kunkhyap Otong Khyilway Tsuklakhang (the Temple of Pervasive Teaching and Practice Blazing with a Thousand Lights), has been established for the preservation of the precious doctrine of the Buddha, which is the source of all benefit and happiness in existence and tranquility, and for the sake of all beings in the world.
Before the building's foundation was begun, I performed the customary removal of impediments and, using a sand mandala, the ritual of Chakrasamvara, blessing the location so that it is his wisdom mandala. In that and similar ways, the site has been consecrated m…
A group from Palpung Wales, which actually consisted of people from all over UK, traveled to join the His Holiness 17th Karmapa’s first teaching weekend in London, Battersea. It was an absolute privilege to be part of that weekend, in many ways. We received touching and inspiring teachings from His Holiness Karmapa on Geshe Langri Tangpa’s famous “Eight verses of Mind Training,” a key instruction on how to bring the Dharma into daily life. At the same time it was like a gesture of welcoming His Holiness Karmapa’s 17th incarnation to this country for the first time. Meeting with the many Dharma friends and coming together in His Holiness’s mandala was a very heart-warming experience. We were also very fortunate to have a group audience with His Holiness on Saturday afternoon. From original Palpung Wales group it slowly formed into a Palpung United group of about 60 people from Wales, Ireland and Slovenia, and some from Italy as well. It was a great chance, although only…
THE PRACTICE OF DHARMA involves certain possibilities. How these potentials evolve into actual situations for the practitioner, and how much is possible within these situations depends on the capacity of individual beings. It depends upon the level of teachings that one is able to relate to, such as Mahayana or Hinayana. At this particular time in our lives, the practice of the Mahayana teaching is possible. It is absolutely precious and absolutely rare. Our concern for development and our sense of responsibility has placed us in a position to integrate the preciousness and rarity of the Mahayana teaching with our lives. Through it there is the possibility of the experience of no-returning back into Samsara and the experience of ultimate bliss that is self knowing and in which there are no doubts. In the midst of the wanderings of our minds we might sometimes fall into thinking that whether one practices or not, the Dharma will always be available. If you have tha…
TIBETAN DHARMA IS BASED ON Mahayana Buddhism and in Tibet there is a special Mahayana tradition. Centuries ago, Indian Mahasiddhas collected the essence of the Buddha's teachings which were subsequently brought to Tibet. Down to this present day, it is still possible to study these same teachings at an educational institution. In addition, you can actually come to experience the effect of what you have learned and enjoy the fruit of what you have practiced. I have confidence that you all are capable of experiencing this fruition of Buddhahood. The heart of Mahayana teaching is the practice of experiencing bodhicitta, or the enlightened mind. Bodhicitta can be seen from two aspects--the aspiration to benefit oneself and to benefit others--but when you are truly doing the practice then you generate bodhicitta that includes both yourself and all other beings. As you are working in the world or accomplishing some task, if you do it with the intention of benefiting…
ONE EARLY MORNING [in 1980] His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa generously granted an interview to the readers of Densal. What follows is the text of that interview, word for word, as translated by Ngodup Tsering Burkhar. In it, His Holiness touches on many important aspects of spiritual practice, the Kagyu lineage, and life in the world today for the Dharma practitioner. It is a timely and most valuable teaching for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.
Densal: This is your third tour to America. Do you have any observations you would like to share about it, and about the growth of the Dharma in the United States? H.H.: The responsibility of the teacher is to always give the teachings. It doesn't matter that only a short time has passed, or a long time has passed; what matters is that the teachings are continuously given. Sometimes it may seem to be more appropriate to teach because most people are at leisure and have a lot of time, and it appears to be a good time to give teach…
The Gyalwang Karmapa graced KTD, his monastery in North America, with a short private visit toward the close of his international tour in July of 2017. Please enjoy the video celebrating this joyful occasion, along with the photos of his arrival, the traditional Tea and Rice Welcome Ceremony, and consecration of the new Stupa Project site.
The Gyalwang Karmapa Consecrates the Eight Auspicious Stupa Project at KTD (July 2017)
Today’s episode comes from the Gyalwang Karmapa’s maiden tour of Canada where he gave teachings all over the country. Many Canadian students had been waiting for years to hear him speak, and so it was a particularly special occasion.
This teaching is on the subject of meditation and how we can use this Buddhist practice to find inner freedom and bring about a more happy and beneficial life. The Karmapa approached the topic from the point of view of his own personal experience, and a wonderful, practical and sometimes humorous occasion unfolded over the course of the hour.
The talk is in Tibetan with an English translation and has been slightly edited for length and audio clarity.