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Live Broadcast of 27th Kagyu Monlam: Begins Dec 20, 2009

The entire 27th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo will be broadcast live on www.kagyumonlam.tv starting from December 20th, 2009 until January 1, 2010.

The first broadcast will be of Dharma Teachings by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa on “A Letter to a Friend”. Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Teaches on “How to Handle Conflicts Among the Different Vows”

December 8, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

Teachings, Day Five:

Following yesterday’s debate-style discussion of the various schools’ views on the three vows, His Holiness began by commenting that it is crucial that we have a clear understanding as to what our own position is and what that of others is. When we sketch out a range of positions, Gyalwang Karmapa noted that sometimes people get confused and begin mixing the view of our school with that of others. The great scholars of the past composed treatises that explore crucial points, refuting others’ views and establishing their own, in order to make clear for us the reasoning behind their position. He observed that such texts often begin by defeating the views of others, and may do so using what can strike us as harsh speech.

If we find ourselves put off by the strong language scholars use in negating the views of others, as we study these texts it is important that we bear in mind what their purpose was. When we read the compositions of the Eighth Karmapa, for example, when he argues powerfully against others, we need to keep in mind that the point is to cut through wrong views, rather than to find fault with others. Such debates were waged among great scholar-yogis who stated their positions strongly Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Explores Differing Philosophical Positions of “The Nature of Vows”

December 7, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

Teachings, Day Four:

In today’s teaching, His Holiness moved deep into philosophical territory, exploring a range of positions on the nature of vows. The main question raised was whether the three types of vow are one in nature or distinct. His Holiness’ skills in debate were much in evidence as he pitted the positions of the Vaibhasika school, who identify vows as a particular type of physical form, against that of Shantideva, who describes vows as the resolve to abstain. Gyalwang Karmapa further surveyed the views of major Indian scholars as to precisely how the vows co-exist within a single person at the same time. Turning next to presentations by Tibetan scholars, he decisively refuted the stance of the great Sakya scholar Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen, who holds that the three vows are one in nature but the lower vows transform when the higher vow is taken. His Holiness further tackled a second Tibetan view that maintains that the lower vows become parts, or aspects, of the higher vow. Adopting the position staked out by the Seventh Karmapa Chödrak Gyatso, he demonstrated the fallacy of this view, on the basis that if lower vows were parts of higher vows, then actions damaging the lower vows would render the higher vows Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Visits The Mahabodhi Stupa

December 7, 2009 – Bodhgaya

This is always the first major public engagement of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s winter pilgrimage to Bodhgaya. Accompanied by his entourage, His Holiness was received by the Secretary of the Mahabodhi Temple Committee, Mr Tenzin Namzey, and the Monk-in-Charge the Venerable Bande Chalinda.

Having completed an outer circuit of the temple grounds, His Holiness went directly down the main steps to the central shrine room within the Mahabodhi Stupa to pay homage. Having prostrated three times, he made offerings to the golden image of the Lord Buddha, housed within the inner shrine , and chanted prayers. As is the custom, the offerings included a new set of golden silk robes for the Buddha image. His Holiness then circumambulated the innermost circuit.

His Holiness moved on to visit the 5th International Pali Tripitaka Chanting Council Ceremony, which is taking place under the Bodhi Tree. Theravada Buddhists from nine countries – Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam– are represented. Each country has an area allocated at a point along the middle circuit which runs outside the stone palisade separating the Mahabodhi Temple from the temple grounds. Most have erected tented pavilions laid out and Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang KarmapA Teaches On “A Dharma Vast Enough to Include the Whole World”

December 6, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

Teachings, Day Three:

His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa today tackled a number of complex debate issues, clearing the way for the examination of the main topic of this year’s winter debate teachings—how one person can keep all three types of vow. At the same time, he emphasized that the optimal Buddhist practitioner is one that does hold and preserve all three types of vow—pratimoksha, bodhisattva and tantric.

First, Gyalwang Karmapa explored the major points of contention that arise in defining and classifying pratimoksha and bodhisattva vows. Some texts mention traditions of conferring pratimoksha vows according to the Mahayana textual tradition, and His Holiness, who is fluent in Chinese and conversant with the Chinese Buddhist canon, noted that the Chinese canon preserves a number of texts that describe how to do so. By contrast, he pointed out, the Tibetan canon contains only scattered references and instances of such ritual texts, an example of which would be the Mahayana sojong vows offered each morning during the Kagyu Monlam.

Following the text, His Holiness moved on to a discussion of the ways the different types of vow are conferred, and how they are cancelled, or lost. He stressed that taking a Read the rest of this article