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The Common Preliminaries are the Foundation of Dharma Practice – Day 6: Teachings on One Hundred Short Instructions

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6 December, 2014, Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya
The theme of karma cause and effect begun yesterday continued.

The first meditation concerned all aspects of karma cause and effect combined.

The meditation begins with a reflection on how, lifetime after lifetime, we have clung to our bodies, our possessions, our families and friends, ignoring impermanence and the certainty of death, only to be reborn again in the lower realms, not knowing how to free ourselves from the prison of samsara. Having accepted that our lives are impermanent, we should then use contemplation and meditation to develop certitude that karmic cause and effect is infallible.

When we consider our own self-clinging, we should contemplate how we have been deceived by this mistaken view from beginningless time, and then resolve to completely eliminate self-cherishing.

The text moved on to the final contemplation in the four common preliminaries, that of the defects of samsara.

Mikyö Dorje’s text details the three types of Read the rest of this article

The Law of Karma Cause and Effect is Inescapable – Day 5: Teachings on One Hundred Short Instructions

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3 December, 2014, Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya
Hundreds of monks and laypeople packed into the shrine room to listen to the Gyalwang Karmapa continue his transmission of the chapter on Vast and Profound Light: Instructions on the Two Types of Bodhichitta According to the Founders of the Two Traditions . As they waited, they chanted Karmapa Khyenno. Then the sound of the gyalins heralded the Karmapa’s descent from his quarters on the roof of the monastery and an expectant hush fell.

Having prostrated three times, the Karmapa mounted the throne, and after recitation of the prayer requesting the teaching and the short mandala offering, the teachings recommenced.

Yesterday’s focus had been that having realised the priceless opportunity we have in our precious human life, and knowing that this life is impermanent, we should be inspired to practice Dharma wholeheartedly without delay.

Today’s oral transmission begins with a further meditation on impermanence. All composites are impermanent, so our bodies, the moment they Read the rest of this article

The Time of Death is Uncertain So Practice Now! Day 4: Teachings on One Hundred Short Instructions

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2 December, 2014, Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya
Gyalwang Karmapa continued the section in the text on the theme of death and impermanence, the second contemplation of the four common preliminaries. Today’s transmission began with a powerful evocation of the moment of death. Death is inevitable and cannot be escaped, however wealthy or powerful we are. Life is short and the time of death is uncertain, what can we have confidence in? Only the Dharma.

The text continues with various meditations on death and impermanence, followed by examples from different Buddhist texts and namthar which reinforce this view.
Life is like people meeting at a weekly market; the next day everyone is gone. The only thing which will accompany us at death is the Dharma. Thus we need to supplicate the Gurus, be diligent in our dharma practice, and devote our lives to virtue, as a matter of urgency.

A story from the life of the 11th century Kadampa master and meditator, Kharak Gomchung, provides an example of the attitude a dharma practitioner should Read the rest of this article

Commemorating World Disability Day

2014.12.03
3 December, 2014
In commemoration of World Disability Day 2014, 30 children with learning disabilities were invited to Tergar Monastery for a special audience with the Gyalwang Karmapa.

All are students at a newly-established unit on the campus of the local Bodhi Tree School. On the very day that the unit opened, they came with their mothers and teachers to receive the Karmapa’s blessings. Regular students from Class IX at the school accompanied them. Most of the children, who come from the villages around Bodhgaya, are Dalits from very deprived backgrounds
His Holiness smiled at the children, welcomed everyone and gave a short talk.

“Your human life is very important,” he began. ” I offer prayers that all of you may have great happiness in this life.”
He went on to say that all human beings faced difficulties and hardships in life, but that these children would have particular challenges. However, as Bodhgaya was the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment, he hoped that they too would be able to pass on Read the rest of this article

There is Not a Moment to Lose Day 3: Teachings on One Hundred Short Instructions

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1 December, 2014
This chapter Vast and Profound Light: Instructions on the Two Types of Bodhichitta began with the fundamental importance of Guru Yoga on the path to enlightenment, followed by instructions on the first of the four meditation topics which form the common preliminary practices of Tibetan Buddhism. Their purpose is to ‘turn the mind to dharma’, and the first topic is the precious human life.

In yesterday’s discourse, the 17th Karmapa explained how a human life in and of itself is not necessarily a precious human life. Many people face obstacles or lack the conditions needed for practising dharma. Indeed, it is a rare achievement to attain a precious human life, like a blind sea turtle who struggles to the surface once in a hundred years and yet manages to put his head through a yoke floating on the ocean swell.

Having established the difficulty of gaining a precious human body with all the ‘leisures’ and ‘resources’ that are needed in order to practise the dharma, the text now reflects on how easy it Read the rest of this article