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History in the Making: The First Step Toward Full Ordination for Tibetan Buddhist Nuns


11 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

On December 28, 2016, in a historic letter sent to his Kagyu nunneries in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, the Karmapa officially announced that the actual process of establishing full ordination for nuns in the Karma Kamtsang tradition would begin. He stated that at the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, on the auspicious day of the full moon in the Month of Miracles, (the first month in the Tibetan calendar, falling on March 12, 2107), the shramaneri (getsulma) vows would be conferred on those nuns wishing to take full ordination.

Following much deliberation, a path to full ordination was established. It was decided that the nuns would hold these shramaneri vows for a year, after which they will take the shikshamana (gelopma or training) vows from Dharmaguptaka nuns and keep Read the rest of this article

Never Giving Up on Others


8 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

Today the Karmapa began with the section in the Ornament of Precious Liberation on the eight benefits of aspirational bodhichitta. The first benefit is that aspirational bodhichitta is the gateway into the mahayana. Whether or not we are a mahayana practitioner depends on having aspirational bodhichitta in our being. It is what distinguishes the mahayana path or indicates a truly compassionate person. 

And what makes compassion great is the scope of our resolve: we seek to benefit all infinite living beings without exception, to bring them happiness and free them of suffering. If we can shoulder this responsibility, our compassion is great; if not, we are just repeating empty words.

Aspirational bodhichitta is also the very basis for all the training of a bodhisattva. It is so powerful that Read the rest of this article

Ordained Nuns and Their History: The Karmapa Reports


7 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

In the second half of his teachings this morning, the Karmapa shared his research into the history of nuns and their status. He began by explaining the background of the name “Arya Kshema,” given to the Winter Dharma Gathering. He noted that among the disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha, there were his eight greatest male monastic disciples, known for their prajna (supreme wisdom) or miracles and so forth. Likewise, there were female master disciples who were greatest at miracles or known for their prajna and other outstanding qualities. Arya Kshema is one of these and she is described in the Sutra of the Wise and Foolish as the greatest in wisdom and confidence, so the Winter Dharma Gathering is named after her.

“In giving this name,” the Karmapa explained, “we are also Read the rest of this article

Keeping the Bodhisattva’s Promise

Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India

After welcoming everyone for the second day of the 4th Arya Kshema, the Karmapa continued with the discussion of the ceremony of the bodhisattva vows from Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation. Having completed the discussion of the tradition of the profound view, that of Manjushri to Nagarjuna, he elaborated upon the tradition of vast conduct, the tradition passed down from Maitreya to Asanga and known as Master Serlingpa’s tradition.

The Karmapa delineated the two parts of this tradition: aspiration of the bodhicitta vow and engagement of the bodhicitta vow. He focused on the actual ceremony of the aspiration of bodhicitta and explained that before the aspirant takes the vow, he or she must contemplate whether they are ready to receive the vow. The Karmapa explained that the Read the rest of this article

The Arya Kshema Winter Gathering for Nuns Begins in Bodhgaya

The Main Shrine Hall, Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
March 6, 2017

On this first day of the 4th Arya Kshema Winter Gathering, the Karmapa welcomed 560 nuns from nine different shedras (scholastic colleges) and their teachers, along with large groups of nuns from Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, and China as well as a few from the West plus the community of laywomen. From March 6 to 18, the shedra nuns will be participating in the thirteen days of teachings, debate, and ritual ceremonies.

The Karmapa noted that there are two special aspects to this year’s event. First of all, the nuns from seven shedras will be competing for the first time. The judges will be three Geshemas, nuns who have recently passed all the exams after years of intense study of the major treatises and received the equivalent of the Geshe degree from His Holiness the Read the rest of this article