Day Two: Karmapa 900 Delhi Gyalwang Karmapa Teaches on “Ancient Wisdom, Modern World”
December 24, 2011 – Delhi.
Day Two of Karmapa 900 Delhi offered a vivid demonstration of Ancient Wisdom applied to the Modern World. The day’s program was entirely devoted to Dharma teachings by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
Through the practice of recognizable reincarnation that the First Karmapa founded, for 900 years, the Karmapas have kept alive and fresh all the wisdom of the Dharma lineages they hold from India. The achievement of Dusum Khyenpa was visible in all its glory today, as the audience witnessed the wisdom carried by the Karmapa lineage displayed in a new form ideally suited to our historical moment. The Karmapa of the 21st century—the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa—is entrusted with delivering Buddhist teachings in a way that keeps them fully relevant to our modern times.
During the morning session, His Holiness spoke of the history of the Karmapa lineage, sharing seldom-recounted incidents from the life of the First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa. He also spoke candidly of his own experience bearing the noble name of Karmapa. (See excerpt below.) He exhorted the audience to embrace fully the opportunity to transform their minds in everyday life. “The practice of dharma is about making a fresh change with our mind,” the Gyalwang Karmapa said. “We have to give our mind something new to do, and not just allow it to follow its old habitual patterns.” The afternoon session comprised practical instructions in how to do so.
Meanwhile, in the global spirit of the day, the teachings were webcast with translation into 10 different languages—English, Hindi, Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Polish, Russian, Korean and Vietnamese. Over 1,000 viewers watched the webcast from computers all around the world.
Lunch was offered to all participants during the break between the morning and afternoon sessions, with the Gyalwang Karmapa joining them on the lawn to share the meal.
Disciples of His Holiness in the audience commented that his teachings during Karmapa 900 Delhi had a special quality of directness and intimacy that allowed his words to penetrate deeply into their hearts.
A brief excerpt from His Holiness’ teaching on Day Two of Karmapa 900 Delhi:
“In terms of my experience of being someone who is identified as the Karmapa, I’ve faced many hardships and challenges. Actually, sometimes in the context of 21st-century dialogues about freedom, there are people who say that tulkus, or reincarnate lamas, aren’t accorded their full human rights as human beings because they are forced to be this particular person and are forced to take on this particular role and thus cannot follow their own personal dreams. Even some young tulkus have said that they feel that they are not being given all of the personal freedoms that they deserve as human beings.
“From my own personal perspective, I feel that I’ve really gone through a lot of hardships, probably more than other tulkus or reincarnate lamas have… But I simply regard the opportunities that I have right now as a positive, precious opportunity to serve many people. Through the situation that I’m in now, I have the chance to extend love, care and benefit to many sentient beings, to help others…. I see the situation I’m in as an opportunity to take the happiness and welfare of others as my highest priority. I’ve been able in this way to really value the happiness of others and care about the sufferings that other people and sentient beings go through. In the future I hope to continue to use this opportunity to the greatest extent possible to bring benefit to others.
“Of course, sometimes this involves disappointment. I think of vast schemes to benefit sentient beings and my hopes aren’t always accomplished in the way I set out to accomplish them. When that happens I find the most skillful thing to do sometimes is to just reduce my expectations. You can lower your expectations and have more simple goals to benefit others that you can be contented with. In this way, instead of coming up with some vast scheme to benefit a really extensive number of sentient beings, sometimes I simplify my aspirations and say, ‘I’m just going to care about others. I’m just going to extend my love to others so that other beings in the world can at least think to themselves, “There is one person in the world that cares about me.”‘
“In this way, even if I’m not able to accomplish something magnificent and grand, I will at least be able to continue extending my love to others and making a meaningful connection of kindness and care with others.
“This is the way that I view this opportunity that I have, and I think that all of you have a similar opportunity… The opportunity that you have doesn’t have exactly the same shape and name as the one I have, but nevertheless I think that your opportunity to help the world and other sentient beings is quite similar. We all have the precious support of a human body and the precious faculty of being able to distinguish what is harmful from what is beneficial—what is to be adopted from what is to be rejected. Therefore, because we have this human body and this discernment, we all have the opportunity to benefit a great number of sentient beings in a very vast way… if we really put this opportunity into practice. If we do that, all of us will lead a good and meaningful life.
“Being identified as the Karmapa is an opportunity to serve others. So if we set the name aside, we can see that in this sense, in reality, you are the Karmapa too! All of you. It’s not just my individual responsibility to be the Karmapa, helping the world and benefiting others. It is the responsibility of all of us.”