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Gyalwang Karmapa begins teaching on Madhyamika

Monday 15th December, 2008

Each year, during the Karma Gunchoe, the Gyalwang Karmapa gives a dharma teaching. Although strictly part of the Karma Gunchoe and not part of Kagyu Monlam, many of the Kagyu Monlam staff as well as lay students of His Holiness and pilgrims attend these teachings. Consequently, for the first time, simultaneous translation into Chinese and English has been made available this year.

The teaching will be based primarily on The Lion’s Roar which Destroys Confusion, a text written by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje

In the first session, the Gyalwang Karmapa began by emphasizing the importance of motivation and intention these days, since modern methods of transport had made travel so much easier than in the past and great determination and perseverance were no longer necessary. Without correct motivation and intention, there would be no real benefit in travelling to Bodh Gaya on pilgrimage or to receive teachings. Further, it was important to concentrate on the great fortune of being able to be here rather than on any difficulties we might have experienced or be experiencing, and use the opportunity fully to carry out the twin dharma activities of study and practice.

His Holiness then discussed how different traditions may have evolved within Tibetan Buddhism, and the importance of studying the texts and viewpoints of different schools.

Finally, he gave a brief overview of the development of Madhyamika philosophy, beginning with the great Bhavaviveka who first used the term the “middle way” which avoids the extremes of eternalism and nihilism, in his treatise Lamp of Wisdom.

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