Over 500 Buddhists from across India recently converged on Gyuto Monastery to receive a teaching from the Gyalwang Karmapa. The Nalanda Shiksha group, representing Buddhist associations from throughout the country, met with the Gyalwang Karmapa on the eve of their annual teachings with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
Speaking through a Hindi translator, the Gyalwang Karmapa told the packed room that it was very important for each individual to make their connection with the Buddha dharma on a personal level, rather than just following along with traditions and customs.
“If you truly know why you are doing your practice,” he told the group, “then you understand how deep the relationship is between your practice and your life, and how your practice is helping you to live a good life. It’s very important that you know and understand what you are doing, and what the goal of practice is. The danger is that if religion becomes just a tradition or a custom that you follow, then you don’t see the benefits of practice on a personal level.”
Exploring the Indian roots of Buddhism with the group, the Gyalwang Karmapa also reminded them of their good fortune that Buddhism was born in their own country.
“These days many people from around the world come to India searching for meaning in their lives,” he said. “They come looking for more wisdom and knowledge. But Indians, the people who live here, don’t have to go anywhere because India is the source of wisdom. Since you already have all these things here, you have to consider this ancestral knowledge as a precious treasure, like a wish-fulfilling jewel. You have to know this treasure, because it is yours.”