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Third Session of Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teaching on Madhyamika

Wednesday 17th December, 2008

Madhyamika is noted as being a very difficult area of study, yet, each day, the number of people attending the teaching has grown, and this prompted His Holiness to tell a funny story. Looking around the large assembly hall at Tergar, he told how a Geshe had gone abroad to deliver a teaching on the Middle Way approach. The first day there was a good number of people present. The following day there were fewer, and this continued until the final day, when the Geshe found himself addressing an empty room. His Holiness concluded that this was definitely not the case at Tergar.

Gyalwang Karmapa began by relating the life of Aryadeva, comparing the Chinese and Tibetan versions of his life story. Aryadeva is famous for his “400 Verses”, and for his skills in debating with non-Buddhists. According to some sources, he came from a royal family in Sri Lanka, studied with Nagarjuna in South India, and became his direct disciple.

His Holiness then returned to the previous day’s discussion of what it means when the Middle Way school says it does not make any assertions of its own while making assertions in others’ frames of reference . Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teaching on Madhyamika Continues

Tuesday 16th December, 2008

The assembly hall of Tergar Monastery was packed with monks and laypeople to listen to the second part of Gyalwang Karmapa’s teachings which continued this afternoon. This is only a brief report on the session. It may be possible later to provide a fuller report from the transcription of the Tibetan.

Because of Nagarjuna’s importance in establishing the Middle Way school of Buddhist philosophy Gyalwang Karmapa began with an overview of Nagarjuna’s life. Accounts of his life exist in both Chinese and Tibetan sources. The earliest Chinese source, written approximately one hundred years after Nagarjuna’s death, predates Tibetan sources. It seems he was born in South India into a Brahmin family, and studied Buddhism in South India. After many years of practice he reached an understanding of emptiness. There are also references to prophecies about Nagarjuna, but there is a need to exercise caution when citing prophecies, because the true intention and meaning of a prophetic text can only be disclosed by its author. Read more

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 Read the rest of this article

The 12th Annual Kagyu Annual Winter Program of Philosophy and Debate Commences

Friday 12th December, 2008

In the morning of the 12th of December, the Gyalwang Karmapa completed his first public engagement, visiting the Mahbodhi Stupa. He was greeted by the President of the Mahabodhi Management Committee, who presented His Holiness with a traditional Tibetan khatag. He then went to the Mahabodhi stupa main temple and into the shrine hall where he prostrated three times, offered Mandala prayers and recited the Praise of the Twelve Deeds of Lord Buddha. He then completed two circumambulations: one inner and one outer circuit.

The visit to the Mahabodhi Stupa was followed by a visit to the Bhutanese Temple, where His Holiness inspected the work in progress on the butter sculptures for the Kagyu Monlam. The sculptures are being prepared by a group of monks and nuns, chosen for their expertise from several Kagyu monasteries and nunneries.

In the afternoon the Gyalwang Karmapa presided over an assembly of the participants in the 12th Annual Karmae Gunchoe. He spoke about the origins of debate in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and its importance. He encouraged all the monks attending the Karmae Gunchoe to have sincere Read the rest of this article

His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa Arrives in Bodhgaya, where the Buddha Attained Enlightenment

December 11, 2008

His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa arrived at Tergar Monastery at dusk. Many devotees, local Tibetans and six hundred monks have been waiting for hours eagerly to have a glimpse and blessing of His Holiness. He arrived from Delhi via Patna to Bodhgaya. This is the beginning of his annual winter tour. Read more