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Gyalwang Karmapa Begins Teachings on Nagarjuna’s “A Letter to A Friend”

December 18, 2009 – Mahabodhi Stupa, Bodhgaya

2nd Annual Teaching for Foreign Students: Day 1

Today His Holiness began his long-awaited annual teachings for foreign students. For three days at Tergar Monastery in Bodhgaya, His Holiness will be giving a commentary on Nagarjuna’s “Letter to a Friend”- a text mainly focusing on the Six Perfections. In acknowledgment of the large proportion of the audience who are practicing Buddhism as “householders”, His Holiness explained that this text was addressed to a king, and thus contains practice advice that is particularly appropriate for laypeople. The number of attendees wishing to receive teachings from His Holiness exceeded the capacity of Tergar’s immense assembly hall, and some latecomers could be seen listening intently from outside the gompa.

The main topic for today’s morning session was Refuge, while the afternoon teachings were devoted to the practice of the Ten Virtues. The afternoon session closed with a question-and-answer period.

Speaking about the practice of Dharma in general, His Holiness said that we need to grasp the words and meaning of the Dharma, and that our Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Presides over Five-Day Vinaya Conference

December 13, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

At His Holiness’ request, this year’s Winter Debate Session includes a five-day conference entirely devoted to the vinaya, or monastic discipline. In preparation for the event, in the fall of this year, each of the Kagyu monasteries had sent delegates to Dharamsala for a period of intense vinaya study under His Holiness’ direct guidance. Today and over the next four days, those khenpos will be taking turns making presentations and leading question-and-answer sessions devoted to particular issues related to the vinaya. Read more

Live Broadcast of 27th Kagyu Monlam: Begins Dec 20, 2009

The entire 27th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo will be broadcast live on www.kagyumonlam.tv starting from December 20th, 2009 until January 1, 2010.

The first broadcast will be of Dharma Teachings by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa on “A Letter to a Friend”. Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Teaches on “How to Handle Conflicts Among the Different Vows”

December 8, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

Teachings, Day Five:

Following yesterday’s debate-style discussion of the various schools’ views on the three vows, His Holiness began by commenting that it is crucial that we have a clear understanding as to what our own position is and what that of others is. When we sketch out a range of positions, Gyalwang Karmapa noted that sometimes people get confused and begin mixing the view of our school with that of others. The great scholars of the past composed treatises that explore crucial points, refuting others’ views and establishing their own, in order to make clear for us the reasoning behind their position. He observed that such texts often begin by defeating the views of others, and may do so using what can strike us as harsh speech.

If we find ourselves put off by the strong language scholars use in negating the views of others, as we study these texts it is important that we bear in mind what their purpose was. When we read the compositions of the Eighth Karmapa, for example, when he argues powerfully against others, we need to keep in mind that the point is to cut through wrong views, rather than to find fault with others. Such debates were waged among great scholar-yogis who stated their positions strongly Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Explores Differing Philosophical Positions of “The Nature of Vows”

December 7, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

Teachings, Day Four:

In today’s teaching, His Holiness moved deep into philosophical territory, exploring a range of positions on the nature of vows. The main question raised was whether the three types of vow are one in nature or distinct. His Holiness’ skills in debate were much in evidence as he pitted the positions of the Vaibhasika school, who identify vows as a particular type of physical form, against that of Shantideva, who describes vows as the resolve to abstain. Gyalwang Karmapa further surveyed the views of major Indian scholars as to precisely how the vows co-exist within a single person at the same time. Turning next to presentations by Tibetan scholars, he decisively refuted the stance of the great Sakya scholar Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen, who holds that the three vows are one in nature but the lower vows transform when the higher vow is taken. His Holiness further tackled a second Tibetan view that maintains that the lower vows become parts, or aspects, of the higher vow. Adopting the position staked out by the Seventh Karmapa Chödrak Gyatso, he demonstrated the fallacy of this view, on the basis that if lower vows were parts of higher vows, then actions damaging the lower vows would render the higher vows Read the rest of this article