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Recalling the Benefits of Bodhicitta


March 15, 2017 – Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
The Karmapa continued speaking on the topic of the precepts of aspirational bodhicitta from chapter ten of Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation, focusing on the precept of recalling the benefits of bodhicitta. He noted that this precept and not giving up on others ensure that our bodhicitta does not wane and that we do not forget it in this life.

The benefits of bodhicitta are listed in the Gandavyuha Sutra (Marvelous Array Sutra) and also in the root text and autocommentary of the Lamp for the Path to Awakening by Jowo Atisha. In the latter text, it is explained that there are two hundred and thirty similes for the benefits of bodhicittaas presented in the Gandavyuha Sutra, and they are summarized into four different categories: (1) the wellspring of benefits for oneself, (2) the Read the rest of this article

The Karmapa Unfolds His Thoughts about the Bhikshuni Vows


March 15, 2017 – Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
On the full moon day, the Tibetan 15th (March 12, 2107), there was a ceremony to celebrate the nuns who took the shramaneri vows at the Mahabodhi Stupa. The Karmapa reprised his talk there, as he wished to say more about his thinking on issues related to full ordination for nuns.

“As I have mentioned before, in Tibetan history during the time of the Dharma king Trisong Deutsen when the first ordained Sanghas were established, there were six or seven princes who went forth and the monastic community was established. Previous to this, we can probably say that there were monastics in Tibet, as monks from China and India stayed at Samye; however, there were probably no Tibetans who were ordained before then, though this needs more research. That said, it is clear that when the first Sangha was Read the rest of this article

Never Giving Up on Sentient Beings


March 14, 2017 – Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
After a day off for the holiday of Holi, the Karmapa returned to teaching chapter ten on the “Precepts for Generating Aspiring Bodhicitta” from Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation. The Karmapa focused on the five precepts of aspirational bodhichitta. One of these precepts, never mentally abandoning sentient beings, is the means of guaranteeing that our bodhicitta does not get lost. The Karmapa noted that our achieving the qualities of the Buddha comes down to whether or not we have given up on sentient beings.

This section also treats the causes for losing aspirational bodhicitta. For instance, if our aim is incompatible with the Mahayana, then we will lose aspirational bodhicitta. To counter this, we must have the wish to benefit others and the wish for great Read the rest of this article

History in the Making: The First Step Toward Full Ordination for Tibetan Buddhist Nuns


11 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

At the Mahabodhi Stupa, it is the morning of the first full moon in the Tibetan year. In the shade of the Bodhi Tree, nineteen nuns sit near the Vajra Seat, site of the Buddha’s enlightenment. On the path to full ordination, eighteen took the shramaneri vows in the same place the day before, and one remains to take them on this auspicious fifteenth day of the Month of Miracles.

Soon the Karmapa arrives at the main gate, and led by a senior nun carrying a long incense holder and wearing the yellow cockade hat, he walked straight down the red carpet leading into the main temple and its famous statue of the meditating Buddha. Inside, the Karmapa offered shimmering golden robes to the Buddha along with alms bowls full of jars of honey and fruits.

The procession then moved outside and around the great Read the rest of this article

Never Giving Up on Others


8 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

Today the Karmapa began with the section in the Ornament of Precious Liberation on the eight benefits of aspirational bodhichitta. The first benefit is that aspirational bodhichitta is the gateway into the mahayana. Whether or not we are a mahayana practitioner depends on having aspirational bodhichitta in our being. It is what distinguishes the mahayana path or indicates a truly compassionate person. 

And what makes compassion great is the scope of our resolve: we seek to benefit all infinite living beings without exception, to bring them happiness and free them of suffering. If we can shoulder this responsibility, our compassion is great; if not, we are just repeating empty words.

Aspirational bodhichitta is also the very basis for all the training of a bodhisattva. It is so powerful that Read the rest of this article