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27th Kagyu Monlam Opens in Bodhgaya – A Theme of “Gratitude”

December 24, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

As His Holiness moved through the dawn mist yesterday to take his place under the graceful branches of the Bodhi Tree, the long-awaited 27th Kagyu Monlam was officially underway. The theme for this year’s prayer gathering is “gratitude,” and this theme was surely reflected in the hearts of the thousands of disciples who managed to bring together the conditions to be present in Bodhgaya after this year of economic turmoil.

The Gyalwang Karmapa opened Kagyu Monlam by offering the 24-hour Mahayana Sojong precepts to the immense gathering of monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. His Holiness has noted in the past that aspirations made by men and women together are more powerful and carry greater effects, as are the aspirations made by people holding vows. As such, the Mahayana Sojong ceremony is a particularly appropriate way to open Kagyu Monlam, since it allows monastic and lay to observe pure ethical discipline and so to strengthen the power of the prayers they make throughout the day.

During the second session of the day, His Holiness continued the reading transmission of The Life of Milarepa that he had begun in previous years. This year he will conclude that transmission, and in honor of that, the Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teachings on Nagarjuna’s “Letter to A Friend” – Detailed Report

Setting the Scene – Early Morning, Tergar Monastery

Session One : Sunday AM

The following summary of the morning’s teachings is based on Ringu Trulku Rinpoche’s translation from Tibetan into English, except where the Gyalwang Karmapa spoke directly in English.

The teachings should have begun promptly at nine o’clock. Gyalwang Karmapa was seated expectantly on his majestically high, intricately carved and gilded throne. The sound crew was confident. Hours of preparation had gone into setting up the sound system: microphones, speakers, and the FM translation transmission system. At the final dress rehearsal everything had worked perfectly, but now suddenly, it took on alife of its own and began emitting high-pitched squeals, squeaks and whines. The audience sat patiently while the sound crew dashed back and forth, fretting over banks of equipment, antennae, cables and microphones. His Holiness smiled, pulled faces, and tentatively tapped his microphone. Finally the problems were resolved, and the teachings were under way.

Having greeted everyone warmly, Gyalwang Karmapa explained why he had chosen this particular text – Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend – because, not only did it thoroughly cover the Read the rest of this article

Extraordinary Teachings Come to an End

December 22, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

2nd Annual Teaching for Foreign Students: Day 3

An extraordinary series of teachings by the Gyalwang Karmapa drew to its reluctant close today, as His Holiness completed the oral transmission of Nagarjuna’s “Letter to a Friend” (Suhrllekha) and selected verses for which he paid special attention. During the final morning session, his holiness offered strategies on how to use familiar Buddhist topics in fresh new ways. He suggested that there are ways that the contemplation of death and impermanence can generate a joyful appreciation for the value of our lives. His Holiness shared his own view of how meditation on Emptiness offers a direct support for the generation of compassion.

Included in His Holiness’ exquisite teachings this morning, he spoke of the Eight Worldly Concerns: of wanting praise, fame, material goods, and sensual comforts; and not wanting the contrary. His Holiness commented that, in general, there is nothing wrong with having a certain measure of comfort, praise and so on. The problem comes, he said, when we exaggerate their importance, feeling euphoric when good things happen and astounded or aghast when bad things happen. When we experience wild ups and downs in response to external Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Launches Official Website for Environmental Protection: Khoryug.com

December 22, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

This afternoon, in the packed assembly hall of Tergar Monastery, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa formally launched www.khoryug.com, a Tibetan and English-language website dedicated to environmental protection. The website offers educational resources on environmental protection, news on environmental projects underway in Kagyu monasteries and nunneries, and offers a forum for people interested in the environment. Khoryug.com forms part of a larger series of projects that His Holiness has undertaken to protect the earth for future generations, goals for which will eventually restore the natural environment of Tibet and the Himalayan areas. As such, khoryug.com follows the emerging pattern of the activities of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, to work for the well-being of others in ways that are both immeasurably vast and yet eminently practical.

The event opened with a presentation by Dekila Chungyalpa, Director of the Greater Mekong area for the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) – the single largest organization devoted to environmental protection in the world. Dekila has served His Holiness as coordinator for his Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Speaks to Students’ Minds & Hearts

December 21, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

2nd Annual Teaching for Foreign Students: Day 2

An audience approaching 2,000 people shared four extraordinary hours today with His Holiness, as the teachings on Nagarjuna’s “Letter to a Friend” continued into their second day. His Holiness’ exceptional range as a teacher was on full display as he mixed formal commentary on the verses of the text, with heart advice for working with difficult emotions, intermittently lightening the mood with humorous anecdotes that had the entire assembly hall ringing with laughter. His Holiness spoke directly to students’ minds and hearts, and many were visibly moved when he described his own thoughts on what it means for students look to him as their root lama.

In encouraging students to confront their own afflictions, Gyalwang Karmapa paid particular attention to stinginess, anger and pride. Speaking of anger, His Holiness pointed to the irony of the fact that when we are angry at our enemies, we are actually accomplishing their aims for them. This is so because anger most harms the person who harbors it in their mind, and since our enemies are seeking to harm us, Read the rest of this article