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Chöd Puja: Celebrating the Essence of Enlightened Female Wisdom

2014.01.29 Chöd prayer
29 January 2014 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

In an historic occasion coming at the end of the first Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, nuns from six Kagyu nunneries performed an elaborate Chöd ritual, known as A String of Jewels, presided over by the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa.

While the Gyalwang Karmapa has been enthusiastic about Chöd practice from a young age, this was his first ever opportunity to publicly perform the Chöd puja—an opportunity he’d been looking forward to very much.

Since the time of the 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, who wrote the first commentary on Chöd and who also compiled the text of this puja, the Karmapas have had a strong connection with the Chöd practice. Historically they are holders of the direct Chöd lineage, based on the Indian Buddhist deity Prajñāpāramitā, who is known as both the mother of all the Buddhas and the embodiment of wisdom.

Chöd, which means ‘to sever or cut’ in Tibetan, ultimately aims to cut through the ignorance of Read the rest of this article

Teachings on the Jewel Ornament of Liberation

2014.01.29
25-28 January 2014 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

Throughout eight days of teachings during the inaugural Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering the Gyalwang Karmapa covered the first five chapters of Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation. Beginning with developing a deep appreciation of our precious human life, through to the importance of contemplating impermanence, and understanding the manifold sufferings of samsara, he taught the gathering daily—sometimes twice daily—in a rain of pure dharma.

The enlightened wisdom of the Kagyu founding master Gampopa flowed effortlessly out through the Gyalwang Karmapa’s own enlightened speech as he progressed through the text, which is known as the earliest Lamrim text on the stages of the path to enlightenment.

The Gyalwang Karmapa spent several sessions exploring the topic of the spiritual master in detail, and the importance of correctly relying upon and entrusting oneself to a qualified teacher. The qualities to look for in a spiritual master include great wisdom, compassion that Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teaching During the 1st Arya Kshema Nuns’ Gathering – Why Bhikshuni Ordination is Important


21-24 January 2014 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

Women monastics are indispensible

During the historic first Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering for Kagyu nuns the Gyalwang Karmapa offered eight days of dharma discourses, interspersing his teachings with frank and well-researched advice on the important issue of full-nun’s ordination in Tibet (known in Sanskrit as ‘Bhikshuni’ ordination and in Tibetan as ‘Gelongma’ ordination).

Citing little-known textual descriptions, the Gyalwang Karmapa related accounts of thriving nuns’ communities—including many fully ordained nuns—in central areas of Tibet several centuries ago. However, such communities have disappeared and today there is no full ordination offered to nuns within the Tibetan tradition.

It is important for us to once again have a community of fully ordained nuns now, the Gyalwang Karmapa unequivocally said, stressing that only with the presence of fully ordained women is the Buddhist community complete.

Teaching primarily to around 207 nuns from six Kagyu nunneries who took part in the Arya Kshema Gathering, Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Attends Bhutanese Cham Dance

2014.01.26
January 26, 2014

Despite his heavy teaching schedule, the Gyalwang Karmapa slipped away during the lunch break to visit the Cham dancing at the Royal Bhutanese Monastery, Druk Ngawang Thubten Chokling.  The monastery is the seat of the Shabdrung of Bhutan, and belongs to the Drukpa Kagyu tradition.

As His Holiness’ car approached, a line of leaping performers danced out to greet him, forming a unique, Bhutanese-style serbang or ceremonial procession to escort his car through the welcome gate into the monastery grounds and to the temple, where the Abbot and senior monks were waiting for him.

Entering the three-storey temple, the Karmapa first lit two butter lamps as offerings on the altar, and prostrated three times.  At the request of the Abbot, he then consecrated a new Buddha statue, before sitting down on the throne to receive a kusungthug mandala offering, presented by the abbot and senior monks, accompanied by the mother of the young incarnation of the Shabdrung.

His Holiness’ next duty was to Read the rest of this article

Celebrating Republic Day 2014

2014.01.26 Republic day

January 26, 2014

At 9.30am, during the morning tea break, His Holiness momentarily put aside his teachings on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation and went outside for a flag-raising ceremony to celebrate Republic Day. Hundreds of nuns, monks, and laypeople crowded after him to watch. And across India, the peoples of the world’s largest democracy celebrated its 65th Republic Day in similar ways.

On the paved path between the gated entrance to the monastery and the main shrine hall, more than a hundred young monks with their teachers lined up in straight lines and stood to attention.  Smartly kitted in khaki, Army security stood to attention, presenting arms with their automatic rifles. Indian security police, standing straight and tall, saluted. His Holiness stood and watched respectfully, as Bo Gongkar Rinpoche raised the Indian national flag. Emblazoned with Emperor Ashoka’s 24-spoke chakra wheel in navy blue, the tricolour flag —with saffron, green and white panels— Read the rest of this article