NEWS & CURRENT ACTIVITES

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Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teachings on the Lion’s Roar that Destroys Confusion

Saturday 20th December, 2008

Displaying both erudition and a sense of humour, Gyalwang Karmapa continued his transmission and exposition of the text. He dealt with two new issues. The first was whether or not it was valid to rank the Consequentialist Middle Way School and the Autonomous Middle Way School, holding one as a higher view than the other. The second was with regard to rangtong (self-empty) and shentong (other-empty). His Holiness explored the historical context of the debate between the proponents of rangtong and shentong, the acceptance of the shentong view in the Khamtsang Kagyu, and the role of the Jonang School.

Gyalwang Karmapa then moved on to highlight the interrelationship between study and practice. He stressed that all the texts, both sutra and tantra, were written or taught for the purpose of practice and there was not one single word in the canon that was not a quintessential instruction to bring us to awakening. Even the commentarial treatises were written for this purpose.

Practice without the study which brings understanding and study without the intention of informing practice would not bring us to awakening. Faith was necessary Read the rest of this article

Updated Information on the Akshobhya Retreat

Friday 19th December, 2008

Following some changes, the retreat began on Friday 19th December, a day later than originally planned, and will last for fifteen days, concluding on 2nd January 2009. There are 16 monks, drawn from all the Kagyu monasteries, in retreat. The retreat is a preparation for the Akshobhya Ritual to be held on the 9th and 10th January 2009, during the 26th Kagyu Monlam. This year’s ritual will be especially dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the typhoon which hit Burma, the March disturbances and demonstrations in Tibet, the Sichuan earthquake in China, and the November terrorist attack on Mumbai (Bombay). Read more

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teaching on Madhyamika : Fourth Session

Thursday 18th December, 2008

Gyalwang Karmapa gave a scholarly overview of some of the issues in the Tibetan canon, with particular reference to differences between Tibetan and Chinese texts. He focused on the Tibetan and Chinese versions of the Five Works of Maitreya, using internal evidence from the texts themselves to argue a logical order.

He also began the transmission of the main text for the teaching : The Lion’s Roar that Destroys Confusion by 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje. Read the rest of this article

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