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Ordained Nuns and Their History: The Karmapa Reports


7 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

In the second half of his teachings this morning, the Karmapa shared his research into the history of nuns and their status. He began by explaining the background of the name “Arya Kshema,” given to the Winter Dharma Gathering. He noted that among the disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha, there were his eight greatest male monastic disciples, known for their prajna (supreme wisdom) or miracles and so forth. Likewise, there were female master disciples who were greatest at miracles or known for their prajna and other outstanding qualities. Arya Kshema is one of these and she is described in the Sutra of the Wise and Foolish as the greatest in wisdom and confidence, so the Winter Dharma Gathering is named after her.

“In giving this name,” the Karmapa explained, “we are also Read the rest of this article

Keeping the Bodhisattva’s Promise

Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India

After welcoming everyone for the second day of the 4th Arya Kshema, the Karmapa continued with the discussion of the ceremony of the bodhisattva vows from Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation. Having completed the discussion of the tradition of the profound view, that of Manjushri to Nagarjuna, he elaborated upon the tradition of vast conduct, the tradition passed down from Maitreya to Asanga and known as Master Serlingpa’s tradition.

The Karmapa delineated the two parts of this tradition: aspiration of the bodhicitta vow and engagement of the bodhicitta vow. He focused on the actual ceremony of the aspiration of bodhicitta and explained that before the aspirant takes the vow, he or she must contemplate whether they are ready to receive the vow. The Karmapa explained that the Read the rest of this article

The Arya Kshema Winter Gathering for Nuns Begins in Bodhgaya

The Main Shrine Hall, Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
March 6, 2017

On this first day of the 4th Arya Kshema Winter Gathering, the Karmapa welcomed 560 nuns from nine different shedras (scholastic colleges) and their teachers, along with large groups of nuns from Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, and China as well as a few from the West plus the community of laywomen. From March 6 to 18, the shedra nuns will be participating in the thirteen days of teachings, debate, and ritual ceremonies.

The Karmapa noted that there are two special aspects to this year’s event. First of all, the nuns from seven shedras will be competing for the first time. The judges will be three Geshemas, nuns who have recently passed all the exams after years of intense study of the major treatises and received the equivalent of the Geshe degree from His Holiness the Read the rest of this article

A Joyous Celebration to Conclude the 34th Kagyu Monlam

The Pavilion stage underwent its final transformation of the Monlam into a space of simplicity with just the Buddha, a tall flower arrangement on either side of him, and in front, a seat and table for the Karmapa. The rest of the stage was cleared to give maximum space for this evening’s performers at this Marme Monlam, the Lamp Prayer. In front row of the audience were seated the Karmapa, Gyaltsap Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche, Bokar Rinpoche’s Yangsi, and numerous other tulkus and khenpos. Also attending were two lamas from Hong Kong, the Ven. Master Kung Siu Kun and the Ven. Master Sik Yun Tsun.

A formal invitation had been sent to Indian dignitaries and many were present. Among these honored guests seated near the Karmapa were Amitabh Mathur, advisor to the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tibetan affairs; the District Magistrate of Gaya, Read the rest of this article

Losar Day Three: The Sangharama Ritual


1 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

The protector Sangharama, also known by the name Guan Yu or Guan Gong, is a Chinese deity but also one of the protectors of the Karmapa’s Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet.

The connection between Sangharama and the Karmapa lineage began when the 5th Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa, travelled to China at the invitation of the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Sangharama, a local Chinese deity who lived on a mountain, was so impressed by the Karmapa, he decided to follow Deshin Shekpa back to Tsurphu Monastery, where the Karmapa offered him a new home on one of the mountains behind the monastery. It then became the tradition at Tsurphu to offer a practice to Sangharama each Losar. When the 16th Karmapa fled Tibet, the ritual was lost. The 17th Karmapa wrote a new liturgy, the one performed today, which uses both Tibetan Read the rest of this article