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Songs of the Kagyu Fathers: A Special Ganachakra Blessing

2016.02.17i
17 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
Every three years HH the 17th Karmapa offers a reward to those who have completed the 400,000 long ngondro or traditional foundation practices: refuge recitations and prostrations, the Vajrasattva 100 syllable mantra of purification, the Mandala offering of the universe and Guru Yoga. Each of these practices prepares the ground for receiving advanced yidam practices and Mahamudra on the Vajrayana path. Refuge and prostrations to the Mahamudra lineage focuses the mind on the Kagyu lineage masters; recitation of the Vajrasattva mantra cleanses negativity; the Mandala offering accumulates merit; and through Guru Yoga we receive the blessings of the lineage through the three gates of body, speech and mind.

At 7 pm the Karmapa walked in casually and re-arranged the 1000 international practitioners who Read the rest of this article

Geshe Potowa’s Soliloquy Session Four: Engaging in True Dharma Practice

2016.02.19
19 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
The Gyalwang Karmapa concluded the teachings for this 33rd Kagyu Monlam today, continuing his explanation of Geshe Potowa’s Long Soliloquy of Mind Training. In particular, the Karmapa spoke about how to incorporate the dharma into our beings, and how to examine and develop confidence in a spiritual friend. After his explanation of Potowa’s text, the Karmapa gave three reading empowerments. He also discussed plans relating to next year’s Akshobhya retreat—which will be practiced by nuns from the Karma Kagyu nunneries—and for the Torch of True Meaning pre-Monlam teachings on guru yoga.

The Karmapa began the teaching today by reading and discussing a paragraph from Potowa’s soliloquy, which included the following lines:

    “When you truly remember from your heart that you will die, Read the rest of this article

Geshe Potowa’s Soliloquy Session Three: Now Is the Time to Practice and How We Avoid It

2016.02.18i
18 February, 2016 -The Pavilion, Bodh Gaya, India
Recapitulating the essential message of the previous days, the Gyalwang Karmapa began his talk emphasizing the importance of recalling impermanence and death. Doing so, he said, allows us not to be attached to the things of this life and mired in thoughts about it. He then continued reading from Potowa’s text:

    You do not know when you will die, so resolve not to procrastinate about practicing the Dharma. Nothing else will help at the time of death, so be determined that you will not have attachment for anything.

To illustrate what this might feel like, Potowa gives the example of a person being led to their execution. If along the way stunning jewels and gold were spread out before them, what interest would they have? We alone will face death, and knowing this, we should not be Read the rest of this article

Geshe Potowa’s Soliloquy Session Two: Death is certain, so resolve to practice the Dharma.

2016.02.17
17 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya
The tradition of the Dagpo Kagyu is the confluence of two great streams: the practice of Mahamudra from Milarepa and the Six Yogas of Naropa, and the mind training tradition received from Jowo Atisha and transmitted through the Kadampa masters. Both streams were united in Lord Gampopa. Mind training is the necessary foundation for the practice of Mahamudra, the Karmapa explained, which is why he chose to teach from the Kadampa masters as much as possible during the main Monlam. This year’s text—also called The Long Soliloquy of Mind Training—was too long to be taught in one year, so he would continue the teaching at next year’s Monlam.

Geshe Potowa Rinchen Sal spent seven years serving Dromtönpa, the principal student of Atisha and founder of the Kadampa tradition, and received the oral Read the rest of this article

Geshe Potowa’s Soliloquy Session One: The Art of Listening to the Dharma

2016.02.16i
16 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya
On the first day of the 33rd Kagyu Monlam, a long queue of white-clothed lay people led by lamas and rinpoches sponsored the mandala offering – heaps of red coral proffered on a burnished gold mandala plate. The assembly of monks in gold and maroon at the front, with rows of lay people in white at the back turned the entire Pavilion into an artistic design; more significantly, it also revived the tradition of white cotton, symbolic of purity for Hindu pilgrims in India. Uniformity in the assembly reminded everyone we were there for one purpose: to listen to the dharma.

After welcoming their Eminences, Goshir Gyaltsap and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Kagyu masters and sponsors, ordained and lay people the Karmapa began his teaching on one of 3 great forefathers of the Kadampa lineage. As well Read the rest of this article