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The Way of the Authentic Practitioner

Eight Verses of Mind Training, Session 2

January 12, 2014

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

 

The Gyalwang Karmapa enters the Pavilion as usual from the right side, walking around to the front with security guards on all four sides, while monks with incense and jalings precede him. Going up the three stairs, he stops to make three bows before taking his seat on the throne facing the thousands who have gathered for this second talk. After a mandala offering, more than a hundred people fill the main aisle all the way out to the gate near the road; they hold their long scarves in white, and yellow and slowly walk down the aisle to make their offerings. The Karmapa relates to each one as they pass in front of him, sometimes reaching out his hand to touch their head, sometimes nodding, sometimes giving a slight smile. He then makes his own prayers and begins his talk with thanks to all who have been working so hard.

He begins with the second verse:

    Whenever I’m in the company of others,
    
I will regard myself as the lowest among all,

    And from the depths of my heart
Cherish others as supreme.

An authentic Read the rest of this article

More Precious than a Wishfulfilling Jewel

Eight Verses of Mind Training, Session 1

January 11, 2014

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

After a night of continuous rain across Bodhgaya, the first, brief rays of sunlight finally emerged just as the Gyalwang Karmapa prepared to begin his first teaching of the 31st Kagyu Monlam Chenmo.

In the lead up to the program, he had earlier explained his choice of texts for this year’s activities. During the pre-Monlam teachings the week before, he had taught for three days on Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye’s text, The Torch of Certainty. And, for the teachings during the actual Kagyu Monlam itself, he chose to teach on the Eight Verses of Mind Training by the great Kadampa master, Geshe Langri Tangpa.

The reason for this particular combination of texts, the Gyalwang Karmapa explained, goes back to the Kagyu founding luminary Gampopa, who skilfully combined both the Kadampa and Mahamudra traditions. This year, the Karmapa explained, he wanted to also combine texts from these two traditions during his Bodhgaya activities as a conscious reflection of Gampopa’s accomplishment, in modern practice.

The Gyalwang Karmapa began the teaching by explaining how the Read the rest of this article

The 31st Kagyu Monlam

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January 11, 2014
Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

Arriving at the centre

In the pitch black of the early morning, as lines of people make their way to Tergar Monastery, a rare winter rain falls steadily over Bodhgaya. Arriving from all directions they converge at the centre of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s vast mandala, the Monlam Pavilion, where his Buddha activities are about to commence.

The wet, muddy paths mean the usual long queues are fast-tracked, and people pass relatively quickly down the slippery driveway. They enter through the Monlam welcome gate, adorned with fluttering prayer flags and rows of fairy lights glowing in the early morning darkness.

Inside the vast pavilion, clouds of fragrant incense permeate the space as the neatly laid out mats gradually fill with people. Rows of monks and nuns, heads freshly shaven, sit wrapped in their warm winter dagam cloaks, while lay people bundle up in thick coats and blankets to ward off the pre-dawn chill.

At 6am the sound of gyalings pierces the darkness and all Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Introduction to the Tsechu Lama Dance


Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya, India
January 10, 2014
The tenth and twenty-fifth days of the lunar month are significant times for practice. The outer reason is that according to tantric teachings, on these dates, the heroes and yoginis from the twenty four sacred sites naturally gather to bless the yogi. The inner reason is that the meditator’s subtle channels, winds, and essence drops naturally gather around the central channel on these dates, so they are a superior time for meditation. The secret reason is that if a yogi performs a puja with the particular samadhi of the secret mantra, there is especially great merit.

Another reason why the tenth day is significant is its association with Guru Padmasambhava. Many in Tibet consider that Padmasambhava was extraordinarily kind to the Snow Land of Tibet. He himself said that in the future he will actually come on the tenth day of every lunar month to bless his followers.

The History of the Tsechu Puja

The Tsechu Lama dance arose 800 years ago from the pure visions of Guru Chöwang. There are long and short versions. The long is called the black hat dance, and the short the white horse Read the rest of this article

Compassion in Action: Gyalwang Karmapa Inaugurates Medical Camp

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Siddhartha Vihara, Bodhgaya

January 6, 2014

Bright sunshine greeted His Holiness on his arrival at the Siddhartha Vihara Tourist Bungalow Complex, where he was welcomed by Nangsel Dorjee, Secretary of the Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee.  Having performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally open the medical camp, His Holiness was given a tour of the facility by Tenzin Jangchub, the young man who has been responsible for organizing the facility, under the guidance of Bo-Gangkar Rinpoche and Ngodup Pelzom, the Gyalwang Karmapa’s older sister.

His Holiness toured both floors of the facility and was introduced to all the staff, greeting them warmly and thanking them for their work.  Finally, he posed with them for a group photograph.

The Kagyu Monlam Organization is a charitable organization, so one of its most important aims is to serve the public through educational, health, and environmental projects.  As part of its commitment to put compassion into action, the 31st Kagyu Monlam Read the rest of this article