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The Torch of True Meaning: Session Two


February 09, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodh Gaya, India

A Summary

The Karmapa emphasized the importance of sustaining our commitments once we have received an empowerment and nurturing through practice the seeds it has planted. He also pointed out how we really do not know what the Buddha looked like as images of him came some 600 years after his parinirvana. He is also said to be inconceivable, but that might prevent us from establishing a heartfelt connection with him, and therefore, we meditate on the lama as inseparable from the Buddha.

The General Report

The Karmapa began his talk today by explaining the difference between the guru yoga that is a part of the mahamudra preliminaries and the Four Session Guru Yoga by the Eighth Karmapa, Mikyö Dorje. There are numerous guru yogas of various lengths in the Karma Kamtsang Read the rest of this article

The Torch of True Meaning: Session One


February 9, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodh Gaya, India

This year sees the conclusion of a five-part teaching begun by the Karmapa on 31st December 2012, the year in which the Kagyu Monlam commemorated the Jamgon Kongtrul lineage, and hence the choice of this text by the First Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye. 

The text is a guide to the ngondro or preliminaries to the practice of Mahamudra in the Kagyu tradition.  First, come the common preliminary meditations—known as the four thoughts which turn the mind to Dharma, they are the precious human life; death and impermanence; karma, cause and effect; and the unsatisfactoriness of life in samsara. Then  come the special preliminary practices. At successive Monlams, His Holiness has completed giving instructions on the first three: Refuge and Prostration; Vajrasattva Practice; and Offering Read the rest of this article

The Main Chakrasamvara Empowerment


February 6, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodh Gaya, India
On this remarkable day, after two days of initial rituals, the followers of Gyalwang Karmapa had, for the first time, been given the opportunity to receive the grand empowerment of Chakrasamvara from the head of the Kagyu lineage.

His Holiness introduced the initiates into the meaning of Secret Mantra clarifying that the word “mantra”, in Chinese translations, means “the words of truth”.

“It is when we speak in accordance with the nature of how things are, the power of those words, and the way of bringing benefit to the world through that power,” he said and illustrated the point with stories of Angulimala and Buddha Akshobhya. The Angulimala Sutra tells of Angulimala encountering a pregnant woman unable to give birth. Buddha advised that Angulimala, who had killed many people in Read the rest of this article

Preparing for the Chakrasamvara Empowerment

This second day of the empowerment began privately as the Gyalwang Karmapa performed the lama’s preliminary practice for the empowerment (dbang sgrub). During this time, the Vajra Master enters into a samadhi focused on the deity to actualize its special qualities. This middle day of the ritual is known as the preparatory empowerment (stag gon gyi dbang) as it prepares the disciples to receive the actual empowerment on the third day.

Today the stage was the same as the night before, except that in stage center, the grand black and gold peacock throne has been unveiled. At the top of the back panel is a golden image of Amitabha, on the front of its tall table is a pair of his mount, the peacock, and the stairs leading up to the throne are decorated with a swirling, powerful dragon. The Monlam Pavilion in front of the throne was filled Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Introduces the Chakrasamvara Empowerment


February 6, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodh Gaya, India
When the Karmapa discussed the special event of the Grand Empowerment of Chakrasamvara during the Winter Debates, he explained, “Usually I do not give many empowerments, only two or three a year, and a grand empowerment from the unexcelled yoga tantra I have only given once before in this lifetime. It was when Tenga Rinpoche was still with us, and he assisted me in giving the vase empowerment from this same Great Empowerment of Chakrasamvara.”

The Karmapa confessed, there were no plans to give this empowerment, but “This year the teachings from the Torch of True Meaning are on Guru Yoga and in conjunction with it, I had planned to teach the Four Session Guru Yoga. Then I newly received instructions from past lamas on the Four Session Guru Yoga, so I took the opportunity to publish the Read the rest of this article