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Kagyu Monlam: His Holiness Continues the Story of Milarepa

January 07, 2009

His Holiness drew several lessons from Milarepa’s story to illustrate how we should practice. The first concerned our commitment or rather lack of it, and our inability to tolerate hardship.

Like all the great masters in the lineage, Milarepa renounced the world, expressed his disgust with samsara, and had a fierce determination to practice the Dharma. He knew that this was the only way to bring benefit both to him and to others, including his dead parents. We, on the other hand, relax and enjoy good food.

The great translator, Marpa Lotsawa, endured many difficulties on his journey to India. He had to trudge across the never-ending Indian plains, and yet he translated all those texts! These days we get tired when we travel by train or plane!

Milarepa demonstrated immense commitment. Marpa set him to build four houses – not small but big ones – and then he had to take them down again, stone by stone. He was even made to build a house with nine storeys, which His Holiness had had chance to visit. His Holiness commented that the house looked like it had been built by one person – the pillars were unfinished wood and the construction generally was very rough. When Marpa threw him out of teachings or beat him, Milarepa still Read the rest of this article

The Third day of Gyalwang Karmapa’s Lineage Practice Teachings

Thursday January 2, 2009

On the last morning of the teachings Gyalwang Karmapa conferred the Bodhisattva Vow and spoke about developing bodhichitta.

He began by detailing the necessary conditions when taking the Bodhisattva Vow.

First came motivation and then there needed to be a support – either a human, a deity or a god. The vow could be taken in front of a Lama, a spiritual friend or a support such as a picture. The maximum support was someone who held the eight Pratimoksha vows, the minimum support was someone with the refuge vows.

Third was the ritual. His Holiness chose to use three verses from Shantideva’s “ The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life”, which contained all three possible forms of the vow, the aspirational, the engaged, and both.

When taking the vow we needed the intention to benefit all sentient beings, who were our mothers as limitless as space. The best way to prepare our minds and to accumulate merit, which would develop and increase the power of the vow, was to recite the Seven Branch Prayer.

For beginners there would be more Read the rest of this article

The First Day of Gyalwang Karmapa’s Lineage Practice Teachings

Wednesday 31st December, 2008

These teachings, sponsored and organized by the Hwa-Yue Foundation from Taiwan, are the third in a series of teachings entitled: Lineage Practice Teachings. More than one thousand five hundred people filled the main assembly hall at Tergar Monastery to listen to His Holiness deliver the teachings in a mixture of Tibetan and Chinese. Chinese devotees from Taiwan and Hong Kong formed the majority of the audience. However, there were also disciples from the Americas, from Europe and from other Asian countries including Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The morning and afternoon sessions began with prayers in Chinese, accompanied by traditional Chinese instruments – a wooden bell beaten to keep time, and a bronze bell. At the morning session, representatives from the audience prostrated along with the Gyalwang Karmapa.

His Holiness’ theme was teacher and student. He began by joking that these teachings, and the ‘English’ ones which would follow Monlam, were as much a test of his burgeoning linguistic skills as of his dharma knowledge and experience. He then congratulated the audience on attending the teachings in spite of the Read the rest of this article

The Second Day of Gyalwang Karmapa’s Lineage Practice Teachings

Thursday January 1, 2009

The morning session was devoted to the Refuge Vow, which was given in Tibetan, Chinese and Korean. His Holiness began by explaining the meaning of refuge and why we needed a refuge. First he pointed out that from the time of our birth until our death we were dependent on others. The very nature of our lives meant we had to rely on other people. These people, including family and friends, who protected and cared for us were a form of refuge. Also, everyone wished to be happy, as witnessed by the many people who wrote to him or sought audiences to ask for help – failing businesses, illnesses, and other unhappiness.

It seemed we were unable to free ourselves from suffering and problems. Thus, we needed to look for a way to free ourselves completely. We needed to find the ultimate refuge. Someone like a doctor might be able to help us temporarily but in the end we still suffered sickness, ageing and death – and we had to experience these lifetime after lifetime.

So what would an ultimate refuge be? It had to be one which could help us rid ourselves of the root causes of suffering, and this could only be done by someone who had already Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Distributes Presents on Christmas Eve

Wednesday 24th December, 2008

In the afternoon the Gyalwang Karmapa distributed small presents – a bag and an umbrella from this year’s Monlam souvenirs – to the staff of Tsurphu Labrang and to members of the Kagyu Monlam Working Team. Read the rest of this article