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27th Kagyu Monlam: Day Five – Karmapa Completes the Oral Transmission of Milarepa’s Biography

December 28, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

The recitation of the Twenty-Branch Monlam, that which provides the structure for the prayers recited during the Kagyu Monlam, is a powerful means by which we can deepen our relationship with Buddha Shakyamuni. By reciting these prayers, we prepare a place for Buddha; invite, greet and offer ablution to him; and we praise, make offerings and requests to him. To do these things beneath the Tree, where Buddha himself was enlightened, exponentially intensifies our daily encounters with Buddha.

Today, His Holiness completed a long project which is intented to enhance his disciples’ connection to the great Tibetan master Milarepa. His Holiness has given the oral transmission of the entire life story of Milarepa, page after page, year after year, for three consecutive years. Today that story drew to a close; but in coming days, the Gyalwang Karmapa will further extend the process of deepening students’ engagement with Milarepa by offering a Milarepa empowerment, a Milarepa Ganachakra, and with the live performance of a play depicting Milarepa’s life, that His Holiness composed and directed himself.

Following the reading transmission, His Holiness gave a talk on developing compassion and bodhichitta. “If Read the rest of this article

27th Kagyu Monlam: Day Three – Karmapa Teaches on the Fault of Abandoning the Dharma

December 26, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

Once again students had the privilege of receiving Mahayana Sojong Vows directly from His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, under the Bodhi Tree. In his reading of the Life of Milarepa, His Holiness reached the point where Milarepa was intentionally poisoned by a well-educated geshe who had become overwhelmed by jealousy and resentment towards Milarepa. Taking these events of Milarepa’s life as a departure point, His Holiness taught today on the danger of giving up the Dharma. Gyalwang Karmapa noted that the geshe in question had done extensive study of Dharma texts, but his actions reveal that he had completely abandoned the pure Dharma. His Holiness commented that giving up or abandoning the Dharma can also occur when we teach something that is not pure Dharma and present it as Dharma. Abandoning the Dharma does not only imply turning our backs entirely on all the Buddha’s teachings. It can also happen, His Holiness stressed, when we engage in sectarian partiality towards our own lineage or lama, and on that basis disparage other lineages or lamas.

When we accuse other lineages, lamas or philosophical systems of not teaching the pure Dharma, we are in grave danger of incurring the serious fault of abandoning the Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Launches Official Website for Environmental Protection: Khoryug.com

December 22, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

This afternoon, in the packed assembly hall of Tergar Monastery, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa formally launched www.khoryug.com, a Tibetan and English-language website dedicated to environmental protection. The website offers educational resources on environmental protection, news on environmental projects underway in Kagyu monasteries and nunneries, and offers a forum for people interested in the environment. Khoryug.com forms part of a larger series of projects that His Holiness has undertaken to protect the earth for future generations, goals for which will eventually restore the natural environment of Tibet and the Himalayan areas. As such, khoryug.com follows the emerging pattern of the activities of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, to work for the well-being of others in ways that are both immeasurably vast and yet eminently practical.

The event opened with a presentation by Dekila Chungyalpa, Director of the Greater Mekong area for the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) – the single largest organization devoted to environmental protection in the world. Dekila has served His Holiness as coordinator for his Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Speaks to Students’ Minds & Hearts

December 21, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

2nd Annual Teaching for Foreign Students: Day 2

An audience approaching 2,000 people shared four extraordinary hours today with His Holiness, as the teachings on Nagarjuna’s “Letter to a Friend” continued into their second day. His Holiness’ exceptional range as a teacher was on full display as he mixed formal commentary on the verses of the text, with heart advice for working with difficult emotions, intermittently lightening the mood with humorous anecdotes that had the entire assembly hall ringing with laughter. His Holiness spoke directly to students’ minds and hearts, and many were visibly moved when he described his own thoughts on what it means for students look to him as their root lama.

In encouraging students to confront their own afflictions, Gyalwang Karmapa paid particular attention to stinginess, anger and pride. Speaking of anger, His Holiness pointed to the irony of the fact that when we are angry at our enemies, we are actually accomplishing their aims for them. This is so because anger most harms the person who harbors it in their mind, and since our enemies are seeking to harm us, Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa Teaches on “How to Handle Conflicts Among the Different Vows”

December 8, 2009 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

Teachings, Day Five:

Following yesterday’s debate-style discussion of the various schools’ views on the three vows, His Holiness began by commenting that it is crucial that we have a clear understanding as to what our own position is and what that of others is. When we sketch out a range of positions, Gyalwang Karmapa noted that sometimes people get confused and begin mixing the view of our school with that of others. The great scholars of the past composed treatises that explore crucial points, refuting others’ views and establishing their own, in order to make clear for us the reasoning behind their position. He observed that such texts often begin by defeating the views of others, and may do so using what can strike us as harsh speech.

If we find ourselves put off by the strong language scholars use in negating the views of others, as we study these texts it is important that we bear in mind what their purpose was. When we read the compositions of the Eighth Karmapa, for example, when he argues powerfully against others, we need to keep in mind that the point is to cut through wrong views, rather than to find fault with others. Such debates were waged among great scholar-yogis who stated their positions strongly Read the rest of this article