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Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teachings on the Lion’s Roar that Destroys Confusion

Saturday 20th December, 2008

Displaying both erudition and a sense of humour, Gyalwang Karmapa continued his transmission and exposition of the text. He dealt with two new issues. The first was whether or not it was valid to rank the Consequentialist Middle Way School and the Autonomous Middle Way School, holding one as a higher view than the other. The second was with regard to rangtong (self-empty) and shentong (other-empty). His Holiness explored the historical context of the debate between the proponents of rangtong and shentong, the acceptance of the shentong view in the Khamtsang Kagyu, and the role of the Jonang School.

Gyalwang Karmapa then moved on to highlight the interrelationship between study and practice. He stressed that all the texts, both sutra and tantra, were written or taught for the purpose of practice and there was not one single word in the canon that was not a quintessential instruction to bring us to awakening. Even the commentarial treatises were written for this purpose.

Practice without the study which brings understanding and study without the intention of informing practice would not bring us to awakening. Faith was necessary Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teaching on Madhyamika : Fourth Session

Thursday 18th December, 2008

Gyalwang Karmapa gave a scholarly overview of some of the issues in the Tibetan canon, with particular reference to differences between Tibetan and Chinese texts. He focused on the Tibetan and Chinese versions of the Five Works of Maitreya, using internal evidence from the texts themselves to argue a logical order.

He also began the transmission of the main text for the teaching : The Lion’s Roar that Destroys Confusion by 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje. Read the rest of this article

Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teaching on Madhyamika Continues

Tuesday 16th December, 2008

The assembly hall of Tergar Monastery was packed with monks and laypeople to listen to the second part of Gyalwang Karmapa’s teachings which continued this afternoon. This is only a brief report on the session. It may be possible later to provide a fuller report from the transcription of the Tibetan.

Because of Nagarjuna’s importance in establishing the Middle Way school of Buddhist philosophy Gyalwang Karmapa began with an overview of Nagarjuna’s life. Accounts of his life exist in both Chinese and Tibetan sources. The earliest Chinese source, written approximately one hundred years after Nagarjuna’s death, predates Tibetan sources. It seems he was born in South India into a Brahmin family, and studied Buddhism in South India. After many years of practice he reached an understanding of emptiness. There are also references to prophecies about Nagarjuna, but there is a need to exercise caution when citing prophecies, because the true intention and meaning of a prophetic text can only be disclosed by its author. Read more

Gyalwang Karmapa begins teaching on Madhyamika

Monday 15th December, 2008

Each year, during the Karma Gunchoe, the Gyalwang Karmapa gives a dharma teaching. Although strictly part of the Karma Gunchoe and not part of Kagyu Monlam, many of the Kagyu Monlam staff as well as lay students of His Holiness and pilgrims attend these teachings. Consequently, for the first time, simultaneous translation into Chinese and English has been made available this year.

The teaching will be based primarily on The Lion’s Roar which Destroys Confusion, a text written by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje

In the first session, the Gyalwang Karmapa began by emphasizing the importance of motivation and intention these days, since modern methods of transport had made travel so much easier than in the past and great determination and perseverance were no longer necessary. Without correct motivation and intention, there would be no real benefit in travelling to Bodh Gaya on pilgrimage or to receive teachings. Further, it was important to concentrate on the great fortune of being able to be here rather than on any difficulties we might have experienced or be experiencing, and use the opportunity fully to carry out the twin dharma Read the rest of this article

The 12th Annual Kagyu Annual Winter Program of Philosophy and Debate Commences

Friday 12th December, 2008

In the morning of the 12th of December, the Gyalwang Karmapa completed his first public engagement, visiting the Mahbodhi Stupa. He was greeted by the President of the Mahabodhi Management Committee, who presented His Holiness with a traditional Tibetan khatag. He then went to the Mahabodhi stupa main temple and into the shrine hall where he prostrated three times, offered Mandala prayers and recited the Praise of the Twelve Deeds of Lord Buddha. He then completed two circumambulations: one inner and one outer circuit.

The visit to the Mahabodhi Stupa was followed by a visit to the Bhutanese Temple, where His Holiness inspected the work in progress on the butter sculptures for the Kagyu Monlam. The sculptures are being prepared by a group of monks and nuns, chosen for their expertise from several Kagyu monasteries and nunneries.

In the afternoon the Gyalwang Karmapa presided over an assembly of the participants in the 12th Annual Karmae Gunchoe. He spoke about the origins of debate in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and its importance. He encouraged all the monks attending the Karmae Gunchoe to have sincere Read the rest of this article