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The Time of Death is Uncertain So Practice Now! Day 4: Teachings on One Hundred Short Instructions

2014.12.02i
2 December, 2014, Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya
Gyalwang Karmapa continued the section in the text on the theme of death and impermanence, the second contemplation of the four common preliminaries. Today’s transmission began with a powerful evocation of the moment of death. Death is inevitable and cannot be escaped, however wealthy or powerful we are. Life is short and the time of death is uncertain, what can we have confidence in? Only the Dharma.

The text continues with various meditations on death and impermanence, followed by examples from different Buddhist texts and namthar which reinforce this view.
Life is like people meeting at a weekly market; the next day everyone is gone. The only thing which will accompany us at death is the Dharma. Thus we need to supplicate the Gurus, be diligent in our dharma practice, and devote our lives to virtue, as a matter of urgency.

A story from the life of the 11th century Kadampa master and meditator, Kharak Gomchung, provides an example of the attitude a dharma practitioner should Read the rest of this article

Commemorating World Disability Day

2014.12.03
3 December, 2014
In commemoration of World Disability Day 2014, 30 children with learning disabilities were invited to Tergar Monastery for a special audience with the Gyalwang Karmapa.

All are students at a newly-established unit on the campus of the local Bodhi Tree School. On the very day that the unit opened, they came with their mothers and teachers to receive the Karmapa’s blessings. Regular students from Class IX at the school accompanied them. Most of the children, who come from the villages around Bodhgaya, are Dalits from very deprived backgrounds
His Holiness smiled at the children, welcomed everyone and gave a short talk.

“Your human life is very important,” he began. ” I offer prayers that all of you may have great happiness in this life.”
He went on to say that all human beings faced difficulties and hardships in life, but that these children would have particular challenges. However, as Bodhgaya was the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment, he hoped that they too would be able to pass on Read the rest of this article

There is Not a Moment to Lose Day 3: Teachings on One Hundred Short Instructions

2014.12.01i
1 December, 2014
This chapter Vast and Profound Light: Instructions on the Two Types of Bodhichitta began with the fundamental importance of Guru Yoga on the path to enlightenment, followed by instructions on the first of the four meditation topics which form the common preliminary practices of Tibetan Buddhism. Their purpose is to ‘turn the mind to dharma’, and the first topic is the precious human life.

In yesterday’s discourse, the 17th Karmapa explained how a human life in and of itself is not necessarily a precious human life. Many people face obstacles or lack the conditions needed for practising dharma. Indeed, it is a rare achievement to attain a precious human life, like a blind sea turtle who struggles to the surface once in a hundred years and yet manages to put his head through a yoke floating on the ocean swell.

Having established the difficulty of gaining a precious human body with all the ‘leisures’ and ‘resources’ that are needed in order to practise the dharma, the text now reflects on how easy it Read the rest of this article

Relieving the suffering of animals: the Gyalwang Karmapa Instigates a Second Animal Camp in Bodhgaya

2014.12.02
2 December, 2014, Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa’s vision is to relieve the suffering of all sentient beings. He urges everyone to extend their compassion to include animals, and insists that compassion needs to be translated into action.

For many years, the International Kagyu Monlam has organised medical camps and food kitchens to help local people, but, during the 31st Kagyu Monlam, at the instigation of His Holiness, they organised a veterinary camp in order to address the needs of animals in the area.

At the time, the Karmapa commented, “Humans have often treated animals badly. I have the great hope that we can decrease that, and that an understanding that animals are members of our family in this world can spread everywhere.”

That first camp was very successful, and so the Gyalwang Karmapa directed that a further veterinary camp be organised in conjunction with the 32nd Kagyu Monlam. The animal camp is being held from 2-8 December, 2014 at the Kagyu Monlam Pavilion, Read the rest of this article

The Blessings of the Lamas and This Precious Human Life Day 2: Teachings on One Hundred Short Instructions

2014.11.29
29 November, 2014 Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya
In Session One, the text had spoken of the four ways in which students can serve the Lama. Today’s section began with examples of disciples who showed great devotion towards their Lamas and the benefits derived from this.

Jetsun Milarepa faced great hardship; he lived like a beggar in an isolated place with no one to share in either his happiness or his sorrows. However, as Dusum Khyenpa said, if you remember the qualities of the Lamas and supplicate them with great fervour, the power of the devotion and strength of the blessings is uninterrupted. For that reason Milarepa was able to stay in a remote place, in spite of all difficulties. “It’s like having an iron-rod of devotion in your heart,” explained the Karmapa.

Gyalwa Gotsangpa was another example of great devotion. He practised extremely hard in a cave in a cliff-face for twelve years, and made the commitment that the cave, the cliff and the person should become one. People could hear the echo of his supplications on the Read the rest of this article