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Last Day of 26th Kagyu Monlam

January 11th, 2009

The Last Day of the 26th Kagyu Monlam. His Holiness gave the Sojong Vows and precepts in the morning, the assembly recited the Twenty Branch Monlam. The second session concluded with the annual alms procession.

The Alms procession is from the Mahabodhi Stupa to the Deer Park it was instituted by His Holiness Karmapa five years ago to follow the traditional alms walk that the monastic of some Buddhist traditions make in their daily lives to receive their food. His Holiness also wanted for eight days to recreate, along with some other original Vinaya practices, the alms walk that ordained monastic undertook daily at the time of the Buddha.

The lay people and other monks and nuns gathered along the route of the procession eagerly waiting with their offerings of sweets, fruits, biscuits, nuts and dried fruits and snacks.

His Eminence Gyaltsab Rinpoche led the procession, carrying the traditional monk’s staff. Behind him, and also carrying staffs, came Zurmang Garwang Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche and Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche. Then the most senior gelongs began to assemble and slowly made their way with the begging bowl in Read the rest of this article

Kagyu Monlam: Akshobhya Ritual

January 10th, 2009

The Akshobhya Saddhana was recited for two afternoons on 9th and 10th January, and on the evening of the 10th His Holiness completed the Akshobhya Ritual with a fire puja. This began at 8.30pm, His Holiness with the sixteen retreatants who completed the fifteen-day Akshobhya retreat, gathered in the main assembly hall of Tergar Monastery to bless the deceased. In addition to the names proffered by individuals, the list included those killed in the Burmese typhoon, those killed in the Sichuan earthquake, those killed in the earthquake in Tibet, those killed in the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks, and those killed in the floods in Bihar. The ritual took three hours and concluded close to midnight. Read more

Kagyu Monlam: His Holiness Talks About White Tara

January 08, 2009

His Holiness said that regarding tomorrow’s White Tara empowerment, He will give preparation Tara teaching practice today.

The image of Tara can be seen in many monasteries and stupas in India. No monastery in Tibet is without Tara.

Tara is one of the most popular yidams in the Buddhist world and is part of Vajrayana practice. Generally, secret mantra should not be taught to those who are not suitable vessels for Vajrayana, mantra meaning mind (man) and protection (tra). Vajrayana is part of the Mahayana Tantra of outer actions and inner yoga (kryiya). When Vajrayana prevailed in China the outer kriya was more prevalent as lower tantras were more emphasised at that time. The main place for translation was Samye Monastery in Tibet and unless permission was obtained from Samye, higher yogas were not allowed.

There are different kinds of practice in Buddhism and different teachings for different people according to their level and experience. Those who are beginners at the first level are taught how to evade negative emotions. Those at a little higher level have paramita teachings, to face negative emotions and fight against them. At a higher level they are taught to consider negative emotions as enemies but to catch them and make friends with Read the rest of this article

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

Kagyu Monlam: His Holiness Telling the Story of Milarepa

January 06, 2009

The relationship between Marpa and Milarepa was unlike an ordinary lama-student relationship. Some lamas threatened their students that if they didn’t follow through instructions they would be breaking samaya, and so would go to a hell realm. In contrast, Marpa treated Milarepa like a son. Nor was he motivated by gain. A lama should skillfully nurture his students and always be compassionate.

His Holiness went on to discuss tsultrim – ethical conduct. He explained that rules of good conduct such as not stealing or not killing should be understood not as a codex, a set of laws to be observed, but rather as a description of the behavior which was necessary if we wanted to be happy. Ethical conduct was also essential for the well-being of the society in which we live. He reminded everyone once more of the interdependent nature of our existence. Throughout life we are dependent on others. We were born because of the love our parents had for each other. They cared for us and did their best for us. At every stage of our life, when we were born, as a baby, at school, when looking for work, when we were ill, we relied on others to help us. It was impossible to live completely independently. Given this interdependence, we should never ever look down on other people or Read the rest of this article