NEWS & CURRENT ACTIVITES

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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 Teaches on the Bodhisattva Vow

Friday 26th December, 2008

His Holiness Karmapa graciously accepted an invitation from the Root Institute, the F.P.M.T. Dharma centre in Bodh Gaya, and addressed the staff and a general audience which included a group who were about to undertake a short retreat course on the Bodhisattva Vow. His Holiness was accompanied by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.

His Holiness emphasized the preciousness of bodhichitta – the altruistic intention. Quoting, he explained that if bodhichitta were to take physical form the universe would be too small to contain it, the reality of bodhichitta was sometimes misunderstood. It was far more than kind thoughts towards others or common acts of kindness. Bodhichitta arose from a deep understanding of the suffering of all sentient beings, tremendous compassion, the resolve to achieve Buddhahood for one’s self and the determination to work unceasingly for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Gyalwang Karmapa reminded everyone:

All happiness comes from cherishing others;
All suffering comes from cherishing one’s self.

He commented that we were living in an age when we were faced with not just the mental and emotional stability of our own minds, but also drastic changes and imbalance in the Read the rest of this article

His Holiness Visits the Royal Bhutanese Monastery

Before returning to Tergar Monastery, His Holiness visited the Royal Bhutanese Monastery in order to check on progress in making the Kagyu Monlam torma (butter sculptures).

This year a film crew from US is making a documentary about the unique Tibetan tradition of butter sculptures, so His Holiness drew the word ‘torma’ with brush and ink in Tibetan calligraphic style for them. Read more

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

Third Session of Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teaching on Madhyamika

Wednesday 17th December, 2008

Madhyamika is noted as being a very difficult area of study, yet, each day, the number of people attending the teaching has grown, and this prompted His Holiness to tell a funny story. Looking around the large assembly hall at Tergar, he told how a Geshe had gone abroad to deliver a teaching on the Middle Way approach. The first day there was a good number of people present. The following day there were fewer, and this continued until the final day, when the Geshe found himself addressing an empty room. His Holiness concluded that this was definitely not the case at Tergar.

Gyalwang Karmapa began by relating the life of Aryadeva, comparing the Chinese and Tibetan versions of his life story. Aryadeva is famous for his “400 Verses”, and for his skills in debating with non-Buddhists. According to some sources, he came from a royal family in Sri Lanka, studied with Nagarjuna in South India, and became his direct disciple.

His Holiness then returned to the previous day’s discussion of what it means when the Middle Way school says it does not make any assertions of its own while making assertions in others’ frames of reference . Read the rest of this article