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27th Kagyu Monlam: Day Seven – Stretching into the Deep Past and the Distant Future

December 30, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

By inviting and embracing attendees from all over the world, providing translation into nine languages and sending out a live webcast viewed by people all over the globe, and by generating aspirations that encompass other worlds as well, the Kagyu Monlam has truly expanded to fill all space. On its seventh day, the scope of the Kagyu Monlam also stretched to fill time, with activities to protect the environment as well as to honor the Kagyur, or the canon of Buddha’s teachings. As such, the day’s focus spanned from 2,500 ago in India when the Buddha first taught, to a distant future that monlam participants actively seek to create, so that our heirs to this planet may still find it a viable and welcoming home.

As part of the morning’s focus on the Kagyur itself, Gyalwang Karmapa and the other Kagyu lineages holders led a solemn and stately procession of bhikshus and bhikshunis (gelongs and gelongmas) to carry the 108 volumes of the canonical collection on a circumambulation around the stupa. The procession path was lined with the reverential public, white scarves and flowers in their hands, and deep faith in their hearts, as the members of the sangha moved past with great dignity as each respectfully bore a single Read the rest of this article

27th Kagyu Monlam: Day Four – Karmapa Teaches on How to Use Adverse Conditions for Spiritual Growth

December 27, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

As the 27th Kagyu Monlam reaches its half-way mark, thousands of disciples spent the day offering their voices, hearts and minds to generate vast aspirations for the well-being of the world. Along with those who traveled from over 52 countries to attend in person, many more have been able to participate this year from their homes, since this year’s Kagyu Monlam is being webcast live at kagyumonlam.tv with prayers and teachings transmitted in eight languages, including English, French, German, Polish and Russian.

Today Gyalwang Karmapa brought his reading of the life story of Milarepa to the moment of Milarepa’s passing into nirvana. He then gave advice on how to use adverse conditions for spiritual growth. Taking the example of a common situation faced by foreigners attending Monlam in Bodhgaya—physical ailments and sickness—His Holiness indicated several ways to make such problems fruitful for our Dharma practice. For one, we can use sickness to deepen our recognition of the teachings on death and impermanence. We can also reflect that by undergoing that particular form of suffering, we are experiencing the result of negative karma we created in a past life. We can consider that 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

27th Kagyu Monlam Opens in Bodhgaya – A Theme of “Gratitude”

December 24, 2009 – Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya

As His Holiness moved through the dawn mist yesterday to take his place under the graceful branches of the Bodhi Tree, the long-awaited 27th Kagyu Monlam was officially underway. The theme for this year’s prayer gathering is “gratitude,” and this theme was surely reflected in the hearts of the thousands of disciples who managed to bring together the conditions to be present in Bodhgaya after this year of economic turmoil.

The Gyalwang Karmapa opened Kagyu Monlam by offering the 24-hour Mahayana Sojong precepts to the immense gathering of monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. His Holiness has noted in the past that aspirations made by men and women together are more powerful and carry greater effects, as are the aspirations made by people holding vows. As such, the Mahayana Sojong ceremony is a particularly appropriate way to open Kagyu Monlam, since it allows monastic and lay to observe pure ethical discipline and so to strengthen the power of the prayers they make throughout the day.

During the second session of the day, His Holiness continued the reading transmission of The Life of Milarepa that he had begun in previous years. This year he will conclude that transmission, and in honor of that, 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