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26th Kagyu Monlam: January 5, 2009

His Holiness Karmapa gave a short commentary:

The Lord Buddha said that two things were essential: study and practice. Gampopa advised people to study first. The Kagyu is known as the practice lineage, and meditation plays a central role; it is the lineage of experience and realization. Like Milarepa, we had to receive the instructions, and then put them into practice. This involved hardship and effort.

Some Kagyu masters had studied extensively and then practiced, but others had had little formal study. Milarepa had not studied widely, but he had great devotion. He received the instructions, the direct understanding of how to practice, and then he practiced.

A Nyingma lama once said that when we were really suffering and our minds were deeply disturbed, the only things which helped were Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva, and The Songs of Milarepa. Correct meditation depends on correct view, and the correct view is emptiness. The lama, who has direct experience of the nature of the mind, gives instructions to the devoted student who must study, analyze, gain a conceptual understanding and practice it. His Holiness commented that although Kagyu say they are the practice lineage, when we study the biographies of great masters it can make us feel ashamed. As the saying goes, Read the rest of this article

The 26th Kagyu Monlam Begins

Saturday January 04, 2009

His Holiness dedicated the first day of Kagyu Monlam Puja to the victims of recent Mumbai attack.

26th Kagyu Monlam Chenmo began with a quiet thick, damp fog blanketed all over Bodh Gaya. At 5 am the participants proceeded to the Mahabodhi Stupa, only gradually did their forms emerge from the silent mist. The closer to the Stupa they came, the greater were their numbers, until monks, nuns and laypeople from all parts of the world came streaming through the great gates of the Stupa complex and began their circumambulation of the ancient site, murmuring mantras and prayers. An electricity cut made the early morning seem even more mystical, and the reduced lighting caused the Stupa to appear floating in space and insubstantial.

Beneath the Bodhi Tree, devotees found their way to their seats and sat waiting expectantly for the arrival of His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa, Jamgon Rinpoche, Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche and other high lamas. Fragrant incense wafted in the air, every stupa, wall and railing was decorated with strings of marigolds, and the Kagyu Monlam Shrine stretched resplendently across the front of the assembly against a background of draping yellow and blue cloth. Monks and nuns donned their yellow 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

Updated Information on the Akshobhya Retreat

Friday 19th December, 2008

Following some changes, the retreat began on Friday 19th December, a day later than originally planned, and will last for fifteen days, concluding on 2nd January 2009. There are 16 monks, drawn from all the Kagyu monasteries, in retreat. The retreat is a preparation for the Akshobhya Ritual to be held on the 9th and 10th January 2009, during the 26th Kagyu Monlam. This year’s ritual will be especially dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the typhoon which hit Burma, the March disturbances and demonstrations in Tibet, the Sichuan earthquake in China, and the November terrorist attack on Mumbai (Bombay). 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