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Recalling the Benefits of Bodhicitta


March 15, 2017 – Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
The Karmapa continued speaking on the topic of the precepts of aspirational bodhicitta from chapter ten of Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation, focusing on the precept of recalling the benefits of bodhicitta. He noted that this precept and not giving up on others ensure that our bodhicitta does not wane and that we do not forget it in this life.

The benefits of bodhicitta are listed in the Gandavyuha Sutra (Marvelous Array Sutra) and also in the root text and autocommentary of the Lamp for the Path to Awakening by Jowo Atisha. In the latter text, it is explained that there are two hundred and thirty similes for the benefits of bodhicittaas presented in the Gandavyuha Sutra, and they are summarized into four different categories: (1) the wellspring of benefits for oneself, (2) the Read the rest of this article

Never Giving Up on Sentient Beings


March 14, 2017 – Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
After a day off for the holiday of Holi, the Karmapa returned to teaching chapter ten on the “Precepts for Generating Aspiring Bodhicitta” from Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation. The Karmapa focused on the five precepts of aspirational bodhichitta. One of these precepts, never mentally abandoning sentient beings, is the means of guaranteeing that our bodhicitta does not get lost. The Karmapa noted that our achieving the qualities of the Buddha comes down to whether or not we have given up on sentient beings.

This section also treats the causes for losing aspirational bodhicitta. For instance, if our aim is incompatible with the Mahayana, then we will lose aspirational bodhicitta. To counter this, we must have the wish to benefit others and the wish for great Read the rest of this article

History in the Making: The First Step Toward Full Ordination for Tibetan Buddhist Nuns


11 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

At the Mahabodhi Stupa, it is the morning of the first full moon in the Tibetan year. In the shade of the Bodhi Tree, nineteen nuns sit near the Vajra Seat, site of the Buddha’s enlightenment. On the path to full ordination, eighteen took the shramaneri vows in the same place the day before, and one remains to take them on this auspicious fifteenth day of the Month of Miracles.

Soon the Karmapa arrives at the main gate, and led by a senior nun carrying a long incense holder and wearing the yellow cockade hat, he walked straight down the red carpet leading into the main temple and its famous statue of the meditating Buddha. Inside, the Karmapa offered shimmering golden robes to the Buddha along with alms bowls full of jars of honey and fruits.

The procession then moved outside and around the great Read the rest of this article

Keeping the Bodhisattva’s Promise

Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India

After welcoming everyone for the second day of the 4th Arya Kshema, the Karmapa continued with the discussion of the ceremony of the bodhisattva vows from Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation. Having completed the discussion of the tradition of the profound view, that of Manjushri to Nagarjuna, he elaborated upon the tradition of vast conduct, the tradition passed down from Maitreya to Asanga and known as Master Serlingpa’s tradition.

The Karmapa delineated the two parts of this tradition: aspiration of the bodhicitta vow and engagement of the bodhicitta vow. He focused on the actual ceremony of the aspiration of bodhicitta and explained that before the aspirant takes the vow, he or she must contemplate whether they are ready to receive the vow. The Karmapa explained that the Read the rest of this article

Losar Day Three: The Sangharama Ritual


1 March, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

The protector Sangharama, also known by the name Guan Yu or Guan Gong, is a Chinese deity but also one of the protectors of the Karmapa’s Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet.

The connection between Sangharama and the Karmapa lineage began when the 5th Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa, travelled to China at the invitation of the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Sangharama, a local Chinese deity who lived on a mountain, was so impressed by the Karmapa, he decided to follow Deshin Shekpa back to Tsurphu Monastery, where the Karmapa offered him a new home on one of the mountains behind the monastery. It then became the tradition at Tsurphu to offer a practice to Sangharama each Losar. When the 16th Karmapa fled Tibet, the ritual was lost. The 17th Karmapa wrote a new liturgy, the one performed today, which uses both Tibetan Read the rest of this article