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Gyalwang Karmapa Chief Guest at Bhutanese Cham Dances

2015.01.14
14 January 2015
Druk Ngawang Thubten Chokling Monastery, Bodhgaya

On 14 January, dancers, leaping and prancing, came out to greet the Karmapa as he arrived at Ngawang Thubten Chokling, a Bhutanese Drukpa Kagyu monastery. They escorted the Karmapa along the path, lined with well-wishers offering their katas, to the welcome gate and further to the dance grounds and the main temple beyond, where the Abbot and senior monks waited to greet him. They invited the Karmapa inside where he lit a butter lamp and then took his seat on the veranda, surrounded by flowing yellow silk curtains. Under a golden canopy, the Karmapa enjoyed the colorful dances by the Bhutanese monks, who are justly famous for their agility and spirit.
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Teachings on The Torch of True Meaning

2014.12.28
Vows in a New Light
Day 1 Session 1

26 December, 2014 Monlam Pavilion
In his Foreword to the new translation of The Torch of True Meaning, the Karmapa writes:

Many people, when they hear of the highest stages of Dharma study and practice, such as “emptiness” or “mahamudra” want to study and practice them immediately. However, without a stable foundation, which is the essential prerequisite to such advanced practices, even if they were to study or practice them, they would not be able to experience their profundity.

This is the reason why The Torch of True Meaning is such an important text. Composed by the first Jamgön Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, it gives comprehensive instructions on how to practice the ngöndro, the essential preparation for all practitioners before beginning mahamudra.  Anyone who wishes to practice the ngöndro of the Kagyu lineage, and in particular the Karma Kagyu lineage, should first read this Read the rest of this article

A Royal Welcome for HH Sakya Trizin

2014.12.19f
18 December, 2014 Bodhgaya
The arrival of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin at Tergar monastery on December 18th, 2014 marked an historic re-connection between the Karmapa lineage and the Sakya Trizin. Previously the 16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje, nurtured the young Sakya heir when he first came to India, for which HH Sakya Trizin later expressed his gratitude in a letter.

For over an hour an estimated one thousand people stood patiently holding ceremonial scarves and incense as they lined both sides of the one kilometre road that leads to Tergar. The Karmapa made his own car available for HH Sakya Trizin and his two sons, Khondung Vajra Ratna Rinpoche and Khondung Gyana Vajra, on their journey from Patna to Bodhgaya. As the car approached Tergar Monastery, a procession befitting royalty escorted it. Monks and lamas bedecked in dazzling orange and red brocade played horns, blew the conch, beat ceremonial drums and held victory banners aloft. A monk walked beside the car, holding high the golden parasol. The car cleared the gates through Read the rest of this article

There is Not a Moment to Lose Day 3: Teachings on One Hundred Short Instructions

2014.12.01i
1 December, 2014
This chapter Vast and Profound Light: Instructions on the Two Types of Bodhichitta began with the fundamental importance of Guru Yoga on the path to enlightenment, followed by instructions on the first of the four meditation topics which form the common preliminary practices of Tibetan Buddhism. Their purpose is to ‘turn the mind to dharma’, and the first topic is the precious human life.

In yesterday’s discourse, the 17th Karmapa explained how a human life in and of itself is not necessarily a precious human life. Many people face obstacles or lack the conditions needed for practising dharma. Indeed, it is a rare achievement to attain a precious human life, like a blind sea turtle who struggles to the surface once in a hundred years and yet manages to put his head through a yoke floating on the ocean swell.

Having established the difficulty of gaining a precious human body with all the ‘leisures’ and ‘resources’ that are needed in order to practise the dharma, the text now reflects on how easy it Read the rest of this article

The Blessings of the Lamas and This Precious Human Life Day 2: Teachings on One Hundred Short Instructions

2014.11.29
29 November, 2014 Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya
In Session One, the text had spoken of the four ways in which students can serve the Lama. Today’s section began with examples of disciples who showed great devotion towards their Lamas and the benefits derived from this.

Jetsun Milarepa faced great hardship; he lived like a beggar in an isolated place with no one to share in either his happiness or his sorrows. However, as Dusum Khyenpa said, if you remember the qualities of the Lamas and supplicate them with great fervour, the power of the devotion and strength of the blessings is uninterrupted. For that reason Milarepa was able to stay in a remote place, in spite of all difficulties. “It’s like having an iron-rod of devotion in your heart,” explained the Karmapa.

Gyalwa Gotsangpa was another example of great devotion. He practised extremely hard in a cave in a cliff-face for twelve years, and made the commitment that the cave, the cliff and the person should become one. People could hear the echo of his supplications on the Read the rest of this article