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Celebrating the Life of the Eighth Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche: A Ritual of Offerings to the Gurus


19 February, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
The extensive Ritual of Offerings to the Gurus, always performed on the last day of the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, was composed in 2005 by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. It is a compilation drawn from many famous Buddhist texts. The puja often serves as a memorial to a particular Lama who has passed away, and this year a large portrait photograph of the Eighth Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche was placed centrally below the shrine.

The stage had been rearranged following the Sixteen Arhat and Alms Procession the previous day. Four of the victory banners from that procession remained on the top tier of the stage, and the others were arrayed in the wings. Below them, three tiers of heavily laden offering tables stood to left and right of the pagoda shrine containing the infant Buddha. The bottom tier was replete with Read the rest of this article

The Soliloquy of Geshe Potowa: Session Four

February 16, 2017 – Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya

Today, His Holiness reflected on the part of Geshe Potowa’s Long Soliloquy, which had virtue in monasteries as its focal point. He encouraged everyone to nurture enthusiasm and bodhicitta, the essence of which is the union of emptiness and compassion, to guide our efforts to benefit others. Following a short instruction, he concluded with a meditation session. Though he had completed this year’s Monlam teaching, he had not exhausted the content of the whole text and announced that the teaching on the text would extend for one or two more Monlams.

The Karmapa read Geshe Potowa’s accounts of visiting monasteries. When he inquired after fine individuals, he was often told that these fine individuals, the life-blood of the monastery, were the wealthy ones, with much gold, Read the rest of this article

The Soliloquy of Geshe Potowa: Session Three

After welcoming everyone, the Gyalwang Karmapa continued reading from the text of Geshe Potowa:

In my opinion, we must flee the suffering of samsara—the very thing we are seeking to eliminate—and gather incalculable accumulations to achieve the result, perfect buddhahood. We should practice whatever is said to have the greatest merit. When selling something like woolen cloth, if we give the buyer an extra four or five pounds without them knowing it, this will bring great merit.

The Karmapa commented that we need to put as much distance as possible between ourselves and the world of samsara so that we can end our suffering. Until now, we have experienced misery even though we wanted to avoid it. Who is fooling us? The culprit is our own mind and its attachment the pleasures and tasks of this life. It is our fixation on Read the rest of this article

The Soliloquy of Geshe Potowa: Session Two

The second session of the teaching began with the text:

Thus there are few who have turned their minds away from this life. Many say they are bodhisattvas, but I wonder whether they are really focused on this life. I think about what I would do if I were to die tonight and have never considered any ambitions for tomorrow and thereafter. Because of that, I have understood the critical points of Dharma. That alone is the greatest sustenance for meditation. I had thought it would be likewise for others too, but when I tell them, their attitudes have never been compatible with mine.

His Holiness commented that this illustrates how Potowa applied the Dharma that he knew as an antidote to the afflictions. Knowing the Dharma and teaching the dharma are not sufficient. The Dharma has to be practised as it is taught, internalised and Read the rest of this article

Studying Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation and the Karmapa’s Closing Talk


February 4, 2017 – Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
In the main shrine hall, behind the Karmapa’s brocade-covered chair is an elegant folding screen, with scrolling leafy branches and luxurious flowers in muted golds, greens, and subtle orange playing over a resonant black background. Between the screen and the Karmapa is an altar holding statues of Marpa and Milarepa on the right and left with Gampopa in the middle. His text, the Ornament of Precious Liberation, is the focus of the discussions. A butter lamp is lit before him, its light illuminating the gold in the statues and highlighting the screen behind. Set wide to the right and left are two screens, which display quotations from the monks’ reports and the charts they have made to unpack the text and make relationships clear.

This has been the setting for the study of the Read the rest of this article