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Bodhicitta: How the Light Gets In ‘The absence of compassion is the worst danger that we face.”

The Torch of Certainty, Session 4


Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya, India

January 4, 2014


In the last session of his teaching on the Torch of Certainty, the Karmapa drew a vivid picture, in very few words, of a world without love, updating Jamgon Kongtrul’s classic commentary with a description that cracked the prison walls of samsara to let the light get in.

Normally when we talk about danger we think of the elements; we think of unforeseeable  natural disasters or epidemics. But worse than any of these is the danger that we will become a species without compassion. Slowly without our noticing it, we could become transformed into a society completely without compassion. This world could become a place where there is no caring for one another. But this will not happen if we are willing to help one another, willing to love one another. We can prevent that danger.

We all have within us the seed of compassion. We’re not like burned seeds that cannot sprout.  We have the natural capacity for it. Why is it so hard for us to generate great compassion? It is natural Read the rest of this article

Taking the Vow of Refuge

The Torch of Certainty, Session 3


Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya, India

January 4, 2014


The slow chant of ‘Karmapa Khyenno’ resounded throughout the Monlam Pavilion, signaling a start to the second day of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s teachings on the Torch of Certainty. Soon the sound of gyaling horns could be heard over the chanting as the Gyalwang Karmapa arrived.

After he made three prostrations to the golden Buddha on the stage, the rest of the sangha followed suit. As ten thousand monks, nuns and laypeople prostrated in perfect synchronicity to the rhythm of a small drum, the visual effect was a reminder of the unity of the sangha, and their single shared purpose in coming together to hear the dharma.

Ten thousand voices then united as one in supplication to the Kagyu lineage masters; in a moment of perfect unity, perfect stillness, the entire gathering offered a mandala to the Gyalwang Karmapa, chanting with a single voice.

The Gyalwang Karmapa urged the packed hall to listen single-pointedly, with utter non-distractedness and not to miss even a single word Read the rest of this article

Why Take Refuge? The Karmapa Continues His Commentary on The Torch of Certainty

The Torch of Certainty, Session 1

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya, India
January 3, 2014

On the first day of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s talks on The Torch of Certainty by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, the side areas of the Pavilion are overflowing with lay followers, while the center is filled with the ordained Sangha. The maroon and gold of their robes is reflected above in the three levels of pleated material that run in a fluttering row from the front to back of the hall along the huge arch of the roof. The large crowd faces the Pavilion stage, where at the very top of its long and broad flight of stairs, the image of Tibet’s Mt. Kailash forms the backdrop for a large statue of a golden Buddha. Beneath him is a life-like statue of the 1st Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, and a flight downward from him is another throne with a statue of the 16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje, and finally, at the base, the simple and beautiful throne of the present Karmapa, flanked by thrones for Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche, along with rows of tulkus and khenpos.

Before the Karmapa begins these two days of teachings, he Read the rest of this article

Announcement: Gyalwang Karmapa to Revive Tsurluk Tsechu Cham Tradition In Bodhgaya

20131210 Tsechu Cham

As one of the major events of the upcoming 31st Kagyu Monlam Chenmo prayer gathering, on 10 January 2014 the Gyalwang Karmapa will lead a historic performance of the Guru Chöwang Tse Chu lama dance in Bodhgaya.

The day-long event heralds the revival of the unique Tsurphu tradition of the dance, and will be performed for the first time in India under the Gyalwang Karmapa’s direct guidance.

The Gyalwang Karmapa will personally dance during the event, adorned in full costume, while other luminaries to join him on stage include Kyabje Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Kyabje Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, and numerous other Kagyu lineage tulkus.

And, in another historic first, nuns from five Kagyu nunneries will also take part in the lama dance, allowing female dancers for the first time to perform the female roles such as Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal. The nuns will join monks from four monasteries of the Tsurluk tradition, including Rumtek, Palchen Choling, Mirik, and Benchen.

The lama dance centers around the sacred Read the rest of this article

Compassion in Action – Blankets for Those in Need

6th Jan – Bodhgaya.

When teaching on compassion, the Gyalwang Karmapa has continuously emphasised that feeling compassion towards other sentient beings was not enough. Our compassion has to be turned into action. As temperatures dipped to freezing point and below across North India, the Gyalwang Karmapa bought and distributed over a thousand warm blankets to Bodhgaya’s poorest.

Several thousand people from Bodhgaya and nearby villagers, mostly women with small children, queued for hours at the gates to the Monlam Pavilion before the scheduled time of 3:00 pm. The Gyalwang Karmapa then spent nearly an hour inside the Monlam Pavilion personally handing out the thick woollen blankets to each delighted recipient. Their stressed and worn faces lit up as they received the Gyalwang Karmapa’s gift, together with his compassionate blessing.

Later, as they dispersed across the surrounding fields clutching their new blankets, their delight could be clearly seen on their smiling faces. Later that evening, Read the rest of this article