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Generating Bodhichitta— Day 7 and 8: Teachings on One Hundred Short Instructions

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7- 8, December, 2014
The Gyalwang Karmapa began as usual with the command: Please arouse Bodhichitta and listen to the teaching.

Having covered the common preliminary meditations which form the basis for all further Dharma practice in previous sessions, on Sunday [Day 7] the section on the actual practice of arousing bodhichitta began.

The text explains that you should develop aspirational bodhichitta then take the Bodhisattva vows with engaged bodhichitta. But first come detailed instructions on several meditations to prepare the mind. The whole text is an extended Guru Yoga, and, thus, at each stage there is a supplication to the Guru for his blessings in order to accomplish the practice.

Initially, so that your being becomes more malleable, you practise shamatha meditation in an isolated place and develop meditative stabilisation. Meditating on the breath, you begin by counting from 1-10 breaths, and then step by step increase until you can focus perfectly on 1-100 breaths. As a result, the mind becomes peaceful Read the rest of this article

Konchok Chidü Empowerment

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Monlam Pavilion

January 5, 2014

Long before the crowds arrived on day three for the empowerment of the Embodiment of the Three Jewels, or Konchok Chidü, at 6.15am the Gyalwang Karmapa was already in the Monlam Pavilion, seated on stage, quietly conducting the preparatory rituals.

By 8am the Pavilion was once more filled to capacity, this time with the slow chant of Guru Rinpoche’s mantra—Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung—resounding throughout the hall, while the Gyalwang Karmapa concluded the extensive preparations.

After taking a short break he returned to the Pavilion to start the empowerment proper, the gyaling horns that heralded his arrival harmonising effortlessly with the mantra-filled hall.

As the Gyalwang Karmapa set the boundaries for the mandala of the empowerment, the Monlam Pavilion was transformed from the ordinary into a vast, sacred space.

“In order to request the empowerment, please regard this place not as ordinary but as the Akanishta realm of the lotus display,” the 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

Authentic Refuge

The Torch of Certainty, Session 2

Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya, India

January 3, 2014

 

In the morning session the Gyalwang Karmapa had explored the meaning of taking refuge and described how to visualize the refuge tree. After lunch he resumed his exposition of the text, blending an oral transmission of Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye’s commentary with his own insights and much practical advice.

Only the Three Jewels are able rescue us from samsara.  How then can we test the depth and authenticity of our refuge for ourselves?

First we can use the four measures:

1.     We need to be clearly aware of their unique attributes. This includes the qualities of body, speech, mind and activity.  The greatest and most immediate benefit for us comes from the qualities of the Buddha’s speech.  As to mind, the qualities of the Dharma are immeasurable because not only does it include the individual attributes of the Dharma of tradition and the Dharma of realization, but at the heart of the Dharma is the truth of the path and the truth of cessation. Ultimately, every good result  from our 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