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Offerings to the Sangha: the Alms Procession and the 16 Arhats

2016.02.21
21 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya
The tradition of almsgiving dates back to the beginnings of Buddhism, 2500 years ago. At that time monks and nuns were not allowed to keep or prepare food and were therefore completely dependent on whatever they were offered to eat by the local community. Each morning they would go from door to door and collect food. By offering food to the Sangha, laypeople not only showed their respect to the spiritual values that the Sangha symbolized, but were able to accumulate merit both by the action of generosity towards the Sangha and also by sharing in the merit which the monks and nuns generated through their spiritual practice.

In some Buddhist countries, the custom of the alms round has survived to this day, but in Tibet, because monasteries were supported by the local communities, it was no longer Read the rest of this article

Reviving the Karmapa’s Traditions: The Empowerment and Practice of the Three Roots Combined

2016.02.08
7-8 February, 2016 -Monlam Pavilion,
The vast altar of the Pavilion was transformed again for the empowerment of the Three Roots Combined. In the center was placed the great throne covered in brilliant gold over ornate carvings: on the back panel, a radiant Tsepakme (Amitayus, the central figure of today’s empowerment) would sit just above the Karmapa’s head like his crown ornament while two elegant peacocks with long flowing tails supported the table in front of him. Behind and perfectly aligned with the throne was the new statue of the Buddha; the two were linked by a series of huge formal bouquets in saffron, pale yellow, gold, and the accents of deep red.

For the preparation, the Karmapa sat at stage right, hidden behind a four-panel folding screen painted on both sides with the four bold kings, protectors of each direction. The sangha Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Discusses Nuns’ Ordination; Teaches on Bodhisattva Vow

2016.01.22
January 22, 2016-Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
During the eighth day of teaching at the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, the Gyalwang Karmapa discussed questions related to giving bhikshuni ordination to nuns. He also continued his teaching on rousing bodhichitta through taking the bodhisattva vow, based on chapter nine of the Ornament of Precious Liberation by Gampopa.

The Karmapa began by congratulating the nuns in attendance for the confidence and enthusiasm they have developed since the first Arya Kshema Gathering. “As I look out, I see that you’ve all gained confidence and self-esteem, knowing that you are capable of doing things and taking action,” the Karmapa said. “I see this in your expressions and I am very happy…. No matter what we are doing, if we first of all do not have confidence in ourselves, it is Read the rest of this article

The Gyalwang Karmapa Continues Teaching, Announces Plans for Shedra Curriculum

2016.01.16i
January 16, 2016 -Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya, Bihar
Today’s teachings began with the sound of melodic chanting of the opening prayers; the nuns’ voices were led by a female chant master (umze). After the donations and offerings of white scarves by the lay sponsors, the Gyalwang Karmapa resumed the teachings on the 9th chapter of The Ornament of Liberation regarding relative bodhicitta. Picking up where he left off yesterday, he continued, “In terms of the methods for meditating on bodhicitta and the way to train and develop it, all of the texts on mind training are basically ways to meditate on bodhicitta, to train one’s mind in bodhicitta.” There is a text by the 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje, called The One Hundred Short Instructions. In it, he explained, there are two methods for developing bodhicitta: one is considering samsara in Read the rest of this article

The Importance of Retreat

2015.09.03
Karma Tekchen Yi Ong Ling Retreat Centre Halscheid – 2nd September, 2015

On Wednesday afternoon, the 17th Karmapa made his first visit to Halscheid to bless Karma Tekchen Yi Ong Ling retreat centre. Situated just outside the small village of Halscheid in the Windeck region of Germany, the centre is run by the German Karma Kagyu Gemeinschaft under the spiritual guidance of the Karmapa’s senior tutor, the Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Although two traditional three-year retreats have been completed at Halscheid, the main focus of the centre’s work these days is to offer a variety of short and long-term retreats, so that laypeople with work and family responsibilities may benefit.

In readiness, the centre had been decorated with newly-hung prayer flags and the eight auspicious symbols had been painted on the gravel path. As His Read the rest of this article