3 December, 2013 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya.
The 17th Kagyu Gunchoe – Winter Debates began this year on December 3rd at Tergar Monastery in Bodhgaya, India. The daily schedule includes debates during the morning and in the afternoon, the Karmapa’s teaching on a text by the Eighth Karmapa, Mikyö Dorje, called The One Hundred Short Instructions. Throughout his presentation, the Karmapa emphasized the importance of balancing study with practice, of tempering intellectual pursuit with realization arising from experience. In the Tibetan tradition, debating is an integral part of intellectual and experiential training. Its purpose is to probe an individual’s knowledge of Dharma, to remove doubts, and to elucidate what is not clear. Debating helps to ensure that understanding does not stay at the level of words, but goes deeper into the meaning. It also allows a great number of topics to be explored in a short time and to be retained more easily.
From 3rd December the Gyalwang Karmapa will teach daily during the 17th Kagyu Gunchoe Debates at Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya. Over this three-week period he will continue the remaining teaching and reading transmission on a text by the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje, called One Hundred Short Instructions (Tri-thung Gyatsa), which was not finish at 16th Kagyu Gunchoe.
The Gyalwang Karmapa taught primarily to an audience of Tulkus and Khenpos and monks participating in the winter debates, however, simultaneous translations into Chinese were offered, and many international students also attended. The number of international students grew day by day, until the gompa quickly reached capacity.
The Eighth Karmapa’s text One Hundred Short Instructions is divided into chapters covering a broad range of topics, arranged according to the path the dharma practitioner traverses. Commencing with the ‘Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind Towards the Dharma’, the Gyalwang Karmapa emphasized the preciousness of our human life, as well as the need for renunciation from worldly concerns.
Nine shedras are present for this year’s Winter Debates. In the afternoon and evening, additional debate sessions took place in the Monlam Pavilion, so day and night the sound of challenging voices and clapping hands could be heard. And the monks continued to discuss matters as they circumambulated the shrine hall and walked back and forth to their rooms or meals.