Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Woodstock, New York
May 24, 2018
On a beautiful spring day with the iris and lilacs coming into bloom, the Karmapa returned to his North American seat at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. He came to lead a practice focused on the Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1206-1283). This incarnation was known as a great healer and siddha, who brought Mahakala into the Kamtsang lineage as its main protector. Karma Pakshi was also the first Karmapa to visit China and make a deep connection with the Emperor and the Chinese world.
The practice itself was written by a previous incarnation of Yongye Mingyur Dorje and it is an important one for the lineage. The previous Sixteenth Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje, counseled that disciples in his lineage, once they had finished their preliminary practices, should take this sadhana as their lifelong practice. All-encompassing, it includes meditations on the lama, yidam, and protectors as well as profound teachings on the nature of the mind. For all these reasons, it is performed during three-year retreat and monthly at Karma Triyana. Following in his predecessor’s footsteps, the present Karmapa has also chosen Karma Pakshi as one of the two practices his Kagyu nuns recite during the annual Arya Kshema gathering of nuns in Bodh Gaya.
This day in late May was the tenth of the Tibetan month, devoted to Guru Rinpoche. The usual practice for this day is solely focused on him, but following the Karmapa’s wishes, the puja was shifted to Karma Pakshi. The visualization includes Guru Rinpoche appearing above Karma Pakshi’s head, who is also surrounded by yidam deities and protectors. The fullness of the visualization was matched by the joy of following the Karmapa’s resonate voice as the shrine hall was filled with the warm light of late afternoon.