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    By PTI | 1 Feb, 2016, 04.25PM IST




    NEW DELHI:The disclosure of documents related to the visit of Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of the claimants to the title of 17th Karmapa, to Sikkim can adversly affect internal security and strategic interest of India, the CIC has ruled allowing Home Ministry to withhold the records.

    One Karma Tshutlim Bhutia had sought to know from the Home Ministry in 2013 whether there was any request from anywhere including Dorje seeking permission to allow him to visit Sikkim, action taken by the ministry and related documents.

    The Ministry had refused to disclose the documents citing section 8(1)(a) of the RTI act which allows a public authority to withhold records, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence.

    It reiterated its stand during the hearing before the Commission which agreed to the contention.

    "The Commission observes that the information sought by the appellant would prejudicially affect the internal security and strategic interest of India. Therefore, the Commission holds that the information sought is exempted under Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act and hence cannot be provided," Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava held in his order.

    Dorje had escaped Tibet in December 1999 and arrived in Dharmasala in January 2000.

    Centre has restricted his movement and he is not allowed to visit Rumtek monastry in Sikkim. Reportedly, central security agencies are not convinced about the circumstances in which he managed to escape from Chinese rule.


    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50806766.cms?prtpage=1&utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

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    January 29, 2016-Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
    [This report has two sections: a briefer account of the morning’s teachings followed by a lightly edited transcript.]
    After three days of Karma Pakshi and Tseringma practice, the Gyalwang Karmapa recommenced his teachings on the Ornament of Precious Liberation. He began with a reading transmission from the Seventh Topic, the Ceremony, and within this, the Preparation, which has six parts. Today the Karmapa covered its first part, Making Offerings.
    “The key points of all practices is to gather the accumulations and purify misdeeds and obscurations,” he stated. “There is no practice that is not included within these two.” “Gathering the accumulations,” he continued, “means gathering all the favorable conditions for developing the path within our beings. Purifying misdeeds and obscurations means clearing away the conditions that counteract developing the path within.”
    If one added prostrations at the beginning, the six parts of the section of Preparation would be the same as the seven parts of the Seven Branch Prayer: [(0) prostrations], (1) making offerings, (2) confessing past wrongs, (3) rejoicing in virtue, 4) requesting the buddhas to teach the Dharma, (5) supplicating the buddhas not to abandon the world, and (6) dedicating the roots of virtue. The Karmapa stated that these the seven branches of the prayer embody all the practices of accumulation and purification.
    Turning to the prayer itself, the Karmapa remarked, “It is possible to see all seven branches as offerings. The first two branches, of prostration and making offerings, are physical offerings; the last five are an offering of practice.” He noted that there are many other ways of categorizing the seven branches; for example, there is a way to practice so that in each of the seven branches, accumulation and purification is complete. To illustrate this, he mentioned prostrations, which, as everyone knows, are an accumulation of merit. They are also, he added, an antidote for pride.
    The Karmapa continued to explain that prostrations can be understood in three ways: with our body, speech, or mind. The physical prostrations we make with our body everyone knows. Prostrations through our speech, he stated, refer to the verbal praise and tribute we make to celebrate the positive qualities of a teacher. Prostrations with our mind means showing profound respect and feeling great faith in the person to whom we are prostrating. When we make an authentic prostration, our minds are filled with genuine respect.
    The Karmapa then talked of how we deviate from these true ways of prostrating. In terms of the body, we could just be following customs without any real feeling. He stated, “This is the biggest danger for religions—a rote following of traditions without any experiential or emotional connection to them. It means that we do not know the nature of what we are doing.” In terms of speech, he said, we should watch to see whether we are praising or faulting others.
    Then turning to the mind, the Karmapa emphasized that true prostrations are about transforming our mind and reducing our pride. The other six branches of the prayer also function as antidotes; for example, rejoicing counteracts envy, and requesting the Buddha to teach counteracts delusion or ignorance.
    The Karmapa summarized his talk by saying that the Seven-Branch Prayer epitomizes all the practices of gathering the accumulations as well as purifying misdeeds and obscurations. All the major points of practice are present here, so the branches are easy to engage and easily appear in our minds. We should do this practice, he concluded, with great delight and real interest.
    At the end of his talk, the Karmapa said that he hoped that in the future when the teachings spread, there would be great beings, who are women with the qualities of being learned, venerable, and good and who would look after the teachings. This is important not just for nuns, but for all living beings. “My hope, my aspiration,” he said, “is that each of the five Tseringma sisters will send an emanation as a nun to support the teachings. Maybe I’m being too bold, but it might just be possible.”
    Near the end of the Buddha’s life, the Karmapa related, there was a discussion about the best way to preserve the teachings. On the one hand, they could be entrusted to humans but they are short-lived and the teachings need to last a long time. On the other hand, they could also be entrusted to the gods, who have a long life but are endlessly distracted by the sense pleasures and might not be able to uphold the teachings. The conclusion was to entrust the teachings to both a human, the great regent Kashyapa, and also to the four great kings who lived in the higher realms. The Karmapa stated that Milarepa was thus following the Buddha’s precedent when he similarly appointed the human Gampopa and the goddess Tseringma to uphold his teachings. Asking everyone to keep this in mind, the Karmapa concluded this morning’s teachings.
    The Lightly Edited Transcript
    After three days of Karma Pakshi and Tseringma practice, the Gyalwang Karmapa recommenced his teachings on the Ornament of Precious Liberation. He began with a reading transmission from the Seventh Topic, the Ceremony, and within this, the Preparation, which has six parts. Today the Karmapa covered its first part, Making Offerings.
    “The key points of all practices is to gather the accumulations and purify misdeeds and obscurations,” he stated. “There is no practice that is not included within these two.” “Gathering the accumulations,” he continued, “means gathering all the favorable conditions for developing the path within our beings. Purifying misdeeds and obscurations means clearing away the conditions that counteract developing the path within.” He gave the example of developing bodhichitta: we gather the favorable conditions for it to arise and pacify or eliminate whatever contradicts its development.
    If one added prostrations at the beginning, the six parts of the section of Preparation would be the same as the seven parts of the Seven Branch Prayer: [(0) prostrations], (1) making offerings, (2) confessing past wrongs, (3) rejoicing in virtue, 4) requesting the buddhas to teach the Dharma, (5) supplicating the buddhas not to abandon the world, and (6) dedicating the roots of virtue. The Karmapa stated that these the seven branches of the prayer embody all the practices of accumulation and purification.
    Since this prayer is chanted so often, we fall into thinking that it is easy and simple, he said, and do not realize its value and importance. He first traced the lineage of the prayer, which comes from the sutra tradition and belongs to the Mahayana, within which is found a sutra called the Gandavyuha. This sutra contains a chapter known as the Aspiration for Excellent Conduct, which gives the clearest presentation of the Seven-Branch Prayer.
    To illustrate his point about ignorance of the Seven Branch Prayer, the Karmapa recited a story from the Thirteenth Karmapa’s collected works. It seems that the Karmapa and a former discipline master named Gyaltsen, who was not much educated but loved to give answers, went on pilgrimage to a sacred mountain at the base of the valley where Tsurphu is. This mountain is home to an isolated place where the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje practiced in a cave as did his disciples, eighty of whom became realized masters.
      So the Thirteenth Karmapa said to Gyaltsen, “Since we’ve come to a sacred site, you should chant the Seven Branch Prayer.”
      “What’s that?” Gyaltsen asked.
      “It’s from the beginning of the Noble Aspiration for Excellent Conduct,” replied the Karmapa and chanted the first lines to remind Gyaltsen: “I prostrate to all the buddhas as many as there are….”
      “Oh, if I start in on that one” answered Gyaltsen, “I’ll just go around in circles and never finish. Isn’t there something shorter?” (The Karmapa surmised that he had not memorized the text.)
      “Well,” said the Thirteenth Karmapa, “you could say the last verse, ‘Whatever little merit I have gathered….’”
    These days, the Karmapa remarked, we also are ignorant about the Seven-Branch Prayer, the Karmapa remarked. How many times have we recited the Noble Aspiration for Excellent Conduct and still do not know that the first verses are actually a Seven-Branch Prayer? We seem to be merely repeating the words without knowing the meaning well.
    Turning to the prayer itself, the Karmapa remarked, “It is possible to see all seven branches as offerings. The first two branches, of prostration and making offerings, are physical offerings; the last five are an offering of practice.” There are many other ways of categorizing the seven branches, the Karmapa noted. They can be condensed into four aspects: (1) gathering the accumulations, which covers prostrations, offerings, requesting the buddhas to teach, and asking them not to abandon the world; (2) purifying misdeeds and obscurations, which is confession; (3) increasing our virtue, which is rejoicing; and (4) rendering our virtue inexhaustible, which is dedicating. Even more condensed, the Karmapa explained, is a summary into two aspects: (1) purification, which is the confession and (2) the accumulation of merit, which is the remaining six branches.
    Further, the Karmapa added that there is a way to practice so that in each of the seven branches, accumulation and purification is complete. For example, prostrations, as everyone knows, are an accumulation of merit. They are also, he added, an antidote for pride. The Karmapa had reflected on this in terms of people who had completed the 100,000 prostrations of the preliminary practices and saw that it was possible that pride did not decrease but increased when people think with some pride, “I’m one who’s done 100,000 prostrations.” So we should look and see if our pride has grown or not.
    Actually, the Karmapa noted, pride has two aspects: one is a kind of inflated conceit, where we are all puffed up about ourselves, and the second is distain, when we look down on others. With an attitude like this, we are not accumulating merit but misdeeds.
    Instead of focusing on our accomplishments, we should be focusing on the object of our prostration. “Why is it that we prostrate?” the Karmapa asked. “It is to show respect by putting the five main points of our body to the ground,” he replied, “while we are also concentrating on the admirable qualities of the person to whom we are prostrating. Their excellence is so wonderful that it naturally steals away our small mind; we are captivated just thinking of this person and can feel a deep and true respect.” This complete respect is shown, he said, by imagining that we touch our head, the highest part of our body, to the ground, placing it at their feet, the lowest part of the respected person’s body. As we do so, we are also rejoicing in the excellence we see.
    The Karmapa continued to explain that prostrations can be understood in three ways: with our body, speech, or mind. The physical prostrations we make with our body everyone knows. There are also variations between countries and times; even the four main traditions in Tibet have slightly different ways of prostrating. Prostrations through our speech, he stated, refer to the verbal praise and tribute we make to celebrate the positive qualities of a teacher. Prostrations with our mind means showing profound respect and feeling great faith in the person to whom we are prostrating. When we make an authentic prostration, our minds are filled with genuine respect.
    The Karmapa then talked of how we deviate from these true ways of prostrating. In terms of the body, we could just be following customs, conventions that have been handed down to us, without any real feeling. He stated, “This is the biggest danger for religions—a rote following of traditions without any experiential or emotional connection to them. It means that we do not know the nature of what we are doing.” In terms of speech, he continued, we should look at whether we speak of the qualities of others or their faults. If we talk only of others’ defects, our prostrations have not gone well. They were also not successful if our pride swells, or if seeing others’ qualities does not naturally elicit our respect and rejoicing.
    Turning to the mind, the Karmapa emphasized that prostrations are about transforming our mind; they are a means to diminish our pride, so that the Dharma can develop within us. Doing them with doubts or just as an exercise to get fit, he cautioned, is not what is sought in the context of the seven branches. Here, it is all about changing our minds, about developing our bodhichitta. He noted that even in Sanskrit, the word for prostration, namaḥa primarily means “respect,” underlining the understanding of prostrations as showing respect through our body, speech, and mind with the latter being the most important. Since we do prostrations daily, the Karmapa stated counseled that we should do them while aware of their meaning as explained in the teachings.
    The Karmapa looked further into the Seven Branch Prayer by saying that the branches function as an antidote for the afflictions. Prostrations are an antidote for pride, and further, he added, rejoicing counteracts envy and requesting the Buddha to teach counteracts delusion (or ignorance). Speaking of these two, he related that the masters of old have said that we are living in degenerate times when favorable conditions are few and obstructing conditions many. Therefore, the Karmapa stated, “When a single person gives rise to just one virtuous thought, we should rejoice and be joyful, considering it to be like a fresh and living jewel of the Dharma.”
    We need to learn to think like this, he said. If not, then our taking refuge is just mouthing words. If we lack plentiful virtue in ourselves and cannot rejoice in others’, it would be similar to cutting off access to our own record of wholesome activity. So when we see virtuous actions, it is important to rejoice and be delighted.
    Requesting the Buddha to turn the wheel of the dharma, the sixth branch, is a remedy for ignorant delusion. The Karmapa explained, “The Buddha’s turning of the wheel of Dharma eliminates our ignorance of what to do and what not; our blind faith becomes informed.” But supplicating alone is not enough, he advised, for we must also study and practice. If not, the benefit is minimal. “We should know,” he said, “the reason why we are supplicating the Buddha for teachings. It should be that we have a great desire to learn and to connect with them deep within.” It would not be right to ask for the teachings and then just lay them aside, he commented. If we actually practice what the Buddha taught, it will become an antidote for our ignorance.
    The Karmapa summarized his talk by saying that the Seven-Branch Prayer epitomizes all the practices of gathering the accumulations as well as purifying misdeeds and obscurations. All the major points of practice are present here, so the branches are easy to engage and easily appear in our minds. We should do this practice, he concluded, with great delight and real interest.
    Afterward, as he has often done at the end of his morning talk, the Karmapa spoke about his ideas and plans for supporting women practitioners. First he commented that over the last days, the extensive practice of Tseringma for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama had gone very well. Then he spoke of his plans to create a great nunnery, which he referred to as a densa, the usual term for an important monastic center or a major lama’s main residence. The Karmapa also referred to the nuns as tsunmo, a respectful term meaning “venerable one” rather than using the term ani, meaning “auntie,” which has been prevalent in the past. He noted that the recent practice of Tseringma was the first time that the nuns had engaged all together in a great Dharma practice and he hoped they would continue to do this one of Tseringma each year. The Karmapa reminded everyone that she is a special protector and also a lineage holder of Milarepa’s teachings.
    He also let it be known that during the Tseringma practice he had made an aspiration that great beings would come in a female form to be leaders of the nuns. In Tibet, he said, there were many female scholars and masters, though these days we do not know much about them. He hoped that in the future when the teachings spread, there would be great beings, who are women with the qualities of being learned, venerable, and good and who would look after the teachings. This is important not just for nuns, but for all living beings. “My hope, my aspiration,” he said, “is that each of the five Tseringma sisters will send an emanation as a nun to support the teachings. Maybe I’m being too bold, but it might just be possible.”
    The Karmapa again encouraged the nuns to hold the extensive practice of Tseringma each year and commented on the importance of Tseringma for the lineage by drawing a parallel between the Buddha and Milarepa. Near the end of the Buddha’s life, the Karmapa related, there was a discussion about the best way to preserve the teachings. On the one hand, they could be entrusted to humans but they are short-lived and the teachings need to last a long time. On the other hand, they could also be entrusted to the gods, who have a long life but are endlessly distracted by the sense pleasures and might not be able to uphold the teachings. The conclusion was to entrust the teachings to both a human, the great regent Kashyapa, and also to the four great kings who lived in the higher realms. The Karmapa stated that Milarepa was thus following the Buddha’s precedent when he similarly appointed the human Gampopa and goddess Tseringma to uphold his teachings. Asking everyone to keep this in mind, the Karmapa concluded this morning’s teachings.

    http://kagyuoffice.org/the-seven-branch-prayer-embodies-the-essence-of-practice-new-emanations-of-tseringma/

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    January 30th, 2016 –Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya, Bihar, India

    The Sutra Teaching the Four Qualities speaks of the Four Powers in the following way:
      Maitreya! If bodhisattva mahasattvas have found these four things they will overcome evils that have been committed and established. What are these four? They are (1) the power of the thorough application of total remorse, (2) the power of thoroughly applying the remedy, (3) the power of renouncing harmful acts, and (4) the power of the support.
    Today, His Holiness the Karmapa continued the teachings from yesterday’s topic on confessing one’s misdeeds, specifically focusing on two of the Four Powers. Reading through the transmission of Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation, which today covered the first power of remorse and its three divisions, the Karmapa took up the question asked in the text, “How do we stimulate the power of remorse?” In sum there are three ways: by considering the pointlessness of one’s wrongs, by considering fear, and by considering the urgent need for purification. The discussion today focused primarily on these points.
    “We need to confess all of our misdeeds from beginningless samsara, not just one or two of them,” the Karmapa said. However, it is important not to be overwhelmed by thinking of all the misdeeds we have done as it will prevent us from taking action. “If you simply become depressed by contemplating your misdeeds, thinking, ‘I am not a worthy person,’ this is not very beneficial.” His Holiness explained, “Actually, from one perspective, [giving rise to these thoughts] is very good.” When one contemplates all, or even one, of the misdeeds one has done in this or previous lives, that recognition becomes the starting point to be able to purify it. We should confess our past wrongs with all Four Powers, he said: “The Four Powers are like the four pillars of a house.” When all four are used, the confession is more potent.
    Of the Four Powers, remorse and the resolve not to do it again are the two most important ones. Of these two, “Remorse is even more important,” the Karmapa said, because “the resolve not to do it again is dependent upon feeling remorse.” When one feels remorse for the wrongs they have done, it is easier to have the resolve not to do it again.
    Regarding the wrongs that we have done, the main point, the Karmapa said, is to separate the actions from the person that committed them. There is no need to think “I am a bad person.” It is important to recognize it was the action that was harmful, and not to consider a person to be completely bad or evil due to what they have done. There is no need to feel guilty or hopeless. The point of recalling our past wrongs is to “increase our inspiration, to increase our hope.” When we have done something wrong, the Karmapa explained, it is similar to the moon with clouds—it is not that the moon has gone black; rather, it is a temporary condition when the moon has been hidden by clouds. We at times also become obscured by “temporary adventitious conditions;” however, by confessing what we have done and recognizing it as wrong, we can again shine forth.
    The term for confession in Tibetan is “shakpa,” the Karmapa explained. “When I hear it, I think that ‘to cut off’ is literally what it means.” So we can think of it as cutting off or removing the misdeed from our mindstreams. He gave an analogy: “It is like a cancerous tumor. When someone has cancer, you do not kill that person, but remove the tumor. You don’t kill the whole person because they have cancer.” If we can remove the bad parts, whether it is a cancer in the body, or a misdeed in the mindstream, “they cannot fester and grow.” the Karmapa explained, “and they will be cut off from maturing in the future.”
    “It is important to distinguish between the person and the act,” His Holiness reiterated. “It does not fit with the Dharma to call someone a bad person. [We have to realize] that person was not at fault, but under control of their afflictions.” We ourselves, as well as other individuals, are similar to the moon that has been obscured by clouds. Once the clouds of the afflictions have been cleared away, our brightness is apparent again.
    Another piece of helpful advice that the Karmapa gave, was regarding the times when we have doubts about whether we can give up certain misdeeds or not. “We need to make a distinction between the wish to resolve and refrain from something and actually being able to do so.” Making the heartfelt aspiration to stop committing bad deeds, is beneficial, even if at times, one is unable to keep that promise. His Holiness explained: “If the wise commit even a large misdeed, it can be purified or diminished. But for an ignorant person who does not know how [to confess and purify their misdeeds], even a small misdeed will grow larger.” From the Karmapa’s teaching today, we learn the immense value there is in contemplating our past wrongs and misdeeds. Attempting to resolve never to do them again has great power and benefit, even if one is not always successful. Making the effort to resolve is better than not attempting at all.

    http://kagyuoffice.org/the-gyalwang-karmapa-discusses-the-power-of-remorse-for-purification/

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    January 31, 2016-Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
    During the 18th day of teaching at the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, the Gyalwang Karmapa taught on the practice of purifying misdeeds, based on The Ornament of Precious Liberation by Gampopa. In particular, the Karmapa focused today on developing the confidence that it is possible to purify all our misdeeds through the practice of confession.
    “Here it’s quite possible that we have a doubt,” the Karmapa said. “The reason is that up until now we have done innumerable misdeeds, so how is it that just one little confession in this life can actually purify all of our misdeeds? If we do not have complete confidence in the antidote of confession, then it has less power to purify our misdeeds.”
    In response to this, the Karmapa mentioned a commentary explaining that the Buddha taught about both misdeeds and the possibility of purifying them. So it doesn’t make sense to believe one of these but not the other. “If we believe the words of the Buddha that a misdeed is a fault,” the Karmapa said, “then we also should believe the Buddha that if we apply the antidote we can purify that fault.”
    The Karmapa also explained why virtues are stronger than nonvirtues. “Even a minor virtuous action is able to destroy a mountain of misdeeds as large as Mount Meru,” said the Karmapa. “I think the reason for this is that unlike virtues, unvirtuous thoughts, such as those of greed, anger and delusion, are actually erroneous and not in harmony with the way things actually are. They don’t fit with the nature of things, or you could say they are not supported by how things actually are. Virtuous intentions, on the other hand, have the support of the truth—an actual basis, a true support—and for that reason virtue becomes more powerful. These are some of the many reasons why even a minor virtue can destroy a heap of misdeeds.”
    Having explained that it is possible to confess our misdeeds, the Karmapa also warned against becoming careless in our actions. He likened misdeeds to tuberculosis—just because there is medicine for it doesn’t mean we should disregard it.
    Shifting the topic slightly, the Karmapa also explained what it means to create the karma of rejecting the Dharma, and how to avoid doing so. The karma of rejecting the Dharma occurs if we think that something that is not the Dharma is the Dharma, or if we think that the Dharma is not the Dharma. The Karmapa said starting to have a sectarian bias for one tradition or lineage can become the basis for rejecting the Dharma. “Thinking that foundation vehicle or other traditions are not the Dharma is rejecting the Dharma,” the Karmapa said.
    Earlier in the teaching, the Karmapa also briefly discussed the upcoming commemoration for the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa, which will take place on February 14. The Karmapa explained how one of the 16th Karmapa’s greatest activities was reprinting the Dege edition of the Kangyur and distributing it to all the monasteries of the different traditions. In honor of this activity of the 16th Karmapa, the commemoration this year will feature the unveiling of a reprinted edition of the Jang Kangyur, both in paper and online form. The Karmapa explained how the Jang Kangyur was the first edition of the Kangyur to be printed in a Tibetan region, and that most of the original woodblocks are now gone. “This is an important and precious edition,” he said, “and our hope is that in reprinting it the will help to revive teachings in danger of being lost.”


    http://kagyuoffice.org/the-gyalwang-karmapa-teaches-on-developing-confidence-in-the-power-of-confession/

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    Gyalwang Karmapa will teach the Kadampa master Potowa’s Long Soliloquy during the actual Monlam from February 16 to 19.



    33rd Kagyu Monlam Program

    Tibetan/English/Chinese 


    The Long Soliloquy
    by Geshe Potowa (1027–1105)



    I prostrate to the gurus of the three times. 

    Since beginningless time, we have wandered in the great ocean of suffering, the three realms of samsara. This is because we have not realized our own mind. We have not realized our own mind because of the obscurations. The obscurations come from not knowing that we should gather the accumulations. Not knowing to gather the accumulations is from lacking faith. We lack faith because of not recalling death. Now that, because we fear the suffering of samsara, we want to achieve liberation and omniscience, we must realize the mind. To realize the mind, we must purify the obscurations. To purify the obscurations, we must gather the accumulations. To gather the accumulations, we must have faith. But true faith will not arise if we do not recall death.

    When you truly remember death and think that nothing other than Dharma will help, you will pay no heed to any of the bounties of world. At that point, you will have no greed even in the depths of your heart for material things or necessities. Having genuinely lost all attachment to friends and associates, you will curry favor with no one.

    Have no ambitions for old age. I think that, without any thought of living until you are old, you should have no concern at all for whether you will be happy or sad in old age, whether people will respect you, whether you will have enough food and clothing, or whether people will criticize you. You should think, “Let people do as they will” and have no thought for the ways and means of this life. You should think, “Whatever will be in this life will be,” and leave it to karma. One arrow cannot kill two deer. One dog cannot bite both your ankles. You cannot sew with a two-pointed needle. If you step forward with one foot and back with the other, you will never get where you are going. Likewise you cannot accomplish both this life and the next, and the next and following lives are more important. Thus you must practice Dharma genuinely.

    When you truly remember death, all things will be like hay heaped before a carnivore. When the suffering of samsara truly nauseates you, the thought will frequently occur to you that you need nothing at all. At that time, your mind will genuinely turn away from ambitions for this life, and your attitude will be completely incompatible with anyone else’s. When I see people only doing things to become great and get good things in this life, I wonder, “What are all these people thinking in their hearts?”

    Many people have been concerned for me and given me advice—“Don’t be like that. You’ll have trouble when you are old. Keep a few things; it will aid your spiritual practice. You need to nock and shoot your own arrow.” To them I say thank you; your advice to me may be true. But I have never thought they were concerned for me. Instead, I have felt even more depressed and disgusted—none of them think about the Dharma. It might be so if we were not to die, but death is certain. We do not know when we will die. What will you do if you die while still accumulating things? After you die, you could practice Dharma if you are reborn human, but you don’t know where you will be reborn or go after death.

    Death is certain, so resolve to practice the Dharma. You do not know when you will die, so resolve not to procrastinate about the Dharma. Nothing else will help at the time of death, so resolve to not be attached to anything. Furthermore, it is said you should be like a traveler returning to his homeland. Sensory pleasures should be like jewelry is to a man being led to his execution. You should be as if mortally wounded. It is said:

    If I am to go elsewhere alone,
    What good are all those I like or dislike? …

    I wonder whether they understand this and get depressed. I think about what they will do if they die tomorrow, and feel compassion for them.

    Being Dharma practitioners, we should advise nondharmic people, “Don’t do that; practice Dharma,” and so forth. We should advise those who are dharmic that sentient beings should train in the higher qualities. It is better to keep discipline than to practice generosity, meditation is better than studying, and so forth. It is necessary to train in these higher qualities.

    When I say this, some people say, “While we are ordinary beings, we cannot develop what is taught in the Dharma in our beings. Now we are so-called aspiring practitioners.” If it won’t arise in your beings now, it will be even less likely to arise if you are born a dog in your next life. It is less likely still if you are reborn as an ox, donkey, or animal or in another of the eight states that lack leisure. Even now, you cannot get your mind to do anything if your body is even slightly indisposed. So I think there is no better time than now to practice the Dharma. It is always difficult to be an accomplished master or perfect. Now we must go on our aspirations.

    “Mara” does not mean some external dark-skinned and grotesque being. It means the inability to develop the higher qualities despite your own good intentions and good companions. I have understood that remembering death alone is the critical point for practicing Dharma from your heart. If you do not recall death, all your listening, contemplating, and meditating and all the difficult austerities such as mountain retreats, sealed retreats, alms, solitude, eating only once per day, and so forth that you do, will go toward how much merit you can generate for this life, how much people will respect you, how much gain and fame will come, and your ambitions for this life. They will not become the Dharma. If water does not enter the top of the channel, it will not come out the bottom. If the arrow has no nock, you can load the bow and shoot it anyway, but it will not go where you want it to. Similarly, Dharma cannot become the path if you do not remember death.

    I have had some experience in the meantime. When you truly remember from your heart that you will die, you will be able to give up on this life. For the first time, you will have laid the genuine foundation for the Dharma. You have reached the beginning of the path. The water has entered the top of the channel. You will not have difficulty developing qualities. You have a good internal cause for it, so you will practice the Dharma properly and adversity will be unable to impede you. You will be able to practice as taught in the Dharma. If you do not turn your mind away from this life, you may be able to explain everything found in Dharma texts or enter the gate of the Mahayana Secret Mantra and practice unified nonduality, but you will not be any different from an ordinary layperson.

    For this reason, Lord Atisha, summing up the essential meaning of all the scriptures, taught the three types of persons, the lesser, middling, and greater. Among those, the lesser type of person turns their mind away from this life and practices the Dharma from fear of the lower realms in the next life. But there is no way to bring people to develop within themselves even the qualities of a lesser person. This is because people make a Dharma connection such as refuge or bodhichitta with a spiritual friend, but later they will not call him their master out of respect. They think that if they call him their master, others will criticize them, so they keep it secret. If someone asks them, “Isn’t that your master?” they reply, “I only took refuge and bodhichitta with him.” That is failing to understand that refuge and bodhichitta are the root of the entire Dharma, so it is an extremely grave fault. I have found qualities in every word spoken by those from whom I have received Dharma. The only thought that has occurred to me is that I could never buy it for money.

    Thus there are few who have turned their minds away from this life. Many say they are bodhisattvas, but I wonder whether really they are focused on this life. I think about what I would do if I were to die tonight and have never considered any ambitions for tomorrow and thereafter. Because of that, I have understood the critical points of Dharma. That alone is also the greatest sustenance for meditation. I have thought it would be so for others, too, but when I tell them, their attitudes have never been compatible with mine. They worry about me, and I get discouraged about them.

    Generally, if you do not have some conviction, even knowing a lot of Dharma will not help. They worry that I won’t perfect the accumulations and say, “Aren’t you being a bit extreme?” to make me regret it. Isn’t that one of the black dharmas, making someone regret something they should not regret? The sutras say that if you rejoice in the virtue another has done, you gain half of the virtue. Do they not understand that?

    When I say that, some say, “We are not saying you are wrong; we are giving you advice from concern.” It depresses me that concerned people give such advice. It is evidence that they have no other thought than that. I find it astounding. In actuality, they are saying, “Do whatever you can to not be liberated from samsara.” Even if they are concerned, I will not listen.

    I have made Dharma connections with some who are said to be great meditators or venerable scholars with great knowledge of the Dharma. With some of them, when we tell each other our stories, our attitudes have not been at all compatible. I felt no desire to converse freely with them and let them prattle on as they wish. Even those said to be good practitioners gather enough food and clothing so that they will not depend on anyone else, saying, “I don’t want to depend on anyone for food in this life.” They think they will go stay in a monastery in some fine valley where there is no need to accumulate misdeeds and do as much spiritual practice as they can. There are no more than just one or two practitioners who think, “Let this life turn out as it will.”

    In my opinion, we must flee the suffering of samsara that is to be eliminated. We must accumulate incalculable accumulations to achieve the result, perfect buddhahood. I think we must practice whatever is said to be the greatest merit. If even when selling something such as woolen cloth, we let the other win by four or five pounds without them knowing, I think it will bring great merit.

    When I say this, others say it is taking a loss without any return. It would be better to give, they say. Dharma practitioners should not actually want any return and should take delight when other beings, who are like their father and mother, win instead of themselves. If they are not like that, there is no way they will awaken to buddhahood. It is also the opposite of meditating on the four immeasurables. In order to achieve buddhahood, you should be able to give even your body and life if it will benefit sentient beings, not to mention giving away possessions. How could a practitioner who loses a couple of nights’ sleep when they suffer a small loss on their merchandise help anyone else? They are causing themselves great harm.

    For example, when people offer tea to the monks of one valley on one morning, someone else might say they have gained merit, and they will think they have done something virtuous. But then they stay in a valley or monastery where many people have gathered. They buy when goods are plentiful and sell when they are scarce. They do not sell at the going rates, or use quarts, ounces, and accepted measures; they keep on pushing until they achieve their wishes, not giving up until others are left powerless and unhappy and their own hopes are fulfilled. This is not just one or two people. It is all beings in the ten directions. It is not just for one day, one month, or one year. They do it their whole lives. In brief, they feel good if they do something virtuous for one morning but do not feel even a moment’s discomfort for spending their entire lives accumulating misdeeds. I wonder what kind of a mind they have? What assurance could they have?

    The way that they have come under the control of ego-clinging and desire, there’s no need to speak of them being liberated in the misdeeds’ lack of inherent existence. First of all, they haven’t even heard that the misdeeds ripen as rebirth in the three lower realms in the next life. Even if they have heard, they do not think of it. Instead, without shrinking from ill-repute in this life and suffering in the next, they are able to sacrifice everything—their body, life, and Dharma—if it seems they might gain some riches. They deserve our compassion. That is the epitome of wallowing in the causes of suffering.

    I have been to some present-day monasteries and asked them how many fine individuals they have there. They say there are a few. When I ask what they are like, they do not say they are learned, venerable, good, endowed with qualities, or realized, or that they benefit others greatly. I ask who they are, and they tell me about individuals who have gold and turquoise, horses and cattle, and farms and property, who have this many retainers and servants, or that many possessions. They are the life blood of the monastery; the one named this and the one named that are good people, they say. What they call being good is being wealthy, so they must be desirous and interested only in this life. Being very wealthy is usually a sign of not shying away from misdeeds, suffering, or ill-repute. Such a monastery could never be a setting for true Dharma practice. You should leave that place just as a bird leaves a lake when it freezes.

    Generally this attachment and greed for the five sensory pleasures leads to lasting suffering in the end. Thus even if you were to help others a little, you would need the result to come to you in this life, and there would be no difference between you and all those who have not even turned their attention toward philosophy. Therefore, anyone who wants to practice Dharma should not expect any favors or reciprocation in return for helping others, who would then think that they needed to repay the favor. If they failed to reciprocate, it is possible that you would get angry, and they would feel ashamed or inadequate, and go astray. Anyone who wants to practice should not give even their fellow practitioners food with the strings of this life attached. If others give it to you, do not eat it. In the end, it will become a back and forth of food that will eventually cause you to lose the Dharma.

    Furthermore, instead of bringing their minds to the Dharma, all practitioners gather wealth for fear of being badly off in old age. They make people feel good and look for some insurance. This comes from not developing certainty in the Dharma. If you believe in the Dharma, there is no better insurance than Dharma. If you practice Dharma properly, you will have no fear of being badly off when you are old.

    Generally, if we consider those who seem to have confidence that they will live to an old age and have the ambition to do something that might help themselves at that time, in the next lifetime they definitely will experience only the sufferings of samsara. They should make ready some provisions, insurance, or anything that will help with their ambitions for the next life. Instead, they simply act as if old age in this life will happen only to them and the suffering of the next solely to their hostile enemies. Not even Dharma practitioners have thought this through. Not having contemplated the Dharma, they only bring pointless suffering upon everyone, themselves and others. Who could bear to think about them still being like that?

    Some say they lack the provisions for Dharma practice and don’t practice, but they find the provisions for committing misdeeds and automatically do them. This is because rich monks in monasteries have never contemplated death and the suffering of samsara, and you important people seem to be responsible. I say they are giving up a small household and taking up a big one. What they do is Dharma, but their ego-clinging is even tighter than a householder’s. This is a sign of wandering in samsara, but they do not understand that. Not finding the provisions to practice Dharma is due to not believing in the Dharma. They are afraid that practicing Dharma will make them suffer and hope that committing misdeeds will make them happy. Hoping to get their hands on some small something, they do whatever they think of in their hearts.

    When geshes teach others the benefits of generosity, they all say that possessions have no meaning, saying things that seem quite true. But their innermost thoughts are focused on wealth, and that is depressing. When the Dharma and their actual practice become incompatible, how will anybody want to come listen to them? It is a sign that they seek material offerings when they say to others, “Give alms. Do business. Amass things. If you don’t have a few things, the lama will not pay attention to you and all your friends will get angry.” Their words contradict the Dharma, and that dissipates their warmth.

    It is certain that actions and intentions always go together. The sign that their intentions are for this life is that their actions are to work on ambitions for this life. Those whose intention is a wish for emancipation do whatever will liberate themselves from samsara, and bodhisattvas do whatever bene- fit others. That is what they put into practice. We should act as is taught in the Dharma and teach it as we have practiced it ourselves. If we teach others without practicing it properly ourselves, we are like a leper practicing a garuda sadhana, and no one will come to listen.

    Geshes give their attention to those who are of good birth, rich, assertive, ambitious, able to get things done, good at whatever they do, and highly regarded by their friends and relatives. But they say that those with faith who seek Dharma from a fear of death are greedy and unreliable. “He’s ineffective, shallow, and unreliable,” they say. In addition to not helping them, their relatives, families, geshes, khenpos, masters, gurus, and companions despise them and try to get rid of them. Assertiveness, wealth, ambitiousness, and being well-connected are antithetical to achieving enlightenment. Those who practice Dharma and are humble see profit, fame, possessions and sensory pleasures as enemies and faults. Geshes who consider those who have given up on this life to be incapable and will not help them, while paying attention to the wealthy, outspoken, and connected, are not true spiritual friends. An authentic spiritual friend, as described, “Teaches beings the Dharma without material offerings.” Thus they should pay attention to those who practice Dharma properly.

    A good monk is someone who is fearful of death, diligent, uninterested in this life, and intelligent, and who trusts the Dharma fully. This is because we are fleeing samsara and accomplishing perfect buddhahood. We have faith in the Buddha and seek the Dharma. Those who are very assertive, competent, and ambitious are going further and further away from buddhahood. Thus becoming skillful from today onward in the methods of progressing to buddhahood itself is what we should call ambition. That is what we should call assertiveness. That is what we should call being good at what you do. In terms of a practitioner, that is also being learned. That is being venerable. That is also what is called being a good master. That alone is the method for achieving buddhahood swiftly. That is the abhidharma. That is the sutras. That is the vinaya. That is listening, contemplating, and meditating. That is also bringing together all the arduous austerities and all your capabilities to accomplish buddhahood.

    All the sutras, scriptures, and classes of tantra from The Verses on the Vinayaup to Guhyasamaja are Dharma for a single individual. They were taught with specific times and stages in mind; there are none that were said to be unnecessary. All the Dharma is the same. If we say “our Dharma” and “their Dharma” and then criticize someone else’s, we will be reborn in hell, it is said in The Noble EightThousand Verses.

    It is not right to talk about any individual. All Dharma is practiced through intention, and we do not know what their intentions are. When we look at people who are focused on this life, it might seem as if they only accomplish things for this life, but there are some who have no thought at all of their own desires and do all they can for the sake of other sentient beings. There are also those who say they are benefitting others but are accomplishing their own aims. Accomplishing one’s own aims can also be of benefit to others.

    Some say it is impossible to have no wishes, but the fault is in their own mind.

    Some say you need wealth only in order to truly practice Dharma. If you lack resources, you need to curry favor with others, but you will not need to if you have your own wealth. Therefore having a few things is an aid to the Dharma, they say. But none of them have thought about death. That is what someone who has not gained certainty in the Dharma says. If you do not truly think of and recall death from your heart, the Dharma will never happen. If you do genuinely recall death, there is no way you could bear it mentally. At that point how could you have any desire to amass things?

    Some reply that they will use their wealth until they die, and then whoever wants it can take it. These are exactly what I call people who are focused on this life. They may have their own wealth and may not need to curry favor with others, but it is certain none of those practitioners will ever practice better than they do now. One needs to put up with a few hardships to achieve perfect buddhahood. When you buy a large gemstone, you need to put up your own money, collateral, and an additional amount. There is no point in them knowing much Dharma. There is no point to profound oral instructions, either.

    When you meet a good guru, your mind will likely become the dharmakaya. Now is the time to look for a good guru, but some say, “What good will going to see a guru do? It would be better to fake meditating.” Many people talk like that. You need to gather incalculable accumulations to meet a good guru, so what good will it do to not look now and instead keep faking it? If you meet a good guru, you will develop samadhi through the guru’s blessings. Because of that, you will realize your mind and awaken to buddhahood. But some would rather not be criticized than awaken to buddhahood.

    Generally Dharma does not come from ambitiousness and assertiveness. Dharma depends upon faith, diligence, and prajna. Those gathered around a spiritual friend should be there to see how much they can direct their minds toward the Dharma, not to see who is the most ambitious, who the most assertive, and who the biggest swindler.

    There are those who, when a spiritual master compassionately gives a profound Dharma teaching, do not call that compassionate, but if he gives something material they do say he has been compassionate. These days they criticize those who go looking for a guru and pith instructions. When someone gets a loan of two bushels, those who care for him say, “Things are working out for you over there. You should go there. In the meantime, I’ll look after your house.” But that is a mistake.

    That we will have to leave everything good behind and go off alone is not some tale we have heard, without knowing whether it is true or not. It is plain to see now that people, their eyes agape, leave absolutely everything behind and go. Yet those who are clever, assertive, and ambitious do not sense this. Even old folks who have reached the age of eighty have ambitions for this life. All those with shallow dispositions who act on short-term happiness have little character. You may say you won’t be happy when you are old, but if you only act on ambitions for this life, you will be even less happy in the next.

    Some say that you cannot include death in discussions. If you do not include death in your discussions, then you will only think that you won’t die. Your thoughts will only be of this life, so you will think, “Today I’ll do this. Tomorrow I’ll do that. Next year I’ll do this. I’ll do that in my old age.” These are only thoughts of this life. Practitioners should do the opposite and not include immortality in their discussions. Then you can make preparations for death.

    Our mind should be comfortable at the time of death. We must leave everything good from this life behind and go, so worldly abundance is incompatible with being a practitioner. Now we admire worldly people and they admire us back. But being incompatible with the worldly means that instead of admiring them, we should turn our backs on them. Merely not getting married does not help. You must turn your back on the eight worldly concerns.

    Gathering merit means that your mind becomes the Dharma, not that you are well-respected or have good clothes. You might be sick with leprosy, blind with your hands and feet amputated, your clothes so badly tattered no one could take hold of them, but if your mind becomes Dharma, that is called accumulating merit.

    Nowadays everyone seems to call those who are good at accruing wealth men and women of good character. But I have seen many amass wealth and then die. Even animals know very well how to gather wealth—marmots know very well how to gather caches of tubers, bees gather honey, pikas stack hay, and birds construct their nests. If you are generous instead, you will not be born as a hungry ghost, and when born in another realm, you will not be poor, as is said in the Verses Summarizing Prajnaparamita.

    We praise having ambitions for old age, but it would be better to sow a long-lasting crop to that same degree by practicing the Dharma properly. To say you understand the Dharma is to say that you know the methods to achieve buddhahood. The words are not the point. Instead of saying you have knowledge of the path, it is better to embark on the path and go. If you do not start practicing right now, you may think that you will meditate after you have made all your preparations, but that time will never come. You will use up your whole life preparing.

    Some say that tantra and the vinaya are exclusive of each other, but they have misunderstood. If something occurs that is an inappropriate basis for the mantra, it is not the vinaya. If something occurs that violates the vinaya, it is a sign of it not being the secret mantra. To reap harvests in the fall you must sometimes irrigate the field and sometimes you must till it and make furrows. In doing so, you concentrate all your efforts, and the furrows yield a crop.

    Geshes who know Dharma well all love to talk. They do not initially practice Dharma out of a fear of death. They study and learn, thinking that they should at least avoid being criticized by people, be well-respected, and be called a teacher, elder, bhikshu, or geshe. Then the monastery’s stewards and insiders will have to curry favor with them. They take full ordination and pretend to be especially venerable so that everyone will call them practitioners. They first study the scriptures a bit, get a few pith instructions, and then say they practice meditation. They make use of various methods to gain a higher position in the ranks than anyone else and have jostling crowds exclaim, “What an amazing geshe!” Such geshes and so forth are focused on the hubbub of fame and lack any of the causes and conditions for liberation from samsara.

    What good is a teacher learned in Dharma that is not an antidote for the five poisons? What can cure an illness that cannot be remedied by medicine? What will high regard, good management, and work do for you if you have not extinguished your own wishes and developed conviction in karmic results deep within? What will acting venerably do for you if you are not revolted by samsara and sensory pleasures? Who can fool the Lord of Death’s mirror of karma? What good is a geshe who doesn’t even have a smidgen of bodhichitta or altruism and really desires the eight concerns? Who will you appoint your helper and friend in sorrow when you experience the ripening of your wrong actions as suffering? You should have thought differently and avoided pursuing only sensory pleasures and greatness in this life, but you did not. You have not done whatever you could to develop the Dharma in your own or anyone else’s being. You have not tried to focus your attitude on the immediate, and that is at fault. You should, like noble Sadaprarudita, want nothing but buddhahood.

    Making this life most important and practicing Dharma on the side will not work, but no one will listen. If you do not recall death, you will do whatever is most profitable in this life. You will even be able to violate your guru’s commands if they do not measure up to your ambitions. If it seems it will profit you in this life, you will pretend to be so faithful and so devoted to the guru. Deep down, this annoys me.

    The verse “So hard to gain, these leisures and resources…” should be enough on its own, but no one realizes that. They don’t even seek the Dharma. They hope for the merit of the Dharma from their knowledge of the profane. That is profoundly mistaken, but they do not understand. They deserve sympathy. 

    If you do not turn your mind away from this life, your fear of being badly off in old age will prevent you from being generous. Even to keep discipline, you must have no desires, but fearing being badly off in old age breeds desire. Therefore without eliminating desires for this life, you will not perfect the accumulations, so it is important to give up on this life. It is important to give up on this life. It is important to give up on this life, I say three times. This contains all the crucial points of the Dharma. This is how you should distinguish samsara and nirvana. All lasting ambitions begin with this. This suppresses all faults. The foundations of all joy and goodness must be laid on this. It is crucially important to abandon all thoughts of this life. You have no chance if you do not. They are what get you into all suffering, so you must eliminate them in whatever way you can.

    Before we start to practice Dharma, none of us practitioners have much attachment to wealth and things, and we seldom yearn for those close to us. We do not want to pay attention to work or tasks. But once someone enters the Dharma, they make profane ambitions the most important. They show up for the detailed work and when it’s time to be stingy. Even if they cannot do anything else, they spread the word, speak badly, and bear bad omens. At the very least, they act as the messenger. They go into excessive detail on their possessions, and when doing business, they will go to a degree too difficult for anyone else. When made to practice the Dharma, what they think of is riches. They only do what they are not made to. This, too, is because of not remembering death.

    If you practice Dharma properly, your enemies will all be dear to you. It will make all those close to you feel good. All the buddhas and bodhisattvas grant their blessings to that. This satisfies the wishes of all the gurus and spiritual friends. The gods and Dharma protectors will fulfill all your ambitions, and all your intentions will be accomplished as you wish. Therefore understand that your mind becoming Dharma alone is the most critical point. You must know how to bring all the Buddha’s words and classes of scriptures to bear upon your mind alone.

    Those who currently are the equals or superiors of their peers, who are eminent and well-known, may seem prominent now, but they too will definitely die. When they die, there will be a difference. 

    To bring it together and wrap it up, we must have no regrets at the time of death. When we are stricken with a fatal illness and know we will not escape, it is too late to say, “I am not destined to die like this. I have something better to do than this. If this old ghost doesn’t die, I really will genuinely practice the Dharma.” Therefore stoking the fires of desire now is no help. We are wandering in samsara but have the opportunity to awaken to buddhahood. This brief life will definitely run out. Therefore we must give up on this life and genuinely practice the Dharma.

    Even though I do not think it will help anyone else, I could not help but say this to myself. If this was not from the heart, punish me.

    This was Guru Potowa’s Long Soliloquy, the ultimate evidence of practicing the Dharma.


    http://www.kagyumonlam.org/Download/TEXT/33rd_Monlam_Program/Long%20Soliloquy%20English.pdf


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    IANS  |  Bodh Gaya 
    The announcement came on the last day of the Third Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering here, an annual three-week event that the Karmapa started in 2013.
    Noting tremendous improvement in the nuns’ study and debate skills, and a visible increase in their confidence, an official statement quoting the Karmapa said: “Nuns are future holders of the Buddha dharma. This education will help prepare you to fulfill that great responsibility.”
    This historical town in Bihar is considered the birthplace of Buddhism.
    The planned monastic college will offer educational opportunities to laywomen as well as to Buddhist nuns.
    In presenting his planned steps to increase the intensity of the nuns’ scholarly training and debate skills, the Karmapa told over 400 nuns from nunneries across the Himalayas, “I believe you are ready”.
    The three-week event included daily discourses by the Karmapa himself especially for nuns, intensive study and formal debate sessions, as well as special pujas and meditative practices.
    As head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the 17th Karmapa teaches millions of Buddhists around the world.
    The Karmapa created an eco-monastic movement with over 55 monasteries across the Himalayan region acting as centres of green activism.
    In the Tibetan religious hierarchy, he is considered the third-most important religious head after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.


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    February 2, 2016-Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India

    Following the final day of teachings at the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, the Gyalwang Karmapa presided over a full-day Chö puja with all the participating nuns. The text that was chanted is called Chö: A String of Jewels and was composed by the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje.
    Since the time of the 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, who wrote the first commentary on Chö and who also compiled the text of this puja, the Karmapas have had a strong connection with the Chö practice. Historically they are holders of the direct Chö lineage, based on the Indian Buddhist deity Prajñāpāramitā, who is known as both the mother of all the Buddhas and the embodiment of wisdom.
    Chö, which means “to sever or cut” in Tibetan, ultimately aims to cut through the ignorance of self-grasping that is the root of all our suffering, using the wisdom that realizes emptiness. It is renowned among the eight practice lineages of Buddhism as being the only lineage established by a woman, the great female master Machik Labdrön and the only one to pass from Tibet to India. Female practitioners have been known to traditionally excel in Chö practice.
    Starting at daybreak long lines had formed outside the shrine entrance of people eager to participate in the puja. Many monks and lay people lined the outer and back rows of the shrine, as well as filled the space on the veranda surrounding the shrine. There were also many people in attendance clothed in the white and red ngagpa robes of lay tantric practitioners. In total it is estimated around 1000 people were in attendance.
    The day was full of color and the beautiful melodies of the Chö. The Karmapa sat on the central throne, wearing his yellow outer monastic robe (chögu) and presiding for the entire day as Dorje Lopön, or vajra master. Hundreds of nuns sat in rows of raised platforms and carpets facing each other, also wearing their yellow outer robes. Nearly all the nuns also played the special Chö drums and bell used in the practice, filling the space with the green circles of the turning drums as well as the rhythmic sound. At points in the puja the haunting sound of kangling horns reverberated through the air, evoking the severing of gross attachment to the physical body that informs this practice.
    As with all the practices performed during the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, the nuns took the key roles in the puja, such as the chant masters, and the musicians playing the large puja drums and other instruments. During the afternoon’s feast offering, a group of nuns, facing the Gyalwang Karmapa and each holding up a feast offering, offered him a song.
    The ritual concluded around 5pm and created a perfect preparation for the arrival of Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche who came soon after. Several lines of nuns, monks, and laypeople lined both sides of the road and the pathway into the shrine. When he came, three nuns skillfully played the gyalings horns to lead the entrance party past many people holding katas to joyfully greet this precious master.


    http://kagyuoffice.org/gyalwang-karmapa-presides-over-a-day-of-cho-puja/

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    February 7    
      13:30 - 17:30 • Four-Armed Mahakala Puja Day 3
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    February 3rd 2016- Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
    The Third Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering was brought to a close. The nuns began by chanting the opening prayers in Sanskrit, the sacred language of ancient India. Behind His Holiness the Karmapa was a thangka of a standing Avalokiteshvara, holding a lotus flower in his left hand and raising his right hand, from which emanated an image of Ananda, a disciple and cousin of the Buddha. The nuns sang praises to the Buddha, Avalokiteshvara, Ananda, and Mahaprajapati Gautami, the step-mother of the Buddha, who raised and cared for the Buddha after his mother passed away seven days after he was born. It was Mahaprajapati Gautami who first beseeched the Buddha to allow women to enter the sangha. After the Buddha initially declined—as the Karmapa explained earlier during the Arya Kshema Gathering, allowing women to enter the monastic order during that particular period of Indian history was considered a radical move—Mahaprajapati Gautami then approached Ananda to convince the Buddha to allow her and other women to go forth and enter the Sangha.
    This morning, the nuns engaged in a Ritual Practice for the Dharma to Flourish in Women’s and Especially Nuns’ Communities, composed by His Holiness. Here one finds that women should supplicate Ananda, bring him to mind and praise him, and Ananda will protect and remove obstacles for women who sincerely wish to practice the Dharma. The sadhana states, “Whether they are male or female, they will accomplish all mundane and supramundane needs in this and all future lives.”
    Reciting the text, repeating again and again the words selected by the Karmapa to demonstrate clearly women’s ability to attain enlightenment, created great faith and inspiration among the nuns and the members of the audience. Many were moved to the point of tears. With gratitude in their hearts, nuns and laywomen looked to the Karmapa who had the unwavering conviction that they could attain ultimate fruits of liberation through the study, practice, and discipline in the Dharma. The supplication began as follows:
      I always prostrate at the feet of the Bhagavan Arhat,
      Completely perfect Buddha Shakyamuni.
      I make offerings and go for refuge.
      Please grant your blessings.
      I always prostrate at the feet of Noble Ananda.
      I make offerings and go for refuge.
      Please grant your blessings.
      I always prostrate to Noble Manjushri
      And the other male and female bodhisattvas.
      I make offerings and go for refuge.
      Please grant your blessings.
      I prostrate to Noble Mahaprajapati and her entire retinue of arhats,
      To Noble Ananda and the hosts of buddhas and bodhisattvas,
      I make offerings and go for refuge.
      Please grant your blessings.
    Interwoven with the words of praise and supplication to the founders of the women’s order, the practice also provides some narrative explaining the story:
      The mother Prajapati said this to the Bhagavan for the sake of all
      women in the future: “Venerable Bhagavan, in the future please allow
      those who have faith and long for the Buddhadharma to enter the teachings.”
      The Bhagavan spoke, “Excellent. I allow any woman who protects and upholds the Dharma and practices discipline, generosity, learning, and virtuous qualities to go forth. Or if she remains at home, to receive the
      Three Refuges and five precepts, to bring discipline to perfection,
      and to enter liberation as well as the branches of enlightenment. If she practices earnestly, she will achieve the three results and transcend the sorrows of gods and humans.”
    The sadhana further explains:
      Due to Ananda, women can enter the Buddha’s teachings.
      Gautami, in the future, bhikshunis and laywomen
      should always think of Ananda with their whole hearts.
      They should respect him, serve him, call him by name, and
      continually be grateful to him.
    The narrative continues: “Then Gautami said this to the bhikshunis and women, ‘We should ask Ananda for refuge and devote our lives to him.’”
    It is for this reason, the thangka depicting Avalokiteshvara and Ananda was displayed so prominently on the stage. It is said Avalokiteshvara himself emanated in the form of Ananda. Due to the intense faith of Mahaprajapati Gautami, the great kindness of Ananda and the Buddha, we have the women’s monastic order today. Over the course of the 2,500 years since the Buddha’s passing, the importance of these acts and the potential of women was forgotten and nuns’ roles were diminished. The Karmapa composed this practice for nuns, so that with the recitation of these words, the lives and stories of the female arhats could continue to inspire others. The sadhana closed with the following words of aspiration:
      May all and every woman in the world’s physical and mental
      harms and sufferings be pacified,
      And may they gain independence and complete powers and abilities.
      May all women who go forth, perfect the aggregate of discipline
      that pleases the Noble Ones, and perfect
      their teaching and study of the three baskets of scriptures and
      their meditation practice of the three trainings.
    With these noble aspirations, this final practice of the Third Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering came to conclusion. In the evening the Karmapa presided over an animated debate in which the nuns demonstrated a new self-assurance. After a report of the accounting, everyone who helped to make this third gathering a great success was thanked. The shrine hall was filled with joy, coming from a renewed hope and faith of women and nuns, encouraged by the Karmapa to have confidence in themselves, knowing that they can bring the teachings of the Buddhadharma into fruition.


    http://kagyuoffice.org/renewing-hope-for-many-the-gyalwang-karmapa-concludes-the-third-arya-kshema-winter-dharma-gathering/

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    February 1, 2016-Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
    On this last day of teachings on Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation, the Gyalwang Karmapa completed the reading transmission for the section of Preparation, which included rejoicing, requesting the buddhas to turn the wheel of Dharma, supplicating them not to pass into nirvana, and the dedication. The Karmapa noted that Chapter Nine is the longest in the text and that he would teach the actual ceremony for generating bodhichitta later.
    The Karmapa explained that we rejoice from the depth of our heart in the virtuous activities from the past, present, and future that anyone has performed: the buddhas of the ten directions, all the bodhisattvas, the self-realizing buddhas, the listeners who are on the paths of learning and nor more learning, and all individuals who have not entered the path. This rejoicing should be free of envy or it could be understood as nonconceptual. The benefit of rejoicing, the Karmapa explained, is to increase our own accumulation of virtue and also our delight in virtue itself. The Karmapa commented that rejoicing is a wonderful skillful means found on the path of the bodhisattva.
    The Listeners and Solitary Realizers, the Karmapa explained, have an intense wish for liberation from samsara and so they are able to release the bonds that tie them to it. This is not easy to do, he remarked, because the habits that bind are present from beginingless time, so we should see their liberation as wondrous and rejoice in it. Although ordinary individuals are bound up in their afflictions, they still can give rise to virtuous thoughts, even as small as offering a handful of food to an animal, so we should rejoice in this as well. All of these various types of virtues are as vast as the sky and we rejoice in all of them. The Karmapa added a caution here: If we are pleased by the suffering of people we consider enemies, that is the reverse of true rejoicing.
    The Karmapa related a story about rejoicing that involved the king Prasenajit, one of the Buddha’s great benefactors. The king was offering food for seven days to the Buddha and a large gathering. The Buddha asked the king, “On behalf of whom shall I dedicate the merit of this offering? The one who made the greatest material offering? Or to the one who has the greatest merit?” King Prasenajit replied, “To the one with the greatest merit.” And so for six days, the Buddha dedicated the merit to an old lady who was greatly rejoicing. This disturbed the king’s ministers no end, and so they contrived to distract the old lady on the last day. They were successful and her mind was so filled with various thoughts that she forgot to rejoice so the merit was dedicated to the king.
    The Buddha then counseled him, “You are a king and have much to do. It will be difficult to study all the six Perfections, but you can rejoice in virtue and offer this rejoicing to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas and then dedicate it to all living beings. Make rejoicing your practice, and you will become enlightened.” “If we really rejoice,” the Karmapa commented, “it will naturally delight our minds. This capacity to rejoice is a jewel treasury that we all naturally have.” If we are preoccupied with things and thoughts, however, like the old lady, we will not be able to rejoice.
    When the Karmapa turned to the fourth point of Preparation, requesting that the wheel of Dharma be turned, he discussed the importance of being free of bias in relation to any of the Buddha’s teachings; we should not cling to one and look down on others. There are some slight differences in tenets and ways of practicing in the different Tibetan schools, he noted, but in actuality they are essentially the same. For this reason it is important to look at them without attachment, aversion, or bias. The Karmapa quoted a verse from the first Dalai Lama Gendundrup (1391–1475) stating that there are many who consider themselves upholders of the teachings but also think of others who uphold the teachings as their main enemies. The Karmapa lamented that this is a very sad and distressing situation.
    To illustrate how it should be, the Karmapa spoke of Atisha’s teaching known as carrying the four corners of the teachings onto the path. The Karmapa explained this as freedom from bias towards any aspect of the teachings and gave the classic analogy of four people holding up the four corners of a blanket, making it easy to lift. He commented that Atisha may have been recalling the situation at the monastic university of Vikramalashila, where all the schools of Buddhism treated each other with mutual respect.
    The Karmapa gave another example illustrating how important and necessary all traditions of Buddhism are. Imagine, he said, a large copper vat filled with milk. It takes four people to lift up, using their strength equally so that the milk does not spill out. There may be some little difference between the four people but basically they are the same. Nevertheless, the Karmapa explained, if one of the four could not carry their side, the milk would spill out. And it would go out even faster if one of the four thought they could do the lifting on their own. So the four need to cooperate in the project of lifting the vessel, which the Karmapa explained as an analogy for the Buddha’s teachings being carried by different traditions. If one side tried to carry the entire vat and spilled the milk, the whole of Buddhism would be diminished; if even one of the other schools disappear, it means that Buddhism is disappearing, so everyone needs to work together. In sum, he said that if the teachings, which are the antidote for our afflictions, become the cause for afflictions to increase, we are finished, so we should consider this carefully.
    The Karmapa noted that the fifth point of the Preparation, supplicating the buddha not to pass away from the suffering world, and the sixth point of dedication are short and clear in Gampopa’s text and do not really need commentary. After giving a reading transmission for the Third Karmapa’s Mahamudra Prayer, which has been recited daily, the Karmapa closed by emphasizing the importance of both study and practice. During the Arya Kshema Winter Gathering, the nuns engaged primarily in study, he said, and they also made the offering of practice to please the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Some think, the Karmapa noted, that study and practice are somehow separate or that one is better than the other, but he affirmed that the purpose of study is to be able to practice, and practice helps when we study and contemplate; the two are inseparable.
    The Karmapa closed with the aspiration that through engaging in study and practice that the nuns would evolve into masters who could uphold, spread, and propagate the scriptures of the teachings and practice.

    http://kagyuoffice.org/cultivating-the-delight-of-rejoicing-and-the-freedom-from-prejudice/

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    Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya
    4 February, 2016



    The Tibetan Year of the Wood Sheep is drawing to a close. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, an extensive protector ritual–the Gutor Chenmo– is usually offered in the final week of the Tibetan year in order to clear away all obstacles before the new year begins. This year’s Gutor Chenmo is being offered to the Four-Armed form of the Dharma Protector Mahakala.

    Over the last few weeks, many people have worked intensively to finish the Monlam Pavillion in time for the beginning of the Gutor. The floor has been repolished and cleaned. Door and window mantels have been painted in traditional Tibetan style, and a great backdrop of the rising sun has been painted on the new back wall of the pavilion. Pleated drapes have been hung from the ceiling, and the central aisle has been carpeted in red. Twenty-four new thangkas depicting the yidam deities of anuttarayoga tantra have been hung to either side of the central aisle. These rare thangkas come from a series of paintings by the Eighth Kenting Tai Situpa, Choekyi Jugne (1700-1744). Twenty-seven of the original twenty-eight thangkas survive and are stored in a museum in China; the thangkas in the Monlam Pavillion were specially commissioned by His Holiness the  Karmapa for this year’s Gutor and Losar celebrations and are enlarged facsimiles printed to very high quality on canvas in Taiwan.

    The last preparation, completed on the morning of the puja itself, was the ceremony of ‘opening the eyes of the Buddha’. The Gyalwang Karmapa mounted the scaffolding around the new eighteen-foot high Buddha statue and carefully painted in the eyes before consecrating the image.

    In the afternoon at 3.00pm, His Holiness arrived in full ceremonial dress, wearing his black activity hat, the distinctive headwear of the Karmapa lineage, traditional brocade and white felt boots, a golden brocade waistcoat, and a chabluk (the square-shaped brocade container which hangs from the waist).  Finally, before taking his seat on the throne, he donned a heavy golden brocade dhagam or cloak.

    The Gyalwang Karmapa’s  simple  throne faced inwards, towards the booth of dark blue cloth which contains the special large Mahakala torma known as the dhö or  tor-gya (pronounced  ‘torja’), which would be burnt on the final day of the ritual. Usually this booth is kept closed, but the Vajra Master pulls aside the entrance curtains each day before the puja begins.  A thangka of Four Armed Mahakala hung from a pillar behind the booth.

    At a right-angle to the Gyalwang Karmapa’s throne stood the tiered offerings table, covered in a cloth of indigo edged with silver. A large Four-Armed Mahakala torma offering rose high above the upper tier. The lower tier held the eight traditional offerings argham, padyam, pushpe, dhupe, alokhe, gendhe, newidye, and shabdha, (pure drinking water, water for bathing, flowers, incense, light, food, scented water and music). However, because Mahakala is a wrathful deity the flowers, food and music had been replaced by special torma.

    In a protector ritual such as this one, it is usual to visualise one’s self as one of the meditational deities (Tib. yidam). As both are considered to share the same essential nature, the yidam deity associated with Four-Armed Mahakala is Chakrasamvara.  Thus, the focus in today’s preparatory practice was on Chakrasamvara and it began with a Chakrasamvara self-visualisation. The one used this afternoon can be traced back to 11th century India when Marpa the Translator visited Bodhgaya and received the transmission for this practice from the head lama at the Mahabodhi Stupa. Marpa brought the practice back to Tibet, where he passed it on to his main disciple, Jetsun Milarepa. Chakrasamvara became Milarepa’s main meditational deity and he transmitted the practice to his  disciple, Gampopa. In turn, Gampopa passed it on to his disciple Dusum Khyenpa, the first Karmapa, and thus it entered the tradition of the Karma Kagyu and the lineage of the Karmapas. This particular form of the practice was composed by the Eighth Karmapa, Mikyö Dorje (1507–1554).

    The afternoon also included a Short Practice to Four-Armed Mahakala and concluded with a ganachakra feast offering to Chakrasamvara.  As is the custom, the first tea offering and offering to the nuns and monks during the ritual was made by His Holiness the Karmapa and his administration.


    http://www.kagyumonlam.org/English/News/Report/Report_20160204.html

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    Monlam Great Encampment,
    7 February, 2016



    Inside the Gyalwang Karmapa’s golden tent in the center of the Great Encampment at the Kagyu Monlam, 17 nuns from six nunneries have been working from dawn until dusk making high quality Chinese-style incense almost entirely by hand. They have been in training every day for the past three weeks, since the beginning of the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering. Their training concludes today.  

    The nuns have been receiving the training from a professional Taiwanese incense maker named Ru-Ruei Chung. Chung met the Karmapa for the first time last year in Dharamsala, and told him about her experience as a Chinese-style incense maker. He invited her to come to teach the nuns how to make this type of incense, Chung explained, because it is much thinner and less smoky than Tibetan-style incense.

    Chung and all the nuns we spoke to praised the Karmapa for the care and attention he has devoted to this training. He helped to purchase the necessary equipment for making the incense, and also learned how to use it. On the first day of the training, the Karmapa translated for Chung from Chinese to Tibetan (on other days one of the nuns did the translating). He visited the nuns every day to check on their progress, and even offered the nuns the use of his personal golden tent in the encampment when the space they had been using in the Monlam Pavilion was needed for other Monlam-related activities.

    Only a few of the nuns had experience making incense before, and then only Tibetan-style. Of the six nunneries represented in the training, Thrangu Tara Abbey in Nepal is the only nunnery that currently sells incense. The nuns said they feel confident they could make this type of incense at their nunneries and also train others in how to make it.

    During the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, the nuns attended the Karmapa’s teachings each morning and trained in incense-making each afternoon. Since the teachings concluded a week ago, they have been making incense all day, sometimes from 7:00am until 6:30pm, in order to achieve the goal they had set themselves to complete 300 boxes of incense, each containing 60 sticks.  So with great determination, they collectively decided to work extra hours to complete this goal.

    The incense is made entirely from natural ingredients, including herbs and wood, and the materials were purchased from Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal. One Bhutanese nun commented that now she knows the type of leaf necessary, she could pick them herself in the Bhutanese highlands, where this type of plant is plentiful.

    While the nuns said making the incense isn’t difficult, it takes sensitive fingers and attention to detail to make the sticks straight and of a consistent size. To help each other stay focused and energized during the long days of production, the nuns have been bringing treats for each other from their different countries, such as Bhutanese toasted rice and candies from Nepal. “There have been lots of smiles,” Chung said.



    http://www.kagyumonlam.org/English/News/Report/Report_20160207.html

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    Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya,
    5 and 6 February, 2016



    By Friday morning, the beginning of the main practice, some noticeable changes had occurred at the pavillion. At 10.00pm the previous evening His Holiness the Karmapa had personally draped a golden silk robe over the Buddha statue. In addition, a gilded and decorated throne, higher and more ornate than the simple throne used on the first day, had been brought over from Tergar shrine room and now stood centre stage. A thangka of Four-Armed Mahakala hung over the offerings table which had been moved to the right of the Karmapa’s throne. The rows of maroon-clad monks and nuns had increased. Stretching out to either side behind the musicians and umzes, they now reached to the very edges of the pavillion.  At their head sat the Vajra Master Gyaltsen Namgyal and Chief Khenpo Lobsang Nyima, both from Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, which is preserving this Four-Armed Mahakala tradition at the behest of the 17th Karmapa.

    The puja began promptly at 6.00am when the umzes’ deep, slow chant of the prayer to Guru Rinpoche resonated across the huge auditorium for several minutes. Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Tibet and subdued native hostile forces, is always invoked at the beginning of yidam and protector practices. This was followed by the Chakrasamvara self-visualisation sadhana, visualisation of the 13 yidam deities, and then the main practice of Four-Armed Mahakala with torma offerings, using a text compiled by Karma Chakme, and including a short prayer composed by the 17th Karmapa.

    The Dharma protector Mahakala – the Great Black One - is seen as the wrathful aspect of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.  He is the King of the Dharmapalas, fierce and powerful, destroying negativity, clearing away obstacles, and eliminating adverse conditions.  He defends the Dharma from corruption and degeneration, destroys its enemies all forces hostile to it and, at the level of the individual practitioner, guides and protects them from all kinds of deception and delusion. For this reason, the Short Mahakala ritual is a daily practice in Karma Kagyu monasteries and nunneries.

    Mahakala has several forms. The two-armed form, Bernakchen, is the Dharma protector associated with the Karmapas and the Karma Kamtsang. The four-armed form is associated with all the lineages of the Marpa Kagyu, including the Karma Kagyu, the Drukpa Kagyu and the Drikung Kagyu, and is also important in the Nyingma tradition.  The six-armed form is important for Geluk practitioners.

    However, all the Mahakala practices in Tibetan Buddhism originate from Palchen Galo Namgyal Dorje, also known as Ga Lotsawa, who studied in India and brought back many precious Buddhist teachings including the Mahakala practices. He received two different transmissions: one from a Minyak lama in Bodhgaya and one from Abhayakaragupta, the great teacher from Vikramashila Monastic University, who also taught in Bodhgaya. Having received the empowerments and instructions, Palchen Galo went to what is known as the Mahakala Cave near Bodhgaya, practised intensively, and having accomplished the practice, had a vision of Mahakala. Returning to Tibet, he became the yongzin (tutor) of Dusum Khyenpa, and gave the transmission and instructions of the Mahakala practices to him. Thus, the practices entered the Karma Kagyu tradition.

    For some time, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa had wanted to offer a Four-Armed Mahakala practice at the Gutor Chenmo, and the decision to do that this year was made at the beginning of 2015, shortly after the 32nd Kagyu Monlam. According to His Holiness, to offer this practice in 2016, when monks, nuns and lay-practitioners had gathered in large numbers in Bodhgaya  before the Monlam, would benefit the Buddhist teachings, the teachings of the Karma Kamtsang in particular, and the activities of the Karmapas. Consequently, a letter was sent to all Kagyu monasteries and nunneries summoning them to Bodhgaya for the Gutor Chenmo and requesting them to complete their own Gutor either before they came or afterwards.

    Sustained by butter tea, sweet tea, hot watered milk, bread, rice porridge and wheat meal rolls, monks, nuns and lay-practitioners joined in the ritual for two days from 6.00am to 6.00pm, punctuated by a three hour lunch break. 

    On Saturday, however, the ritual was halted momentarily. Just after lunch, a small truck brought the body of a Tibetan woman, accompanied by several monks. The woman had come on pilgrimage from Nepal but had died near the Mahabodhi temple. For ten minutes, His Holiness the Karmapa led prayers especially for her and also for the happiness and welfare of all sentient beings. Then, the main puja resumed.

    For all who participate, the Mahakala Ritual is a most powerful and profound experience.
    The steady beat from the two seven-foot wide temple drums accompanied by that of hand-held drums, the deep bass voices of the chant masters, the marrow-curdling wail of the thighbone trumpets, the bellow of the horns, the alternating clash and susurration of the cymbals, all combine to transcend time and space, until Mahakala is there dancing in the flames, his burning sword cutting through perceived appearances and destroying ignorance.



    http://www.kagyumonlam.org/English/News/Report/Report_20160205.html

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    Click to view original size

    這是由 尊勝的第十七世大寶法王噶瑪巴鄔金欽利多傑 於201512月特別為 噶瑪巴千諾基金會而親題的《噶瑪巴千諾》。

    This 'Karmapa Khyenno' calligraphy was specially created by His Holiness 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje for Karmapa Khyenno Foundation in December 2015.




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    On February 9, 2016 

    In 2012 and 2015, there were credible reports that China was plotting to assassinate the Dalai Lama, which led to increased security.

    by Staff Writer, DalaiLamaFilm.com





    BODHGAYA, India – A female Chinese tourist threw a hard-covered book at Tibetan Spiritual Leader H.H. the 17th Karmapa as he left a special prayer venue near the Northeastern Indian city of Bodhgaya.

    The 30 year-old Tibetan Lama safely ducked the projectile, and the Chinese tourist, Zheng Manxin, was detained and is being questioned Indian police and Intelligence agencies.

    The incident took place yesterday, one km to the northwest of Mahabodhi Temple (“Great Awakening Temple”), which marks the site of Buddha’s enlightenment.

    Indian authorities reported that the language barrier is making questioning difficult, and that the Chinese suspect has been in Bodhgaya for some time with an Indian visa that expires next month.

    The Karmapa is in Bodhgaya giving teachings to thousands of students and followers from around the world.

    The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the head of the Kagyu “black hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism, and is considered the second most prominent Tibetan Buddhist Spiritual leader next to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

    The Karmapa escaped Chinese-occupied Tibet the age of 14, and after traveling through Nepal, arrived safely in Dharamsala, India on January 5, 2000 where the exiled 14th Dalai Lama (and the Tibet Government in Exile) make their home.

    In 1992, Dorje was recognized by the Dalai Lama as the 17th Karmapa.

    This latest bizarre book-throwing incident underscores the importance of heightened security for both the Karmapa and Dalai Lama.

    In 2015, an Indian media report stated that security had been increased around the Dalai Lama, “in view of the threat perception to his life” after arrests of several “Chinese spies.”

    The Dalai Lama confirmed in 2012 that he had received reports from inside Chinese-controlled Tibet that China was training Tibetan women in a plot to assassinate him.

    “We received some sort of information from Tibet,” the Dalai Lama shared with the British Telegraph newspaper.

    “Some Chinese agents training some Tibetans, especially women, you see, using poison – the hair poisoned, and the scarf poisoned – they were supposed to seek blessing from me, and touch my hand.”

    China recently stated that it had the authority to select the next Dalai Lama, but the Dalai Lama strongly rejected the Chinese assertion, affirming that the next Dalai Lama will be born outside of Chinese controlled territories, and that he may choose not reincarnate at all.

    The Dalai Lama escaped Tibet in 1959 after the China invaded and occupied his country, and Tibetans have been seeking independence and religious and culturing freedom since.

    http://www.dalailamafilm.com/chinese-tourist-throws-book-at-karmapa-underscores-security-dangers-for-dalai-lama-and-karmapa-2962

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    Monlam Pavillion, Bodhgaya
    7 February, 2016


    The Gutor Chenmo concluded on the twenty-ninth day of the twelfth Tibetan month, the penultimate day of the Tibetan year, and the day in each Tibetan month which is allocated for Dharmapala practice.

    The morning followed the usual pattern of Chakrasamvara self-visualisation followed by torma offerings to Four-armed Mahakala. After lunch everyone gathered back in the pavillion for the concluding rituals of the Gutor.  A murmur of surprised delight ran through the auditorium when people spotted that nine-year-old Bokar Rinpoche Yangsi had arrived and taken his seat on stage in the front row. (Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche were not present because they were leading the lama retreat for the accomplishment of the Practice of Amitayus the Three Roots Combined, in preparation for the long-life offerings at Losar.)

    First came a final session of offerings. In accordance with the traditions of the Gutor Chenmo, the Vajra Master, dressed as the Black Hat Lama, was escorted onto the stage to make the Golden Libation offering to the tor-gya.  

    Then came the expulsion ritual of the great torma which would be the ultimate offering. His Holiness dressed in his red pandit’s hat stood in front of the throne and led the chanting, assisted by Drupon Dechen Rinpoche who held up the text for him.

    With great ceremony the tor-gya was lifted on its base and escorted in procession out of the pavillion to a field near the north gate of the pavillion to be burnt. The procession was led by two pairs of monks playing dungchen – long, Tibetan horns.  Laymen dressed in chubas, red fringed hats and boots supported the weight of the horns on wooden yokes. They were followed by monks playing Tibetan trumpets and thigh bone trumpets, and monks beating hand-held drums in a steady rhythm.

    Meanwhile, from the stage, monks holding cymbals descended into the central aisle.  Turning first to the right, then to the left, they clashed their cymbals, making their way along the red carpet in a measured pace, as if in a slow dance.  Strips of colourful brocade attached to the backs of their dhagams swayed as they moved. Behind them came more musicians holding aloft green-skinned drums and monks holding texts to be recited during the ritual burning. Then came the tor-gya, swaying slightly as it was carried along by ten monks. These wore stylised maroon velvet caps rather like Nehru hats and had khatags bound across their mouths to prevent their breath falling on the sacred tor-gya.

    Behind the tor-gya came the victory banner of Mahakala and then the Black Hat Lama.
    Finally, an incense bearer, followed by monks playing gyalin, marked the approach of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, walking slowly, shadowed by the great golden umbrella which signifies both his kingship and the sheltering power of the Dharma.

    They left the Monlam Pavillion and processed  down the road to a walled-in field by the north gate of the Monlam site, making offerings along the route in order to ensure the removal of any obstacles along the way.

    In the far right corner of this field, a fifteen-foot triangular structure containing straw and dried leaves had been built, with a wide opening to receive the torma.

    Facing the torma, the Karmapa and the Vajra Master recited the concluding prayers, the culmination of the previous three days’ rituals: all possible negativities and anything that might harm the teachings or living beings were summoned and dissolved into the torma. The fire was lit, immediately spreading up and down the frame, consuming the dried palm fronds at the top, the loose straw at the bottom, and the torma inside. The Karmapa watched as the flames danced skywards, devouring the structure and the torma,  destroying  any hindrances and  negativities accumulated during the year, and creating an auspicious beginning for the Year of the Fire Monkey.


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    Webcast Link:


    33rd Kagyu Monlam Chenmo Indian Time
    Gyalwang Karmapa teaching from The Torch of True Meaning
    February 12 & 13
        8:00 - 9:00 • Vajradhara Lineage Prayer (272, 255)
    • Mandala Offering with 37 Features (613)
    • Teachings on The Torch of True Meaning
    Tea Break
        9:30 - 10:30 • Accumulation of Mandala Offerings
    • Aspiration of Mahamudra (353, 329)
    • Well-Being of Tibet (427, 382)
    Lunch Break
        14:00 - 15:00 • Vajradhara Lineage Prayer (272, 255)
    • Mandala Offering with 37 Features (613)
    • Teachings on The Torch of True Meaning
    Tea Break
        15:30 - 16:30 • Accumulation of Mandala Offerings
    • Aspiration of Mahamudra (353, 329)
    • Well-Being of Tibet (427, 382)
    Commemoration of the Sixteenth Karmapa
    February 14
        9:00 - 12:00 • The Melody of the Three Jewels performed by Nuns from Drupde Palmo Chökyi Dingkhang Nunnery in Bhutan
    • Introduction to the Jang Kangyur by The Gyalwang Karmapa and address by the Chief Guest, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang
    • Introduction to the Collected Works of the 16th Karmapa by Khenp o Kalsang Nyima 
    • Acknowledgement of Tashi Tsering

    • Introduction to Dharma King: The Life of the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa in Images by Venerable Lhundup Damchö
    • Acknowledgement of Lhundup Damchö
    • Thank you Speech by General Secretary Karma Chungyalpa
    • Tibetan Opera Performance by TIPA
    Lunch Break
        14:30 - 17:00 • Offering to the Guru, the Sixteenth Karmapa
    Monlm Day 1
    February 16
        6:00 - 8:30 • Mahayana Sojong Vows (3, S1)
    • Sanskrit Prayers (7, 17)
    • Refuge and Bodhichitta and following (31–42, 24–35)
    • Praises from the Sutra of Ornamental Appearances (43, 36)
    • Praises from Ornament of the Sutras and following (62–80, 55–72)
    • An explanation of The Sutra in Three Sections (10 min.)
    • The Sutra in Three Sections and follow- ing (81–97, 74–90)
    • The Dedication from the Light of Gold Sutra and following (106–116, 100–110)
    Tea Break
        9:00 - 10:30 • Mandala offering with thirty-seven features (613)
    • Supplication to the Lineage of the Bodhisattva Vow (274)
    • Teachings on Potowa’s Long Soliloquy
    • Meditation (5 min.)
    • Stages of the Path (341, 317)
    • The Concise Aspiration (169)
    •  Dedications for the Living and Deceased (170, 164–70)
    • The Dharani for the Fulfillment of Aspirations (175, 169)
    • The Aspiration for the Teachings to Flourish (621)
    Lunch Break
        13:30 - 15:00 • An explanation of The Noble Aspiration for Excellent Conduct (10 min.)
    • The Noble Aspiration for Excellent Conduct (117, 111)
    • Maitreya’s Aspiration (130, 124)
    • The Aspiration from The Way of the Bodhisattva (136, 130)
    Tea Break
        15:30 - 17:00 • The Accomplishment of True Words (333, 309)
    • Joy and Comfort for Beings (337, 313)
    • Stages of the Path (341, 317)
    • The Indestructible Garland of Vajra (181, 175)
    • Long Life Prayers (600–610, S14)
    • Offerings to the Protectors (479-84, 431–36)
    • Aspiration for Well-Being of Tibet (427, 382)
    • Verses on Joy and Goodness from The Sutra Requested by a God (197, 191)
    • The Dharma Blaze Aspiration (177, 171)
    • “The one who taught the truth...” (221, 215)
    Monlamy Day 2
    February 17
        6:00 - 8:30 • Mahayana Sojong Vows (3, S1)
    • Sanskrit Prayers (7, 17)
    • Refuge and Bodhichitta and following (31–42, 24–35)
    • Praises from the Rashtrapala Sutra and following (54–80, 47–72
    • A Praise of Manjushri (227, 221)
    • Praise of Noble Avalokiteshvara (229, 223)
    • The Sutra in Three Sections and following (81–116, 74–110)
    Tea Break
        9:00 - 10:30 • Mandala offering with thirty-seven features (613)
    • Supplication to the Lineage of the Bodhisattva Vow (274)
    • Teachings on Potowa’s Long Soliloquy
    • Meditation (5 min.)
    • Stages of the Path (341, 317)
    • The Concise Aspiration (169)
    •  Dedications for the Living and Deceased (170, 164–70)
    • The Dharani for the Fulfillment of Aspirations (175, 169)
    • The Aspiration for the Teachings to Flourish (621)
    Lunch Break
        13:30 - 15:00 • The Noble Aspiration for Excellent Conduct (117, 111)
    • The Sukhavati Prayer “I prostrate with respect” (149, 143)
    Tea Break
        15:30 - 17:00 • An Aspiration for the Dharma of the Shangpa Kagyu (343, 319)
    • The Thirty Aspirations (351, 327)
    • The Indestructible Garland of Vajra (181, 175)
    • Long Life Prayers (600–610, S14)
    • Offerings to the Protectors (479-84, 431–36)
    • Aspiration for Well-Being of Tibet (427, 382)
    • The Auspiciousness of Twelve Deeds (190, 184)
    • The Dharma Blaze Aspiration (177, 171)
    • “The one who taught the truth...” (221, 215)
    Monlam Day 3
    February 18
        6:00 - 8:30 • Mahayana Sojong Vows (3, S1)
    • Sanskrit Prayers (7, 17)
    • Refuge and Bodhichitta and following (31–42, 24–35)
    • Praises from The Ornament of the Sutras and following (62–80, 55–72)
    • Brahma’s Crown: A Praise of Maitreya (234, 228)
    • The Sutra in Three Sections and following (81–116, 74–110)
    Tea Break
        9:00 - 10:30 • Mandala offering with thirty-seven features (613)
    • Supplication to the Lineage of the Bodhisattva Vow (274)
    • Teachings on Potowa’s Long Soliloquy
    • Meditation (5 min.)
    • Stages of the Path (341, 317)
    • The Concise Aspiration (169)
    •  Dedications for the Living and Deceased (170, 164–70)
    • The Dharani for the Fulfillment of Aspirations (175, 169)
    • The Aspiration for the Teachings to Flourish (621)
    Lunch Break
        13:30 - 15:00 • Praises of Tara and Saraswati(281–306, 259–284)
    Tea Break
        15:30 - 17:00 • The Aspiration of Avalokita (360, 336)
    • Twenty Aspirations of Taklungthangpa (367, 343)
    • The Aspiration of Trophu (372, 348)
    • The Indestructible Garland of Vajra (181, 175)
    • Long Life Prayers (600–610, S14)
    • Offerings to the Protectors (479-84, 431–36)
    • Aspiration for Well-Being of Tibet (427, 382)
    • “May he who utterly conquers greed...” (187, 181)
    • The Dharma Blaze Aspiration (177, 171)
    • “The one who taught the truth...” (221, 215)
    Monlam Day 4
    February 19
        6:00 - 8:30 • Mahayana Sojong Vows (3, S1)
    • Sanskrit Prayers (7, 17)
    • Refuge and Bodhichitta and following (31–42, 24–35)
    • Praises from The Ornament of the Sutras and following (62–80, 55–72)
    • The Praise “Beautiful Ornament of the Earth” (251, 244)

    Praise of Shri Samantabhadra with Aspirations (254, 246)
    • Praise of the Six Ornaments and Two Great Beings (267, 250)
    • The Sutra in Three Sections and following (81–116, 74–110)
    Tea Break
        9:00 - 10:30 • Mandala offering with thirty-seven features (613)
    • Supplication to the Lineage of the Bodhisattva Vow (274)
    • Teachings on Potowa’s Long Soliloquy
    • Meditation (5 min.)
    • Stages of the Path (341, 317)
    • The Concise Aspiration (169)
    •  Dedications for the Living and Deceased (170, 164–70)
    • The Dharani for the Fulfillment of Aspirations (175, 169)
    • The Aspiration for the Teachings to Flourish (621)
    Lunch Break
        13:30 - 15:00 • Clearing the Path of Obstacles (308, 285)
    • Spontaneous Fulfillment of Wishes (321, 297)
    • Requested Prayers for the Removal of Obstacles
    Tea Break
        15:30 - 17:00 • Yelpa’s Aspiration (379, 358)
    • The Aspiration “The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel” (380)
    • An Aspiration for the Seven Spiritual Trainings (383)
    • The Indestructible Garland of Vajra (181, 175)
    • Long Life Prayers (600–610, S14)
    • Offerings to the Protectors (479-84, 431–36)
    • Aspiration for Well-Being of Tibet (427, 382)
    • “I prostrate to the Buddha...” (186, 180)
    • The Dharma Blaze Aspiration (177, 171)
    • “The one who taught the truth...” (221, 215)
    Monlam Day 5
    February 20
        6:00 - 8:00 • Mahayana Sojong Vows (3, S1)
    • Sanskrit Prayers (7, 17)
    • Refuge and Bodhichitta and following (31–42, 24–35)
    • Praises from The Ornament of the Sutras and following (62–80, 55–72)
    • Supplication of the Twenty-Five Chariots (270, 253)
    • The Short Vajradhara Lineage Prayer (272, 255)
    • The Sutra in Three Sections and following (81–116, 74–110)
    • The Aspiration from the Ratnavali (113)
        8:00 - 9:00 • Kangyur Procession
        9:00 - 10:30 • Mandala offering
    • The Praise of the Twelve Deeds (69)
    • Reading the Kangyur
    • The Concise Aspiration (169)
    Lunch Break
        13:30 - 15:00 • Seven-Line Prayer (307)
    • Prayers for the Well-Being of Tibet (no English text)
    • Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama (595)
    • Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Sakya Trizin (separate text, S7)
    • Long Life Prayer for the head of the Nyingma Lineage (separate text)
    Tea Break
        15:30 - 17:00 • The Noble Aspiration for Excellent Conduct (117, 111)
    • The Aspiration of the Mahamudra of Definitive Meaning (353, 329)
    • The Barom Aspiration (405, 359)
    • Phagmodrupa’s Aspiration (408, 362)
    • The Tsalpa Aspiration (410, 364)
    • The Uncommon Dedication and Aspiration (416, 370)
    • The Indestructible Garland of Vajra (181, 175)
    • Long Life Prayers (600–610, S14)
    • Offerings to the Protectors (479-84, 431–36)
    • Aspiration for Well-Being of Tibet (427, 382)
    • “May he who utterly...” (187, 181)
    • The Dharma Blaze Aspiration (177, 171)
    • “The one who taught the truth...” (221, 215)
    Monlam Day 6
    February 21
        6:00 • Mahayana Sojong Vows (3, S1)
    • Sanskrit Prayers (7, 17)
    • Refuge and Bodhichitta and following (31–42, 24–35)
    • Prostrations and Offerings to the 16 Elders (469-471, 421–23)
    • “Peerless, the sight of you never satiates...” (471-477, 423–29)
    Abbreviated offerings (80, 73)
    • Abbreviated confessions (91, 83)
    • Rejoicing and so forth (96-97, 89–90)
    • “Arya arhats, emanations...” (478, 429–30)
        7:00 • Alms Procession
    Lunch Break
        13:30 - 15:00 • The Sutra in Three Sections (81, 74)
    • Reading the Akshobhya Sutras (487, S31)
    • An Aspiration for Rebirth in the Realm of Abhirati (431, 387)
    Tea Break
        15:30 - 17:00 • An Aspiration for Birth in Sukhavati (442, 397)
    • The Indestructible Garland of Vajra (181, 175)
    • Long Life Prayers (600–610, S14)
    • Offerings to the Protectors (479-84, 431–36)
    • Aspiration for Well-Being of Tibet (427, 382)
    • “I prostrate to the Buddha...” (186, 180)
    • The Dharma Blaze Aspiration (177, 171)
    • “The one who taught the truth...” (221, 215)
    Monalm Day 7
    February 22
        6:00 - 8:30 • Mahayana Sojong Vows (3, S1)
    • Sanskrit Prayers (7, 17)
    • Offerings to the Medicine Buddha (501, S45)
    Tea Break
        9:00 - 10:30 • Offerings to the Gurus (533–562, S96–111)
    Lunch Break
        13:00 - 14:30 • Offerings to the Gurus (562, S111)
    Tea Break
        15:00 - 17:00 • Appreciation of the Sponsors (204–214, 198–208)
    • Special Address (30 min.)
    • The Great Aspiration and Dedications (157–180, 151–70)
    • Mila’s Aspiration (424, 379)
    • Aspiration for Well-Being of Tibet (427, 382)
    • Lord Marpa’s Song of Auspiciousness (215, 209)
    • Auspicious Prayers from The Vinaya Topics (185, 179)
    • The Dharma Blaze Aspiration (177, 171)
    • The Auspiciousness of the Great Encampment (217, 211)
    • “The one who taught the truth...” (221, 215)
    The Marme Monlam
    February 23
        19:30 - 21:30 • All-Pervading Benefit for Beings
    • The Flower of Derge: Dance from Derge
    • The Life-Force of the Kagyu: Tibetan Vocal Solo
    • The Refuge for Bhutan: Bhutanese Dance
    • A Friend of the Noble Land: An Indian Song of Praise
    • A Father for the Weak: Solo Erhu
    • The Sun of Sikkim: Sikkimese Song
    • The Hope of the World: Nun’s Chorus
    • The Future of Tibet: Tibetan Vocal Solo
    • Unveiling of ADARSHA
    • The Lamp Prayer



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    Monlam Pavillion,
    7-8 February, 2016



    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 chanted the Twenty-One Praises of Tara and Karmapa Khyenno (Karmapa, you know me) as the Karmapa’s bell rang through their voices.

    The Karmapa was facing a golden shrine of rooves undulating in the four directions and strings of bells extending from the central peak. Around the base of the shrine were deep green and gold medallions depicting the eight auspicious symbols, and in between, on the shrine proper were the usual seven offerings of water for drinking and water for bathing, flowers, incense, perfume, food, and music with a butter lamp set in the middle and just above it, glistened a generous kapala skull cup. Appearing above it on the far side of this miniature pavilion was a new thangka of the Three Roots Combined.

    Preceded by jaling horns and elaborate incense holders, the Karmapa and his retinue entered the Pavilion hall. After making his bows, the Karmapa took his seat on the central throne while on stage left, sat the tulkus (reincarnate lamas), including Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche, Yongye Mingyur Rinpoche, and the young Bokar Rinpoche, who was discovered in Sikkim during last year’s Kagyu Monlam. Standing to the right of the Karmapa’s throne throughout the ceremony were two monks in rich brocades, who held ornate incense burners.

    Once the vajra tent had been created in the ritual, the Karmapa paused to offer an explanation of the Three Roots combined and its significance for his lineage. First he commented that this practice is special and exceptionally profound; it belongs to the Karma Kamtsang and in particular, to the Karmapa, and has both a long and a short lineage. The short lineage, he noted, is traced back to a text based on the pure visions of the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284–1339). The Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje (1507–1554) also practiced the Three Roots Combined and stated that through it, “especially pure visions and dreams appeared in my experiential awareness.” Mikyo Dorje expanded the practice, the Karmapa commented, by adding an empowerment and completion stage practice from the texts of past realized masters. Then the Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje (1556–1603) created an extensive sadhana by supplementing Kamtsang practices with those from the Nyingma tradition.

    The Karmapa continued to explain that later, the treasure revealer Choje Lingpa (1682–1725) discovered a ritual of the Three Roots Combined that presented the same deities and mantras as those in the Kamtsang tradition. So the two traditions flowed together as one and, he said, it was this newer tradition that the Kamtsang masters came to use. Their own tradition became nearly extinct and the text was difficult to find. To revive the tradition, therefore, Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye (1813–1899) included the lineages of the empowerment and reading transmission in his Treasury of Precious Terma. The Karmapa added that he himself had received these empowerments from Gyaltsap Rinpoche, and during the hundreds of initiations, it was this one of the Three Roots Combined that gave him a special feeling.

    The Karmapa added, “Since the Three Roots Combined constitute an exceptional and profound text of the Karmapa’s tradition, I’ve taken a particular interest in it and made efforts to find the old texts.” The Karmapa said that he had not found the root text from the Third Karmapa, but had discover the Eighth Karmapa’s text for the empowerment and the sadhana’s completion stage practice. This took some searching as the Three Roots Combined was listed in the table of contents of Mikyo Dorje’s collected works published in Tibet, but the actual text was not there, the Karmapa said. The third text he found was a precious commentary on the Three Roots Combined by the Fourth Goshir Gyaltsap Drakpa Dondrup (1547–1613); the fourth text was an old one of the extensive practice, created by the Ninth Karmapa. So now almost all the texts are complete.

    In general, the Karmapa explained, it is said that if the three roots are combined into one mandala, this is the practice of Gyalwa Gyatso (Jinasagara); if they are combined into one body (kaya), that is Tsepakme (Amitayus). In terms of the yidam deity, the physical aspect is Tsepakme; the color of red represents Pemajunge (Padmasambhava); and the emblems of the curved knife and the skull cup represent Dorje Naljorma (Vajra Yogini). Of the three faces, the Karmapa continued, the right one is white, and this along with the lotus on a stem and the lotus garland represent the embodiment of great compassion, Gyalwa Gyatso. Amitayus’ left face is black and represents the Dharma protector Mahakala.

    The Karmapa summarized saying that in brief, the aspect of the lama is Tsepakme; the aspect of theyidam is the great compassionate one, Gyalwa Gyatso; and the aspect of the Dharma protector is the wisdom protector Mahakala, so all the three roots are complete in this one form. So one could say that if we were given this empowerment, it would be similar to receiving the empowerments for all the lamas, yidams, and Dharma protectors. Mikyo Dorje stated, therefore, that even if you have not received other empowerments, with this single one you will be able to care for and guide students. The Karmapa added here that Mikyo Dorje gave this long-life practice another name, “Not a Lie” because it arose from a pure vision.  
    After proceeding along with the empowerment, the Karmapa paused to talk about the special long-life pills (tseril) that had been especially prepared for this day. Blended into them are long life substances prepared at the time of the Sixteenth Karmapa. Usually the long-life pills are fashioned on the day of the empowerment, but unusual care has been taken with these. The tseril were passed out to everyone in small maroon envelopes with a golden HRI emblazoned on the front and on the back, the explanation: “Long Life Pills from the Sacred Objects of the Great Encampment,” (another name for the residence of the Karmapa).

    The Karmapa also explained that the long-life water for this empowerment was exceptional as well and told the following story. After the passing of Qubilai Khan (Kublai Khan in popular writing), who was the founder of China’s Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), the next ten rulers all died in their 40s. During the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje’s lifetime, there were three khans, the third of whom, Toghan Temür (reigned 1333–1370), invited the Karmapa for a second visit to China. The Karmapa had discovered a long-life spring at Samye Chimpu—a sacred site of caves in central Tibet where Guru Rinpoche practiced with his twenty-five close disciples—and brought some of the water with him when he went to China. When Rangjung Dorje bestowed a private long-life empowerment on Toghan Temür, he gave the khan this long-life water, which added thirty-seven years to his life and made him the longest lived of all the Yuan emperors.
    Through an auspicious coincidence, recently some of this long-life water had been brought from Samye Chimpu and offered to the Karmapa, who added it to the long-life water for today’s empowerment. The occasion is thus doubly auspicious for this specially blessed water from the Third Karmapa’s spring in Tibet, and also for the fact that the Third Karmapa was also the one who created the original text for the Three Roots Combined in the short lineage.

    Recalling the end of the Knowing One Frees All empowerments last year, the Karmapa said he would again pass through the long rows of nearly eight thousand disciples and personally give everyone a blessing. He commented that the practice of placing a vase on the head and partaking of its nectar were not a part of empowerments in the more distant past. This is a custom that developed later, he said, to put people’s minds at ease. Perhaps it gave them the feeling that they had actually received the empowerment.

    So the Karmapa descended from the golden throne, and ringing a bell with his left hand and carrying a vase with in his right, he first blessed those on stage (the tulkus, khenpos, and translators), and then moved down to the vast floor of the Pavilion. Here he passed up and down the double lines of disciples, the sound of his bell getting fainter and louder as he blessed row after row of the fortunate participants. Almost an hour later, he came back to the enclosure on the side of the stage to conclude the empowerment. From the delighted smiles on people’s faces, there was no doubt that they had received the blessing of this special initiation—an event that formed part of the Karmapa’s sustained efforts in renewing the roots of his hallowed tradition.



    http://www.kagyumonlam.org/English/News/Report/Report_20160208.html

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    Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
    9 February, 2016



    For one week over 100 lamas were keeping an intensive retreat on the special Karma Kamtsang practice of Amitayus: The Three Roots Combined. The retreat was held in the meeting room of the Monlam Pavilion, in the symbolic presence of a life-like image of the First Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa. So advanced was the practice of the Three Roots Combined, that only lamas who had completed their three year retreat could meditate on it; a core of practitioners who had accomplished a 7 day retreat on the deity was a pre-requisite for making the long life offering. However, in order to enable everyone to partake in the ceremony, the Karmapa bestowed a public empowerment of Amitayus on the last day of the year.

    At dawn on the first day of Losar the Lamas' retreat culminated in a special Losar long-life offering to the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. The image of Dusum Khyenpa was moved from the retreat room to the main stage of the pavilion, as the 17th Karmapa supervised the stage set for the New Year..

    At 4:30 am the retreat lamas took their place onstage in order to complete the preliminary rituals. wearing yellow chogu robes, and started with the barche lamsel chant to Guru Rinpoche to clear obstacles.

    Dusum Khyenpa was now centre-stage, enthroned directly in front of the enormous gold robed Buddha, whose third eye was beaming light from a replica Kohinoor diamond. Soft gold clouds complemented the rays of light from his body on the painted background. Eight shalse tormas rose up beneath the Buddha and under them were two more tiers of offerings. The delicately carved golden Japanese pagoda shrine, with its softly moving wind chimes, was adorned with massive offering bowls holding the eight ordinary offerings.

    There was also a Losar shrine with the particular offerings associated with the Tibetan New Year. A container of barley grains was holding a septra, a butter torma mounted on wood, showing one of the auspicious symbols, the 8-spoked dharma wheels, and a white multi-petalled lotus beneath it. Next to it was the auspicious chemar (barley flour mixed with sugar and butter) with a septra of the 4 harmonious friends - monkey, elephant, hare and bird. Beneath them stood a container of green winter wheat shoots and a life-like sheep's head, grinning happily with a corn cob between its teeth— symbols of the hope for natural abundance in the year to come: bountiful harvests and fertile livestock. A small mountain of kapsey (fried Tibetan biscuits), brick tea and bowls of fruit and nuts completed the offerings. A scroll painting of the three headed Amitayus, visualised in the long life practice, remained onstage after the public empowerment of the previous day. Gyaltsap Rinpoche and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche were seated on thrones to the left and right respectively of HH Karmapa's throne.

    The Karmapa made a grand entrance to the sound of gyalings, sweeping through an aisle in the audience before taking his seat and donning the black Activity Crown. The Karmapa embodies the three roots: he is guru, yidam and protector in one. In an instant we were in the presence of spiritual royalty, the 17th in the lineage of Dharma Kings.

    The long life offering ceremony could now commence. The great assembly included the eminent Rinpoches of the lineage: Jamgon Kongtrul, Goshir Gyaltsap, Yongey Mingyur, and the young Bokar Yangsi Rinpoche. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche were the main sponsors while Gyaltsap Rinpoche also officiated as the Vajracharya or Vajra Master.

    The prayers that began the Long Life ceremony vibrated in a minor key so deep they could reach the depths of the stoniest heart to inspire devotion. In this grand ceremony, as ritualised as that of any ancient royal lineage, the recipient of the offerings was first visualised as the deity. As the chanting continued, Gyaltsap Rinpoche circled a long-life arrow with 5 coloured pendants through the air, gathering the 5 elements that support and balance the life-force. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche offered the traditional long life substances (white mustard seeds, durva grass, red sindhura, the supreme medicine, yoghurt, a mirror, bilva fruit, and a right swirling white conch); as well as the 8 auspicious symbols seen so often on Tibetan banners and in temples, and the seven articles of royalty: the dharma wheel, the precious minister, queen, jewel, elephant, steed, and general.  While the chanting continued, monks served tea and sweet rice in palm leaf cups to the assembly.

    The Karmapa tossed chemar into the air to conclude the ceremony. In the final mandala offering,Gyatsap Rinpoche held the mandala plate while Jamgon Rinpoche stood beside him holding another plate with tormas to symbolize the mandala offering.  Each of the Labrangs offered one of the 5 aspects of the Buddha: Tsurphu Labrang offered the body representation, Palpung, (represented by Tsewang Drakpa), made the offering of speech, Lava, the offering of mind, Ralang, the offering of quality and the CEO of the Monlam, Lama Chodrak, the offering of activity.

    Ceremonial music signalled the completion of the ritual. With Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche acting as incense bearers, the procession moved with slow dignified steps to escort the Karmapa, as the deity, back to his 'palace'.


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    Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
    11 February, 2016



    This morning, continuing a centuries-old tradition, the Gyalwang Karmapa and Venerable Master Hai Tao from Taiwan officiated at a ritual for Sangharama, a protector deity. Also on stage participating in the ritual were nuns from Karma Drubdey Nunnery in Bhutan, and monastics from Hai Tao’s Life TV community in Taiwan. The Karmapa performs this ritual annually during the Tibetan New Year. Today was the first time the Sangharama ritual has been conducted inside the Monlam Pavilion.

    The protector Sangharama, also known by the name Guan Yu or Guan Gong, is a Chinese deity and also one of the protectors of the Karmapa’s Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet.

    The connection between Sangharama and the Karmapa lineage began when the 5th Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa, traveled to China at the invitation of the Chinese emperor Yung Lo of the Ming Dynasty. During his travels, the Karmapa offered many teachings and empowerments, and the emperor became a devoted student of the Karmapa. These activities were witnessed by Sangharama, a local Chinese deity who lived on a mountain. Sangharama decided to follow Deshin Shekpa back to Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet. When they arrived back at Tsurphu, Sangharama needed a place to live, and so the Karmapa offered him one of the mountains behind Tsurphu Monastery. This mountain became known as “the mountain of the Chinese deity,” and Sangharama became one of the protectors of Tsurphu Monastery.

    Sometime later, the Karmapa began the tradition of offering a practice for the Sangharama protector on the 2nd day of Losar each year. Because Sangharama is a mundane protector, the ritual would not be done inside the shrine hall, and instead would take place each year on the veranda outside the shrine hall at Tsurphu Monastery. The Karmapa and his retinue, such as his close attendants and cook, would perform the ritual. Because Sangharama came from China, many elements of the ritual also came from the Chinese tradition, such as Chinese incense, tea, tables, and fireworks. When the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, fled Tibet in 1959, the Sangharama text was lost and the continuity of the practice was broken. In order to maintain this practice, the 17th Karmapa wrote a new Sangharama ritual, which was the one performed today.

    The Monlam Pavilion was transformed with many decorative elements from both Tibetan and Chinese culture. New thangkas depicting the Karma Kagyu lineage masters were hung facing the center of the hall. Behind the thangkas, facing outward, were long banners with Chinese paintings and calligraphy. In front of the central Buddha image, a small table was set with two tall candles and a bowl, all in the Chinese style. In front of the Buddha, a life-like statue of the 16th Karmapa sat on a throne, also with a Chinese-style table with offerings set in front of him. In the center of the stage stood a 4-foot wooden statue of   Sangharama, and on either side of him nearly identical altars were set out with water offering bowls. The left altar included images of the Eight Auspicious Symbols, and the right the Eight Precious Offerings.

    The ritual and many elements on the stage were mirrored too, with the Tibetan Buddhist and Chinese Buddhist traditions each represented. On the left side, a chair and table with a bell and dorje were set out for the Karmapa, and cymbals for the chant leaders. On the right side, a similar table and chair was set for Master Hai Tao, as well as instruments used in the Chinese Buddhist tradition for the chant leaders, such as a wooden fish and keisu (metal gong shaped like a large bowl). Near the front of the stage on the left side was a large metal bell and hanging gong in the Chinese style, and on the right side a large drum in Tibetan style.

    At the beginning of the ceremony, the Taiwanese monastics and the Karma Kagyu nuns each walked onto the stage in a long line, with the Taiwanese monastics forming rows on the right side of the stage, and the Karma Kagyu nuns forming rows on the left. The monastics from Taiwan wore long monastic robes in a muted yellow and brown color. The Karma Kagyu nuns wore full ceremonial dress, including yellow chögu, white boots, and chabluk [hanging brocaded bags].

    The monastics from Taiwan began chanting four verses from the Diamond Sutra, during which the Karmapa and Master Hai Tao were led by two Taiwanese monks to the center of the stage. Both the Karmapa and Master Hai Tao were wearing red outer robes, slightly different in style. The Karmapa also wore his black activity crown. The two masters stood side by side in front of Sangharama, and then took their seats facing each other on the stage.  

    The ritual contained chanting in both Chinese and Tibetan. The prayers in Chinese were led by the monastics from Taiwan, and the prayers in Tibetan by the nuns from Karma Drubdey Nunnery. Some of the prayers in Chinese included prostrations to Lokeshvara, taking refuge and generating bodhichitta, and praises to Sangharama. Prayers in Tibetan included self-visualization and invitation of the guests, smoke offerings, request to depart, and auspicious prayers, among others. The chanting in each language was supported by the unique melodies and instruments of the different traditions. The prayers, in Tibetan or Chinese with English phonetics, were projected on the two large screens at the front of the pavilion, so that the monastics and the lay community could join in the offerings.

    At the end of the ritual, the Karmapa and Master Hai Tao left together in  procession, followed shortly afterward by the monastics who quietly walked off stage in single file ..





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