Direct Instructions on the Great Compassionate One, Day One.

January 17, 2017 – Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India

The main shrine hall at Tergar was filled to the far walls with monks who had come from India, Nepal, and Bhutan for this year’s Twentieth Winter Debates. Today the Gyalwang Karmapa began his discussion of two sections from the 8th Karmapa’s text, One Hundred Short Instructions. Both relate to the embodiment of all the Buddhas’ compassion, Avalokiteshvara, and are known as the Direct Instructions on the Great Compassionate One, Avalokiteshvara, and the Three Essential Points.
The Karmapa remarked that the numerous practices related to Avalokiteshvara along with their instructions mainly belong to five oral lineages, well known in Tibet, that descend from Atisha, Gelongma Palmo, Dawa Gyaltsen, Mitra Yogi, and Tsembupa. Today’s text stems from the tradition of the mahasiddha Tsembupa, who met Vajra Yogini face-to-face and received instructions from her. His lineage is closely related to anuttara yoga and the secret mantrayana; this practice from his tradition is complete with the preliminaries, main meditation, and conclusion. It is simple and easy to do, yet the key instructions are very profound, so much so that past masters have treated it as a secret instruction.
Turning to the life story of Tsembupa, the Karmapa remarked that actually Tsembupa is a nickname, meaning “all sewn up,” because his clothes were stitched together with patches. Nyan is his family lineage and he was born in the region of Shakpo, but it is not clear where this is and his dates are unknown. Tsembupa was well versed in both sutra and tantra and spent most of his life in isolated places doing practice.
One day when he was praying to Vajra Yogini, she appeared directly to him and taught the instruction about Avalokiteshvara. Later as Tsembupa practiced, one of the parts was not clear to him, so he prayed to Vajra Yogini again and she reappeared to teach him one more time, giving him the entire instruction. Afterward, some people offered Tsembupa a monastery, but he declined and remained in retreat focused on Vajra Yogini and becoming a realized master in his lifetime.
Tsembupa had six disciples who held his lineage. The main one was his younger brother, Dharma Ö, who had looked at numerous sutras and tantras searching for a key instruction with all the main points, but could not find the right one. So he prayed to the Jowo in Lhasa and when Dharma Ö was walking the streets of the city, he came across Tsembupa. Recognizing him as a realized master, Dharma Ö asked for instruction and became realized as well. These teachings of Tsembupa have spread widely into the traditions of the Kadampas, Sakyas, and Dakpo Kagyus.
The Karmapa then turned to speak of the practice itself, which begins with the common preliminaries, the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind—reflecting on the precious human rebirth, impermanence, karma’s cause and effect, and the defects of samsara. Since this is not an explanation based on words but experience, it is important to practice these four until direct experience arises in our being; otherwise, subsequent practices will not take effect.
A Kadampa Geshe has taught that the Four Thoughts must be practiced in succession until an experience arises of each one; without this, it is not permitted to do other practices. This way, the Karmapa explained, one could spend a whole lifetime on one of the Four Thoughts and then aspire to practice the other three in future lives. However, the 8th Karmapa, Mikyö Dorje felt that this way of practicing was a bit too strict and narrow, because some people might not be able to come to an experience of the first thought (the preciousness of a human rebirth) and become discouraged. They might, however, be able to experience the second, third, or fourth one. If they are told that they must keep on practicing the first one, it might not be so skillful for them.
For example, they might be able to meditate and gain an experience of impermanence, the second thought, and the power of realizing this would help them to realize the first one. So in the beginning, we can test to see which of the four opens into experience and start there. Through using various methods, we can find one that works. In the end, the Karmapa noted, the Kadampa and 8th Karmapa’s approaches are not contradictory.
The four uncommon preliminaries cover refuge and bodhichitta (with prostrations) to make the disciples into a suitable vessel for the Dharma; mandala offerings to gather the two accumulations; Vajrasattva to purify obscurations; and guru yoga to receive blessings. “Some of you,” the Karmapa noted, “have finished the 100,000 repetitions of these four and others have not, but you can still do this practice.”
This concluded the common and special preliminaries in general, which are then followed by the specific preliminaries, the main meditation, and the conclusion related to this Avalokiteshvara practice. The preliminaries can be divided into the creation and completion phases. The Karmapa first turned to the creation phase of the visualization and read the section of the text on going for refuge.
This involves visualizing three Avalokiteshvaras above our head in three different colors with mandalas of three different elements in their hearts and three spheres of the three same colors (the essence of the Three Jewels) above each of the mandalas, and a four-armed Avalokiteshvara in our heart. To this latter one, we make fervent supplications with complete whole-hearted devotion, until we are on the verge of fainting as the text states. This is the main point here.
The next section the Karmapa read was on bodhichitta, the mind of awakening. As before there are three Avalokiteshvaras above one’s crown, and on a moon disk in each of their hearts are respectively, the First, Second, and Eighth Karmapas, who recite the six-syllable mantra for the benefit of all beings. In turn we aspire to become like each one and recite the name mantras of the three Karmapas and the six-syllable mantra.
The Karmapa explained that bodhichitta is what distinguishes this path from paths of the Listeners and Solitary Realizers. He also mentioned that Mikyö Dorje wrote the refuge and bodhichitta for this text so the form and arrangement of the field of refuge and the way of generating bodhichitta are different from other traditions.
As an aside, the Karmapa spoke about the origin of the mantra, Karmapa Khyenno (“Karmapa, know me”) or Karmapa Zig (“Karmapa, see me”). It is difficult to say when it came about, he said, but it seems that even before Buddhism spread in Tibet, the people had the custom of invoking their many gods with “Khyenno” (“Know me”) or “Zig” (“See me”). When Buddhism developed in Tibet, this custom was gradually transferred over to the new spiritual path.
We know at least, he said, that this happened after the time of the Fifth Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa, because when he was in China, at the behest of the Ming Emperor, a compilation was made of the names and mantras of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Beneath the image of Deshin Shekpa was the six-syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara and not Karmapa Khyenno. History relates that from this time dates the tradition of many people reciting the six-syllable mantra with the understanding tha it relates to both the Karmapa and Avalokiteshvara.
The next part of the text the Karmapa read was the beginning of the main practice, when one visualizes a central lotus with four branches and in the middle a resplendent Avalokiteshvara, who is Mikyö Dorje internally. On the four surrounding lotuses appear reflections of Avalokiteshvara in four different colors, representing the Four Immeasurables, whereas in the principal figure’s heart is the syllable HRI, the essence of nondual wisdom. When the mantra are recited lights radiate, making offerings to the Noble Ones, benefitting living beings, and finally dissolving into one and purifying faults. All the merit is dedicated to full awakening.
The Karmapa thought that Mikyö Dorje probably wrote this section as well since the colophon states that he wrote “the refuge, bodhichitta, and so forth.” This passage was probably included within the “so forth.” The Karmapa concluded his explanation saying that this is a special visualization, and it would be beneficial to practice it. If there would be time later, he would like to give more detailed explanations.

2017.1.17 http://kagyuoffice.org/direct-instructions-on-the-great-compassionate-one-day-one/

A Rich Program for the Winter Debates

January 17, 2016 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhi Gaya, Bihar, India

The Winter Debates have brought together over 1000 monks from 9 monastic institutes belonging to the Karma Kagyu tradition. From January 17 to 22, 2017, the Gyalwang Karmapa will continue his teachings on the 8th Karmapa’s One Hundred Short Instructions This year he will cover two of them: “The Direct Instructions on the Great Compassionate One, Avalokiteshvara” and “Instructions on the Three Essential Points” (also a practice of Avalokiteshvara). These will be webcast live each day from 9:30 to 10:30 and 11 to 12 in the morning (Indian standard time) through the Karmapa’s website http://kagyuoffice.org/webcast/ in Tibetan, English, Spanish, and Chinese.
From January 16 to February 4, 2017, the monks will also pursue a vigorous program of debate and discussion. The Karmapa remarked, “We are following the Indian tradition which has debaters and judges to analyze their performances. This year there are five judges: a Sakya khenpo from the Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö College; from among the six great seats of the Nyingma comes a judge from Dzogchen Monastery; from among the three great seats of the Gelukpa, a Geshe Lharampa from Drepung’s Gomang College; for the Kagyu, a khenpo was requested from the Bhutanese government, and so we have a Drukpa Kagyu khenpo; and finally, there is a khenpo from the Jonang tradition.”
“The reason for inviting scholars from different traditions,” the Karmapa explained, “is to show our respect for them and to develop our mutual connections.”
The debates will focus on the second chapter (treating direct valid cognition) from Manjushri’s Smile: a General Discussion of Validity by the 6th Shamar, Chokyi Wangchuk.
The Karmapa related that before his visit to the US about three years ago, he had read the outer life story of Karma Chakme (1613-1678), who wrote that he had memorized the General Discussion of Validity so the Karmapa knew there was a text and its name. When he went to the US, the text was found complete, except for the discussion of the chapter on validity. This text is important because it gives the main points of the 7th Karmapa, Chödrak Gyatso’s text, the Ocean of Literature on Validity, and reveals the positions to hold. The Karmapa said he hoped that the General Discussion of Validity would make it easy to realize the 7th Karmapa’s treatise.
In the US, the Karmapa also found the text of a General Discussion of the Vinaya, but he has yet to find the General Discussion on the Prajna Paramita and there also seems to be a General Discussion of the Madhyamaka.
This year the monks will also consider the views of the Mind Only school, which were taught for a month at the Karmapa’s temporary residence in Gyuto Monastery by a nun, who was a renowned expert in the Mind Only tradition that had spread widely in China. With the help of a skilled translator, she instructed monks, who had been selected to represent all the nine monastic institutes. Under the guidance of the Karmapa, their Committee for Compilation prepared a booklet on the Mind Only school, a draft of which was sent in December to all the shedras, so they could have a common basis for study.
The Karmapa wrote an introduction for this text and remarked that originally the plan was to study both the Mind Only and the Middle Way schools this year, but the Mind Only was so vast that it was decided to focus in it and leave the Middle Way for next year. The Karmapa is also putting together a compilation of Mind Only texts from the Chinese, but it is not ready yet.
Finally, the study of the Ornament of Precious Liberation, Lord Gampopa’s stages on the path (lam rim), will continue with seven sessions of papers and discussion. Starting with chapter nine and moving through chapter 16, they will cover the respective topics of the Proper Adoption of Bodhichitta, the Precepts for Generating Aspiring Bodhichitta, the Perfection of Generosity, the Perfection of Moral Discipline, the Perfection of Patience, the Perfection of Diligence, and the Perfection of Meditative Concentration. The remaining chapters will be completed next year.
In between these sessions, discussions will take place on two additional topics: Is it proper for the ordained Sangha to eat meat? Is it proper for tantric practitioners to drink alcohol? The program will also include debate contests and a day of reciting An Ocean of Kagyu Songs of Realization (also translated as the Rain of Wisdom). With their long days of study, debate and discussion framed in practice, the monks will have very full twenty days.



The Winter Debates begin with a Regal Welcome for Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche

January 16, 2017 – Tergar Monastery, Bodhi Gaya, Bihar, India

The Sujata By Pass Road leading up to Tergar Monastery was lined with sangha and lay people welcoming Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche. Escorting him to the veranda of the main shrine hall, where the Gyalwang Karmapa stood to welcome him, was a traditional golden procession (serbang) of resonant horns and drums as well as pendants and banners, fashioned of colorful, gold-flecked brocade catching the rays of the morning sun. As Shabdrung Rinpoche’s car entered the main gate, the golden umbrella of royalty awaited him, and long white scarves were offered by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Khenpo Karten from the Karmapa’s Office of Administration. The Karmapa warmly greeted Shabdrung Rinpoche at the main door of the shrine hall, and they entered together.
Finally, when the crowds of monks, nuns, and lay people had gone through security and taken their place in the shrine hall, the Karmapa and Shabdrung Rinpoche returned to light a silver butter lamp on a table covered in brocade. In front of the Buddha statue, they took their seats on identical chairs, set side by side between the butter lamp and a polished black alms bowl set in a golden stand. The resonant voice of the chant master lead prayers while tea and ceremonial rice were given out to everyone, marking this festive occasion.
For the first time at Tergar Monastery, Shabdrung Rinpoche was visiting the Karmapa after sitting next to him during the recent Kalachakra empowerment of HH the Dalai Lama. Shabdrung Rinpoche’s Taklung Kagyu (stag lung bka’ brgyud) lineage is one of the eight later Kagyu lineages descending from Phakmo Drukpa (1110-1170). Founded by Taklung Thangpa Tashi Pal (1142-1210), this lineage has been blessed by great masters, such as Sangye Ön Drakpa Pal (1251-1296), who built Riwoche monastery in Kham, noted for its colleges where the different schools of Tibetan Buddhism are studied.
In 1991, the present incarnation was born into the Ghazi (Ragasha) family that traces its lineage far back into Tibetan history. Shabdrung Rinpoche was chosen in 1998 to take over the mantle of the Taklung Shabdrung who was his great grand uncle. Presently, the young tulku is studying in Dharamshala at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics.
To begin the debates, the Sangha recited the Praise of Manjushri, ending in an enthusiastic repetition of his seed syllable dhi, dhi, dhi, dhi, dhi! As the monks challenged each other to respond, the Karmapa and Shabdrung listened attentively and occasionally made comments to each other. When the debate came to a close, Shabdrung Rinpoche spoke informally to the monks, encouraging them in their study and emphasizing the importance of pure vision while using view to tame their minds. When he finished, there was a warm round of applause to thank him for his talk and for coming to join them on the first day of the Winter Debates.
Continuing the Karmapa’s outreach to the Kagyu leaders, this visit of the throne holder for the Taklung Kagyu follows on last year’s visit of Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche, throne holder for the Drikung Kagyu, and emphasizes the Karmapa’s broad commitment to dialogue between all the Tibetan spiritual traditions.

2017.1.16 The Winter Debates begin with a Regal Welcome for Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche


The Gyalwang Karmapa Attends 34th Kalachakra

January 14, 2017 -Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India

On January 10th the Gyalwang Karmapa arrived in Bodh Gaya where he will reside at Tergar Monastery and attend the 34th Kalachakra empowerment bestowed by HH the Dalai Lama. Today, HH the Karmapa arrived in the late morning to join HH Sakya Trizin on the podium near HH the Dalai Lama and 120,000 devotees from 90 different countries, who are receiving the well-known empowerment.
In support of this special event, the Karmapa’s office of administration is offering food and lodging free of charge to 4,000 people, including monks, mainly from Sera Monastery and Dzongsar Shedra, as well as lay devotees from the Himalayan region, poor school children and old people. Tergar is also a temporary home to the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts, whose members use the spacious stage in the Monlam Pavilion for practice and store their costumes on site. They all are staying in the extensive Kagyu Monlam facilities at Tergar Monastery. Additionally, in response to requests, food is also being offered to people in need.
Today’s session of the Kalachakra empowerment finished around three after which the Karmapa returned to Tergar Monastery. Here, for over two months, will take place the winter programs organized by the Karmapa from the middle of January to the middle of March. The extensive schedule includes teachings, practice, empowerment, clinics to benefit the local community, and New Year’s celebrations. The general schedule is the following.
January 16, 2017–February 4, 2017: The twentieth Kagyu Guncho, the Winter Debates for monks, which continues from past years the program of debate and the study of Gampopa’s graduated path of practice (lam rim), the Ornament of Precious Liberation.
January 19 to 26, 2017: The fourth Kagyu Monlam Animal Camp, which provides free veterinary care for all animals from camels to cats.
February 7, 2017–February 8, 2017: The Grand Empowerment of the Five Deities of Chakrasamvara. Those receiving the initiation will take a commitment to recite the Four Session Guru Yoga at least once a day for the rest of their lives. The empowerment will not be webcast.
February 9, 2017–February 10, 2017: The Karmapa will continue to teach Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye’s Torch of True Meaning, focusing this year on Guru Yoga.
February 11, 2016: The Karmapa will give the transmission and explanation of the Eighth Karmapa’s Four Session Guru Yoga, which will not be webcast.
February 13, 2017–February 19, 2017: The 34th Kagyu Monlam, seven days of prayers as well as teachings on Geshe Potowa’s Soliloquy.
February 21, 2017–February 25, 2017: Garchen Gutor Puja, which are practices performed in the Tsurphu tradition to clear away obstacles.
February 26, 2017: A Smoke Offering known as Clouds of Amrita.
February 27, 2017–March 1, 2017: Tibetan New Year’s Celebration, following the Tsurphu tradition.
March 2, 2017: Marme Monlam, an evening’s celebration of song and dance ending with an offering of lamps and prayers.
March 6, 2017–March 18, 2017: The 4th Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, the annual gathering of nuns to debate and study Gampopa’s graduated stages of practice (lam rim), the Ornament of Precious Liberation.

2017.1.11-14 Karmapa attends Kalachakra ceremony



Karmapa to attend Kalachakra Puja ceremony - Hindustan Times

  • 11 Jan 2017
  • Patna
  • Indo-Asian News Service ■ htpatna@hindustantimes.com

HH the Sakya Trizin, HH the Gyalwang Karmapa and
HH Taklung Shabdung Rinpoche at the Kalachakra Empowerment
in Bodhgaya, 11th January, 2017

Tibetan religious head and 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje on Tuesday reached here to participate in the highly-venerated ‘Kalachakra’ (wheel of time) puja to be presided over by the Dalai Lama.

Over 200,000 Buddhists from more than 90 countries across the world, especially the Himalayan region, have gathered at the holy site to receive teachings and the Kalachakra empowerment from the Dalai Lama.

The Karmapa has extended his organisation’s full support for the mega event, said a statement from his office.

Under his direction, the Karmapa’s office of administration will provide 4,000 participants with three meals per day and accommodation free of charge at the large Kagyu Monlam facility near Tergar Monastery.

Following on the heels of the Kalachakra empowerment, the Karmapa’s winter programme commences with the annual Karma Kagyu monks’ winter debate from January 16 to February 4, it said.

During this time there will also be the fourth Kagyu Monlam animal camp, from January 18 to 26, which provides free veterinary care for animals in the Bodh Gaya area as well as an anti-rabies and sterilisation programme for street dogs.

The Karmapa, who fled Tibet and sought refuge in India in January 2000, is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four sects of Buddhism.
The Dalai Lama will confer the 34th Kalachakra initiation from January 11, event organisers said.

This is the fourth time that the Dalai Lama has performed this sacred ritual in Bodh Gaya.

Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society - Wisdom Publications


Embracing Life in Our Global Society 

Plucked from a humble nomad family to become the leader of one of Tibet’s oldest Buddhist lineages, the young Seventeenth Karmapa draws on timeless values to create an urgent ethic for today’s global community.


264 pages, 6 x 9 inches
ISBN 9781614294122
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“We are now so interdependent that it is in our own interest to take the whole of humanity into account. Hope lies with the generation who belong to the twenty-first century. If they can learn from the past and shape a different future, later this century the world could be a happier, more peaceful, and more environmentally stable place. I am very happy to see in this book the Karmapa Rinpoche taking a lead and advising practical ways to reach this goal.”—His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“The Karmapa illuminates a major paradigm shift that is already underway—from independent and unconnected to interdependent and interconnected. As a visionary thinker, he shows us how this shift can lead us to a healthier planet and happier lives. As a heart-centered spiritual leader, the Karmapa shows us what we need to do to get there.”—Chade-Meng Tan, author of Search Inside Yourself

“This important new book will convince you that a commitment to social and environmental justice flows naturally from mindfulness of interdependence. The Karmapa’s vision of a heart-centered spiritual practice fills one with hope, even as it addresses the most serious challenges facing us today. One of the most influential Tibetan Buddhist teachers of our times, the Karmapa has written a courageous book that will change how you see your place in the world—and inspire you to act to make it a happier and kinder one.”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness

“For two hundred years the dominant paradigm of reductionism and fragmentation has created the illusion that we are separate from nature. We have violated the very processes that maintain life. The Karmapa invites us to be aware of our connections with the natural and social worlds that are the condition of our being as he gently walks us through a journey to courageous compassion. This book should be read by everyone—young and old, Buddhist and non-Buddhist. It is a survival guide for humanity.”—Dr. Vandana Shiva, environmental activist and author of Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace
We have always been, and will always be, interconnected—through family, community, and shared humanity. As our planet changes and our world grows smaller, it is vital we not only recognize our connections to one another and to the earth but also begin actively working together as interdependent individuals to create a truly global society.
The Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is uniquely positioned to guide us in this process. Drawing on years of intensive Buddhist training and a passionate commitment to social issues, he teaches how we can move from a merely intellectual understanding to a fully lived experience of connection. By first seeing, then feeling, and finally living these connections, we can become more effective agents of social and ethical change. 
The Karmapa shows us how gaining emotional awareness of our connectedness can fundamentally reshape the human race. He then guides us to action, showing step by step how we can change the way we use the earth’s resources and can continue to better our society. In clear language, the Karmapa draws connections between such seemingly far-flung issues as consumer culture, loneliness, animal protection, and self-reliance. In the process, he helps us move beyond theory to practical and positive social and ethical change.


Karmapa to participate in ‘Kalachakra’ ceremony - India Live Today

Photo by Acharya Karma Rigzin Sherpa

Bodh Gaya, Jan 10 (IANS) Tibetan religious head and 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje on Tuesday reached this Bihar town to participate in the highly-venerated 'Kalachakra' (Wheel of Time) ceremony to be presided over by the Dalai Lama.
Over 200,000 Buddhists from more than 90 countries across the world, especially the Himalayan region, have gathered at the holy site to receive teachings and the Kalachakra empowerment from the Dalai Lama.
The Karmapa has extended his organisation's full support for the mega event, said a statement from his office.
Under his direction, the Karmapa's office of administration will provide 4,000 participants with three meals per day and accommodation free of charge at the large Kagyu Monlam facility near Tergar Monastery.
Following on the heels of the Kalachakra empowerment, the Karmapa's winter programme commences with the annual Karma Kagyu Monks' Winter Debate from January 16 to February 4, it said.
During this time there will also be the fourth Kagyu Monlam animal camp, from January 18 to 26, which provides free veterinary care for animals in the Bodh Gaya area as well as an anti-rabies and sterilisation programme for street dogs.
The Karmapa, who fled Tibet and sought refuge in India in January 2000, is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four sects of Buddhism.
The Dalai Lama will confer the 34th Kalachakra initiation from January 11-13, event organisers said.
This is the fourth time that the Dalai Lama has performed this sacred ritual in Bodh Gaya.

2017.1.10 Karmapa arrives at Tergar Monastery

Guru Sevaka Opportunities

Opportunities exist every year for people to serve the lineage in different ways during the Kagyu Monlam. Please contact volunteers@kagyumonlam.org before Jan 31, 2017.