September 28, 2010

We now have edited video recordings of the 2010 Autumn Teachings by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa available for online viewing and download. Please click on this link or follow the “Teaching” tab on top of our main Karmapa Teachings website to view the teachings. We’ve implemented a video playlist so that each teaching session will follow by next day’s session automatically. There’s also a iPhone/iPad compatible version and audio-only mp3 version available as well.

Please send us an e-mail if you have any questions or issue to report.
His Holiness Karmapa’s Office of Communications



September 24, 2010

It is said:
Those who observe the anniversary
Of the passing of their lamas and venerate them,
Will soon be born among their first circle
Of disciples, and become a guide for beings.
As this indicates, recollecting the glorious lama's good qualities and activities of body, speech, and mind is the foundation of all the goodness there is in samsara and nirvana. For this reason, monasteries and dharma centers of the Karma Kagyu, the lineage of practice, are collaborating to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the birth, in Tresho, Kham, of the First Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa, the glorious crown jewel of the practice lineage. The celebration will open with two days of festivities at the sacred site of Bodhgaya, India, on December 8 and 9, 2010. An opening ceremony will be held on the morning of December 8, followed in the afternoon by a feast offering of the guru yoga of Düsum Khyenpa. In the morning of December 9, there will be a smoke offering ceremony, and in the afternoon, one hundred thousand Mahakala feast offerings.
Furthermore, for three days commencing on December 10, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa will grant public teachings on Atisha's Lamp on the Path of Enlightenment to the gathering of sangha and laypeople. The Kagyu Monlam Chenmo will then be held for eight days beginning on December 15.
From the Karmapa 900 Organizing Committee



September 19, 2010 - Gyuto

On the fifth and final day of his Autumn Teaching Series, the Gyalwang Karmapa continued linking wisdom and compassion, while shifting the focus from animals to human beings. To work for the welfare of animals, His Holiness observed, we need do little more than attend to their physical needs. Yet even this requires a great deal of knowledge. To much laughter, His Holiness related an anecdote about his own efforts to use a Q-tip to perform pulmonary resuscitation on a fly that had once fallen into a bowl of soup that he was eating. As difficult as it is to save animals, caring for human beings is far harder, he noted. Even should we be able to provide for their physical needs, human beings still have all sorts of complicated mental and emotional needs that are far harder to address.
In order to adequately care for the complex needs we humans have, ultimately what is needed is to be able to see into their inner dispositions and aptitudes. For this, nothing short of omniscience is required. However, His Holiness cautioned that we ought not to think that omniscience implies achieving a lofty birds-eye view of the world, or the ability to determine the exact number of insects on the planet at any given moment. Rather, omniscience is directly related to benefiting others. As such, the Gyalwang Karmapa suggested that we can aspire to attain a sort of omniscience within this life—an omniscience in which we come to know all the necessary topics, or know all that is directly needed to serve the purposes at hand.
In any case, His Holiness commented, whether we are experiencing pain or pleasure, happiness or suffering, we must always hold sentient beings in the corner of our mind and heart. In this way, we can aim gradually, step by step, towards the enlightenment that brings with it a buddha’s complete omniscience. Once we have reached that goal, the Gyalwang Karmapa said, this is not when our work ends, but when the real work of benefiting beings takes place.
The purpose of becoming a buddha is not to luxuriate in an exquisite pure realm, His Holiness stressed, but to be able to work most effectively for beings. When buddhas work, the Gyalwang Karmapa asked, where do they go? Where is their office? Their office is samsara, he replied. Our samsara is relatively small, His Holiness noted, compared to the vast samsara of all beings that buddhas voluntarily choose as their office or workshop.
With these comments, this five-day series of teaching on generating relative bodhicitta form this very embodiment of compassion neared their conclusion. The teachings were much enlivened both by His Holiness’ own recounting of numerous tales, and by his exchanges with his long-time English translator, Chak Ngodup Tsering, whom the Gyalwang
Karmapa at one point characterized as ‘naughty.’ 
In keeping with the spirit of inclusiveness and harmony that His Holiness both encourages and embodies, the thanking mandala was offered at the conclusion of the teachings by four representatives of diverse Buddhist traditions: a great Korean Buddhist master, the abbot of the great Nyingma monastery Mindroling, a learned Kagyu khenpo and a lharam geshe from the Gelugpa tradition.
Yet even after the thanking mandala, His Holiness kept offering Dharma, as well as his own thanks to the audience. When it comes to receiving Dharma as well as to benefiting sentient beings, he said, we should not be like rich people who insist on nothing less than the latest model and most expensive goods. (The Gyalwang Karmapa noted that the Dharma equivalent is to take interest only in such elevated practices of Mahamudra or Dzogchen.) Rather, we should be like penniless beggars, who welcome with great gratitude and joy any Dharma they receive. Similarly, we can feel that we have waited many lives to have the opportunity to benefit other beings, even in small ways. In this way, we will embrace with tremendous joy and enthusiasm each and every chance we find to work for the happiness of our mother sentient beings.
In concluding, the Gyalwang Karmapa expressed his own gratitude for the opportunity to share the experience of the Dharma teachings with the audience, both at Gyuto and those listening online via Internet. During these few days, we have deepened our connection to one another, shared our joys and sorrows, and come closer in the process, he said. His Holiness then made the aspiration that this small gathering be only the beginning, and that from this beginning we extend outwards to be able to share the joys and sorrows with all beings of the world. If this should happen, his wishes will be fulfilled, His Holiness said.
One final moment of stillness fell over the hall—and surely too in the homes and Dharma centers around the world wherever the webcast reached—as those listening absorbed the sheer beauty of this closing aspiration of the Gyalwang Karmapa. With that, the cameras were turned off and people slowly headed home, like joyful beggars who had just been offered more riches than they could conceivably carry.
The Autumn Teaching Series will be made available in the future for viewing at http://www.karmapa-teachings.org/



September 18, 2010 - Gyuto

On this fourth day of the Autumn Teachings Series, His Holiness linked his discussion of compassion to the development of wisdom. Discussing the tremendous kindness of others, the Gyalwang Karmapa extended the previous days’ presentation to include all the kindness we receive from the natural environment as well. His Holiness pointed out that every single breath we inhale is the product of countless anterior causes and conditions coming together. We are the beneficiaries not just of a single lungful of the oxygen that is essential to our survival, but of a continual supply throughout our lives. The Gyalwang Karmapa then went on to relate a personal experience he had while circumambulating Gyuto some time back, in which he felt the enormity of all that nature is offering us at all times, and was filled with a sense of wonder at this fact, and with wellbeing and happiness. Often, the Gyalwang Karmapa commented, we focus on all our personal goals and projects, and on what we have failed to accomplish with our own efforts, rather than opening our perspective to the tremendous richness and goodness that nature is offering us at all times, with no effort whatsoever. Maintaining an awareness of this ever-available goodness could bring far greater contentment and joy to our lives.
Returning to the storyteller mode to which he so often turned in this teaching series, His Holiness related an incident in which a widow with a newly born child had trained his dog to bring the baby bottle to the child and otherwise look after the infant. One day the father was detained during a blizzard, and arrived home to find a trail of blood through the house. Seeing blood on the dog’s muzzle and not seeing the child, the father was filled with rage and despair. He slit the dog’s throat on the spot, only to find his infant shortly thereafter, covered with blood but otherwise unharmed. When he later discovered the carcass of a wolf near the house, it became clear to him that his kind dog had successfully warded off an attack on his child by the wolf. Connecting the narrative to our own situation, the Gyalwang Karmapa went on to underscore the urgency for us to supplement our compassion with wisdom. Though we may have a sincere wish to benefit others, as long as we fail to understand the fullness of the situation and of people’s individual aptitudes, we will fail to effectively benefit them. Having a wish to benefit is not enough, we need to develop the ability to benefit insightfully. The training that bodhisattvas engage in includes all six of the paramitas or transcendences, His Holiness reminded us, not just generosity but also tolerance, enthusiastic perseverance and wisdom.
Some times, His Holiness reflected, people feel that their own pain and sadness may increase as their compassion for others increases. This can only happen if we are merely focusing on the suffering rather than on the person, the Gyalwang Karmapa stated. We can avoid this error by shifting our focus from the suffering itself to focus instead on the person and on how to free them from their sufferings. Using the analogy of a valuable object that falls into the fire, we do not sit pondering the sadness of the situation, nor do we waste time wondering about the temperature of the fire and how much damage it is doing. Rather our thoughts will turn to the valued object and we will seek the most effective means to extract it from the fire. In this way, the primary object of our meditation on compassion is the being whom we wish to protect and care for, and not simply the forms of suffering they face.



September 17, 2010 - Gyuto

The teaching hall at Gyuto frequently rang to the sound of laughter today, as the Gyalwang Karmapa continued his Autumn Teaching Series with a third day of teaching on the generation of relative bodhichitta. Today’s serious message on the damage done by our anger and other afflictive emotions was leavened by a series of humorous stories that His Holiness related with great joy and mirth.

Continuing the theme introduced yesterday of human cruelty to animals, His Holiness commented that because animals cannot express their feelings in human speech, somehow we feel entitled to ignore them. He then offered an imaginative exploration of what might ensue if fish, chicken or other animals whose flesh we consume unthinkingly might suddenly be endowed with the power of human speech. Surely they would hire lawyers and take us to task for our actions towards them, he said. Should we have to face them in court, what explanation could we possibly give for our treatment of them, His Holiness wondered. When required to account for our repeated killing and cruelty, the best we might be able to do is reply, “But you taste good!” or “Well, you just look like food to me!” These would obviously not hold up in court as justifiable reasons for our actions, the Gyalwang Karmapa wryly pointed out. Yet humanity’s acts of cruelty towards one another, up to and including genocide, develops from precisely this habitual willingness to enact our selfish and aggressive impulses, and ignore the suffering of others in the process, His Holiness cautioned.

In another humorous narrative, the Gyalwang Karmapa recounted an exchange between a king and his loyal servant named. One day, the king caught sight of himself in a mirror and exclaimed indignantly, “What is this ugly face doing here!” Apparently feeling that the problem lay in looking in mirrors, he thrust the mirror aside, determined not to pick it up again, and counseled his servant similarly to refrain from looking in mirrors. The servant seized the opportunity to comment to the king, “Your Majesty, you have seen that face in the mirror once, and now are done with it. But I have had to look at that face continually day after day, and will have to keep seeing it in the future as well!”

To ensure the point was not lost in the laughter that the story occasioned, His Holiness noted that just as we rely on mirrors to take stock of our physical appearance, we are in even greater need of a mirror that allows us to see our own minds. In a sense during the evening’s teaching the Gyalwang Karmapa was holding up just such a mirror for us all, as he shared insight after piercing insight into the ways that our minds can become marred by anger.

Analyzing how anger works, His Holiness observed that we generally do not recognize that the perception of others as our enemies comes from our own attitude of hostility and from our own willingness to nurse grudges over often minor incidents. When we choose to obsess continually over past harms done to us—incidents that in many cases lasted a fraction of the time we later spend fuming over them—we ourselves are voluntarily turning our kind father and mother sentient beings into our enemies. Instead, we can determine as spiritual practitioners to respond to others’ harm with even greater compassion for them.



September 16, 2010 - Gyuto

The second day of Autumn Teachings continued today at Gyuto Tantric University in Dharamsala, with a growing number of viewers around the world also receiving the teachings via live webcast. As His Holiness continued on the topic of cultivating relative bodhichitta, he gave a moving account of the kindness of mothers. However, before beginning the presentation on mothers’ kindness, which many Buddhist texts taking as a starting point for the cultivation of relative bodhichitta, the Gyalwang Karmapa pointed out that if due to a difference in cultural background we feel some doubt or difficulties with this presentation, we should not worry. We all surely have someone who has shown us great kindness – if not our mother, then our father, or a friend, or even a dog has been kind to us. If nothing else, he quipped, we ourselves may have been greatly kind to ourselves!
His Holiness went on to describe the care he had received from his own mother during his childhood in a remote nomadic region of Tibet. Lacking such facilities as electric heaters or baby bottles, his mother nourished him with her own milk and protected him from the cold by holding him close and sharing with him the warmth of her own body. Right from the beginning, His Holiness commented, we started within our mother’s own body, and initially formed part of her very flesh and blood. The Gyalwang Karmapa added that he cannot say he personally remembers the events that took place when he was one or two years old. But since we all enter the world in a similarly vulnerable state and similarly count on our parent’s care in similar ways, we can be confident that we were all the beneficiaries of great parental care.
Though we may find it difficult to recognize or relate to others as having been our own kind parents, His Holiness noted that when we watch movies we are able naturally to empathize with and root for the good guys. Since we are in fact the recipient of great kindness from sentient beings and since we do have this capacity to connect to others, what is it that impedes us in doing so? It is our own self-grasping or egocentric fixation that limits our ability to connect to others. As if trapping us in a prison with restricted visiting rights, it is our own egocentric self-grasping that limits whom we let in. In the end it is that simple a matter, His Holiness said.



September 15, 2010 - Gyuto

His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa commenced his five-day Autumn Teaching Series this afternoon to a packed hall at Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala, India. The teachings were entitled How to Generate Conventional Bodhichitta, and His Holiness is following the presentation by Lord Gampopa on the topic in his Precious Ornament of Liberation (Dagpo Thargyen). The Gyalwang Karmapa taught primarily in Tibetan, but often spoke directly in English as well. Translation was provided into English and Chinese for those in the hall, while translation was broadcast live into Polish and Spanish, and Korean and Vietnamese translators also making the teachings available in the hall for speakers of those languages.

An estimated more then 400 monks, nuns and laypeople assembled to receive teachings from the Gyalwang Karmapa, while a far great number were watching a live webcast of the teachings via Internet. The teachings were organized by the Karmapa’s Office of Administration. As cameras were broadcasting the teachings to the many watching form overseas, behind the camera, the office staff were busy working to bring about a perfectly executed event, while the Tsurphu Labrang monks served tea to all, and His Holiness’ own sister graciously moved through the hall ensuring that all was going well.

His Holiness began by commenting that most of those in attendance already had a connection with him, and that this connectedness left him with a sense of gratitude and a strong wish to benefit them. He stated that much as he wished to benefit them, due to what he described as his own shortcomings, he could mainly just make prayers to be able to do so. However, his teachings in the following two and a half hours proved his ability to do far more than simply pray to be of benefit to beings.

With his characteristic ability to bring the Buddha’s teaching into full contact with modern life, the Gyalwang Karmapa cautioned against feeling we lack the ability to attain Buddha’s level of wisdom. We may think, he said, that the Buddha’s royal wealth gave him some special advantage, as if he could contact Apple Computers and have them custom-design a special Mac brain for him, whereas the rest of us had to make do with a Windows XP brain. On the contrary, the difference between our awareness and that of the Buddha, His Holiness said, is that whereas we all share the basic wish to be happy and avoid suffering, the Buddha has fully understood what actually causes suffering and happiness, while we remain mired in confusion as to how to create our own happiness.

The teachings continue tomorrow and through Sunday afternoon. To watch live, visithttp://www.karmapa-teachings.org/.



September 12, 2010 - Gopalpur

On Sunday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurated Dorzong Monastic Institute in the presence of His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa. Dorzong Monastic Institute is a Buddhist learning centre located in a picturesque area covered with cedar forests, near Gopalpur village, some 20 km from Dharamsala.

Over a hundred admirers and followers gathered to seek blessings, as mass prayers were made for the inauguration.
The institute was established by the Eighth Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche, to preserve Buddhism in general and the tradition of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in particular.

The institute helps interested students of the Himalayan regions such as Zanskar, Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, as well as Tibetans residing in India, to study and practice Buddhism.

His Holiness Karmapa emphasized the need to study Buddha's teachings on cultivating love, compassion and ethical behavior based on reasoning and their relevance in our day-to-day life. He also underlined that awareness in understanding Buddhism, through study and logic, will help its preservation and promotion of its culture.

Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche and senior officials of the Central Tibetan Administration attended the ceremony.

Former chief minister Raja Virbhadra Singh laid the foundation stone of the institute on the 5th of December 2003.



September 4, 2010

The Karmapa's Office of Administration is delighted to announce that His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa has kindly decided to grant series of teachings each season.

The revised schedule of His Holiness’ Autumn Teaching is as follows:

September 15th –19th, 2010
The autumn teaching will be held at Gyuto Monastery from the 15th to 19th of September. The teaching will take place daily from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. His Holiness will teach in Tibetan, however, Chinese and English translations will be available.
The topic will be “How to Generate Relative Bodhichitta.”
To attend the teachings, advance registration will be required and will be conducted on site at Gyuto Monastery. Registration will be open from September 10th–14th, from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Passport or ID is required.
The teachings will be webcasted live, with the English and Chinese translations available on separate pages. The site for the web transmission will be on http://www.karmapa-teachings.org.


September 4, 2010 - Gyuto

His Holiness will be receiving the Kagyur Transmission from Sept 4 – Nov 4, 2010. Kyabje Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche will be giving the Kangyur transmission. 10 Rinpoches including: Kyabje Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche, Dorzong Rinpoche,2 Khenpos, and His Holiness' sister will also attend the transmission.