Summary of Brief Address by His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa to Students in Sarnath
His Holiness is currently staying in Vajra Vidya Institute in Sarnath, presiding over the Annual Kagyu Winter Program of Philosophy and Debate (Karma Gön Chö). At the request of the International students in Sarnath, His Holiness gave a short teaching on Christmas Day. The following is a summary:
His Holiness began by pointing out that last Christmas passed while he was in Bodhgaya and now he was teaching on Christmas in 2005. A whole year has gone by with the natural passing of time. His Holiness said that since none of us can predict what will happen by Christmas 2006, his advice would be that instead of eagerly waiting for the next time of celebration, we should instead focus our energies on any important aspirations and objectives that we may have, and try to fulfill them.
His Holiness felt that most people present were Buddhist. Many Buddhists talk about 'karma' as if karma is somehow unchangeable. However we should realize that 70-80% of karma is actually what we create. The remaining lesser percentage involve things and events that are not in our control, such as the passing of time. There also include some cases where karma has ripened beyond the point where it can be changed. His Holiness gave the example of a person on board a aeroplane ready for take-off. At that point, it might be too late for that person to change his or her mind about flying, but there was a lot of freedom of choice within the process of buying the ticket, getting to the airport, passing through the security checks and the like. Karma is a creative process and has a lot of flexibility, so we certainly do have some control over what we can accomplish within a certain period of time.
His Holiness said that whether one will accomplish the state of complete awakening is entirely dependent on us as individuals and that all of us are fully equipped with the potential to achieve that enlightenment. He expressed his sense that whenever he teaches Dharma, it is with the hope that it acts as a cause for us to appreciate that potential and perhaps that we might experience a sense of urgency to put this potential into practice. His Holiness felt that many of us have may have aspirations and objectives that remain currently unfulfilled and aspired that his words may inspire us to gather renewed conviction to pursue and fulfill them.
Then with a touch of humour, His Holiness noted since he was speaking on a Sunday, which is usually a day off, and that it was Christmas day as well, he had not prepared to so much. So His Holiness advised everyone simply to relax. In general, we should learn to relax the conceptual mind, because it is only within such a relaxed atmosphere that real communication takes place.
In conclusion, His Holiness expressed the aspiration that, through his sincere good wishes and prayers on this occasion, the unfulfilled aspirations and objectives of everyone will be fulfilled. - Karma Woser Rapten