2012/02/28

Gyalwang Karmapa’s teaching on the Vajradhara Lineage Prayer: Session Three


28 February, 2012, Monlam Pavilion


 
 2012.2.28  HHK Teaching Day 3 法王課程.〈金剛總持祈請文〉開示.第三天


The specialness of the 2012 Gutor

Gyalwang Karmapa began by describing how special Losar had been this year for him.  For the first time since he came to India, there had been a complete Gutor Mahakala ritual, including the empowerment, mantra recitation, the practice, the Cham dance, and the concluding activities. The Gutor ritual itself had been a revival of a particularly important text and melody. He hoped that those who were returning home at the conclusion of the teachings would share his happiness.

However, he warned, there is the danger that such things, especially the Cham dancing to which many people were invited, might be misunderstood and become a form of entertainment.  He had heard that in Japan there is a parallel tradition, but there the whole event becomes a form of meditation for both observers and dancers. It would be good if the Tibetan tradition could be like that.

Refuge vows:

Following a request from some attendees, Gyalwang Karmapa conferred the refuge vows.  There are two forms of refuge: repeating the refuge and taking the refuge vows. Reciting the words and feeling inspired was one aspect, but taking the refuge vows you have to make the commitment with the intention that it will be for the rest of your life, he explained. The refuge vow is the basic foundation for all Buddhist vows.

His Holiness then gave a short teaching on the meaning of refuge.

Having taken the refuge vows there are some precepts to observe, instructions on what has to be done and what should be given up. The usual analogy is the Buddha as doctor. When we are ill we visit the doctor and he prescribes medicine for us. We have to follow his instructions in order for our illness to be cured. In the same way the Dharma is the medicine; we have to put it into practice. Otherwise there is little sense in claiming to be a Buddhist.   A man goes to the temple; he prostrates three times, and recites prayers.  He seems to be devout, but what did he pray for? That his enemy be destroyed, his enemy’s family also, and so forth! That is not practising Dharma. The man has the appearance of being devout but he is not a Dharma practitioner.

It is important to realise that we do not go for refuge to please the Buddha; the practice of Dharma demands that we understand what Dharma is and practice accordingly.

Continuing the teaching on the Vajradhara Lineage Prayer
Devotion

Devotion is the head of meditation, as it is taught.
As ones who pray always to the lama who opens
The gate to the treasury of oral instructions:
Please bless us to develop genuine devotion.

In the teachings of great masters such as the Nyingma master Longchenpa and the Third Gyalwang Karmapa,  in the Geluk tradition and the Sakya tradition, in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism,  guru yoga is seen as the supreme medicine to cure all diseases; it is called  ‘white ginseng’,  a substance which can be used to treat all diseases in traditional medicine,.

The English word ‘devotion”  implies some sort of feeling which does not fully express the meaning  of the Tibetan word mögü  [Tib.mosgus].   Mögü is a compound noun. The first part mö implies longing, whereas the second part  gü  means showing deep respect and implies the actions which follow from deep respect.

The best example of mögü in action is Jetsun Milarepa.  He killed thirty-five people– that’s a terrible thing. I doubt anyone here has such a heavy misdeed, commented the Gyalwang Karmapa. Because of this great non-virtue, Milarepa felt that he had no choice but to practice Dharma and he was desperately determined to find someone who could teach him.   He was not half-hearted about this. He had such strong resolution, unlike us.  He believed that he needed to do exactly what his teacher told him to do because he saw no alternative.  It is sometimes said that if you have mögü it is always foremost in your mind, and everything else is coloured by this perspective of devotion to the lama.

Generally mögü can have different levels depending on the person’s capacity. Most importantly, we have to focus on positive qualities in others. Even if we can only see one positive quality, we need to accept it, rejoice in it, and respect it.  By doing this we generate our own positive qualities.  Mögü does not come of its own accord. It has to be developed step-by-step.  We need to look at the people around us and focus on their positive qualities; then mögü will develop naturally within us. If we only focus on their negative qualities we will simply produce more negativity in ourselves. 

Similarly, in the relationship between lama and student, it is important to concentrate on the positive qualities of the lama, not the negative ones: seeing  the lama’s positive qualities, rather than  their faults.  There is even the danger that sometimes we may project faults onto  the lama. It is said that the lama is the mirror of the student.  If our mind is full of faults and negativities we may project these onto the lama. 

But the lama is the spiritual friend, the Dharma friend whom we can trust. Therefore, when we talk about mögü it means  trying to implant all the positive qualities of body, speech and mind which the lama has, in ourselves.  It is said that if someone wants to attain Buddhahood, mögü alone can be taken as the path. If you can really see the positive qualities of the lama and try to cultivate them in yourself that is the main practice. There is no need to do anything else.

Lord Gampopa told his students, who included the First Karmapa, that he had done all the hard work already on their behalf; he had completed all the practices and accumulations, and undergone all the hardships.  All they needed to do was to pray.  Gampopa said that he had put the Dharma into practice, especially the things which were most difficult, and integrated them into his being, leaving his students only the easy and pleasant things to do.

Gyalwang Karmapa continued: The great masters of the past have prepared the way for us. They have undergone the hardships on our behalf and now it is all up to us. We have to develop diligence and joyful effort,  aspiration, longing and  determination, so that we can develop and activate all the lama’s positive qualities within ourselves.

As Milarepa said, “I have undergone hardships and completed all these practices for future generations, so that there may be no obstacles for them, and they can develop positive qualities unimpeded.”  This is more than an intellectual  understanding it has to be internalized and become  a living experience.

Shamatha meditation

This section is in two parts: shamatha [shinay] and vipassana [lhathong] meditation. The third verse deals with shamatha.

The main practice is being undistracted, as it is taught.
As ones who, whatever arises, rest simply,
Not altering, in just that fresh essence of thought:
Please bless us with practice that is free of conception.

According to the Mahayana view, meditation is divided into that which is reflective or analytical, which is linked with vipassana [lhathong], and placement meditation which is linked with shamatha [shinay or calm abiding medtation].  However, within the Vajrayana, in anuttarayoga  tantra practice, even placement meditation can be a part of vipassana.

Placement meditation is the basis and extremely important both for the mundane path and for the path beyond samsara.  Actually, without it one cannot advance along the mundane path, because the main criterion for progress is stability of the mind, how one-pointed you focus can be. Likewise stability of mind is necessary for a spiritual path.  These days there are so many distractions that it is very difficult to develop shamatha. In fact, some say it is almost impossible, so it is better to recite mantra so that you are reborn in Dewachen or Sukhavati.

Milarepa was fortunate to be born when he was. If he were to be born in the 21stcentury, even he might be distracted if he were offered  i-phones and i-pads. He might begin playing computer games!

Traditionally, there are two ways to develop shamatha. One is to go to a solitary place and meditate undisturbed, but perhaps this is almost impossible these days.

The second way is not to go to a special place but to develop awareness of what is happening in your mind and relax into the natural state. I suggest this is the best way in this age, as it is almost impossible to be free of all distractions. You could go into the Himalayas, up Mt Everest, and even there your mobile phone might ring!

In the text   ‘being undistracted’   is a reference to the practise of mindfulness; mindfulness  is the guardian of our mind. If you are  ‘undistracted’   you are aware of whatever thoughts arise in your mind. For instance, if an afflictive emotion arises, you do not focus on it -the object-but rather  look at the subject, the point where the emotion is arising. And being mindul of that, you see the freshness of the mind.  You can watch the emotions arising in your mind. That is meditation.

If you forget  to look at the subject, if you are distracted by the object of the thoughts, and lose your focus on the subject you will be distracted and you will have lost your meditation.
It is like the difference between throwing a stone at a lion and a dog.

If you throw stones at a lion, the lion doesn’t run after the stones, a lion  will look for the source of the stones and then  attack the person throwing the stones ––you! So that’s the end of the stone-throwing.  Whereas, if you throw stones at a dog, the dog will chase the stone, so you can throw another stone, and another, and it will chase after them. 

 If, when you experience an emotion, you follow it, then you will continue to follow as more thoughts arise, and your concentration will be lost as you chase after them.    In the end you will be overwhelmed.

On the other hand, if, when a strong negative emotion arises, you look at the emotion  itself, focussing on it, your mindfulness will catch the nature of your mind. Then, even strong negative emotions lose their power.

Some people misunderstand the instruction  “watch the thought”  as meaning that they should hold on to the thought or emotion,  but that thought is already in the past. It has gone. Nothing is permanent and powerful emotions keep changing. The awareness you need to develop is an awareness of your mind, not of particular thoughts and emotions.  Looking  at the nature of the mind means being aware of that awareness.

Gyalwang Karmapa’s advice was to find an experienced master to teach you how to meditate; listening to this talk is not enough.

Vipassana meditation


The second aspect of meditation is vipassana [lhathong] or analytical meditation, as expressed in the verse:


The essence of thought is the dharmakaya, as it is taught.
Not anything at all, yet arising as anything,

In unceasing play we arise: Please bless us

To realize samsara and nirvana are inseparable.

Gyalwang Karmapa commented that, when we talk about the nature of thought as the dharmakaya, it can be understood in two ways. The first way is that the nature of our mind is emptiness.  So the essence of thought is emptiness — is the dharmakaya.

The second way is to consider a strong negative emotion such as anger.  This negative emotion has two parts – clarity and awareness, and the klesha or negative part.  The knowingness and clarity part of anger will continue until enlightenment but the kleshapart has to be eradicated.  In muddy water it is impossible to separate the mud from the water. Likewise the sea and its waves cannot be separated. The waves are naturally part of the sea. They do not disturb the sea. Sea and waves are inseparable.

This is the nature of the insepararbility of thoughts and the dharmakaya.

In the story of Milarepa it is said that we should first follow  the vipassana path of reflection and then develop placement meditation.  However, if you are an advanced practitioner you can begin with the latter. The nature of mind is clear light. It is said that  ‘undistracted’  is the actual meditation whereas loving kindness and compassion are the activity of the meditation –the result.

When we talk about bodhisattvas, some are committed to work only for the purposes  of others, some work for others and for themselves, and then there are some who work mainly for  their own benefit.  His Holiness referred to an example he often uses: It is like when a house is on fire. Someone is sleeping, when the house catches fire.  He wakes up, smells smoke and instinctively  runs to the door in order to escape, but at the door, with one foot inside and one foot outside the house, he remembers the other members of his family still trapped inside the house, so turns around and goes back in to save them too.

If someone says they are working  only  for the benefit of  others,  it is usually not the complete truth. We also benefit. Being concerned for one’s own welfare is  fine, but there should be a balance – we have to  be  concerned for the welfare of others as well, and this concern  is an outcome  of  analytical meditation. If you have ten apples, you will not be able to eat them all at one time, and there is the danger that if you keep them, some will become rotten before you get chance to eat them. The solution is to eat one and give away the rest. But this seemingly unselfish act may result in benefits for you too. The following day someone may have oranges and offer you one, or bananas and so forth.  When we talk about love and compassion it means we should never neglect the welfare of others, we should always consider their welfare, but we can be concerned for our own welfare too.

The aspiration
In all of our births may we never be separated
From the perfect guru, enjoying Dharma’s splendour.
Perfecting the qualities of the paths and levels,
May we quickly reach the state of Vajradhara.
Gyalwang Karmapa expressed his joy that the whole mandala of trulkus, rinpoches, sangha and devotees had been able to gather together to participate in a great festival of Dharma. He hoped that it would happen again and again, not just in the present life but in future lives as well.
He said: I pray from the bottom of my heart, we shall have these dharma festivals again and again, life after life;  that we can work for the benefit of all sentient beings; That is my principal prayer here, and I am sure you also share this aspiration.

In conclusion HHGK spoke about the unique power of the2012 Monlam because of the different factors which had come together; it was being held in a sacred place, Bodhgaya; it was being held at a special time, the Month of Miracles; both  men and women were praying together; the four pillars of the sangha were present together - bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasikas and upasikis; and  there was strong samaya between students and teachers. All these factors increased its power.

Finally, His Holiness wIshed everyone enduring happiness and well-being.

 Horst Rauprich from Karma Leksheling, the Gyalwang Karmapa’s centre in Germany, gave a thank-you speech and the three day teaching concluded with a mandala offering to His Holiness.

Report by Jo Gibson, photos taken by Karma Lekcho, Filip Wolak, Liao Guo MingPalten Nyima
http://www.kagyumonlam.org/English/News/Report/Report_20120228.html

2012/02/27

GYALWANG KARMAPA'S TEACHINGS ON THE VAJRADHARA LINEAGE PRAYER SESSION TWO: MATERIAL THINGS CANNOT BRING TRUE HAPPINESS


27 February, 2012 Bodhgaya (Monlam Pavilion)


Gyalwang Karmapa began the second day of his teachings on the Vajradhara Lineage Prayer by providing further explanations on the previous day's teachings on the history of the Karma Kagyu lineage.  His Holiness spoke at length on the role of Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche in the history of the Karma Kagyu tradition.
He said that Jamgon Lodro Thaye is the first Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and his reincarnation, Jamyang Khyentse Oser, was born as the son of the Fifteenth Gyalwang Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje. The Fifteenth Gyalwang Karmapa decided to include him as one of the heart sons, along with Tai Situpa, Shamar Rinpoche, Gyaltsap Rinpoche, Pawo Rinpoche and Treho Rinpoche.  Including the Karmapa, this brought the total number of heart sons in the Karma Kamtsang tradition to seven. Gyalwang Karmapa said Jamgon Kongtrul was clearly predicted in the prophecies of Lord Buddha. He said Jamyang Khyentse Wangmo and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye were extremely influential figures in the rime or the non-sectarian movement in Tibet. They propagated all the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.
They received all the empowerments and instructions available during that time. They not only remained non-sectarian in principle but also actively practiced it. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche traveled all over Tibet and received transmissions from whoever had them. For instance, there was a story about how Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche received a rare transmission from a blind person. He read line by line and had the blind person repeat after him, thereby receiving the transmission. How much effort they put into receiving these teachings is something beyond our imagination.
Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye also compiled the  Five Treasuries, which run into hundreds of volumes. He was so indefatigable, according to one story, that when he was over 80 years old and found it difficult to write, the pen was tied to his hand. His activities included the composition, The Prayer for the Well-Being of Tibet, which is read during the Kagyu Monlam. Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye personally used to read it six times a day. The relationship between Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche is so strong that it should serve as a role model for all of us. They were both each others' student as well as teacher to each other. The Fifth Gyalwang Karmapa  predicted that anyone who had the opportunity to come in contact with Jamgon Kongtrul and Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche would be liberated from samsara (the same was also said to apply to Terton Chogyur Lingpa.)

In addition, Jamgon Kongtrol Lodro Thaye is extremely important not only for the Karma Kamtsang school but also for Tibetan Buddhism as a whole. His detailed notes on the teachings and transmissions he received amount to one big volume, about 1,000 pages long. It was published in Tibet last year and is a great source of information. Jamgon Kongtrul's work is invaluable for all those who want to know the history and details of the 13 tantric and sadhana practices, which originate from Marpa. We have preserved these teachings so purely because of Jamgon Kongtrul's efforts.
The Fifteenth Karmapa Khakyab Dorje and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye enjoyed a great relationship. The Second Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Jamgon Khyentse Oser, was the son of the Fifteenth Karmapa Khakyab Dorje.  Khakyab Dorje had great devotion to Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. Consequently, before he passed away, he had told the Karmapa that he would come back as his son. Jamgon Khyentse Oser, the Second Jamgon Kongtrul, was a great master of Mahamudra. The Sixteenth Karmapa would seek the help of Jamgon Khyentse Oser whenever he had questions regarding Mahamudra. Although he was the son of the Karmapa, he was said to have a very humble demeanor. He was able to connect with everybody easily.

As you all know, the Third Jamgong Kongtrul Rinpoche—Lodro Chokyi Senge—was extraordinary in both dharma and mundane activities. He was an important confidante of the Sixteenth Karmapa, for whom he did a lot of work, including building and looking after the Buddhist institute in Rumtek monastery in Sikkim. Unfortunately, he passed away in a car accident. Many people believe if he had not passed away, the Karma Kagyu School would not have become embroiled in so many conflicts. His activities were very widespread and many of you who met with him must still feel those connections. When the Sixteenth Karmapa was ill, Jamgon Kongtrul went out of his way to serve his teacher. I have heard that before he passed away, the Sixteenth Karmapa said, that even though he might not have had the opportunity to pay back his gratitude in that life, he would do so in the next life.

The Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul was recognized by me when I was just a child. When I was in Tibet, there were some restrictions on recognizing reincarnations. In spite of these restrictions, I was able to recognize over 40 trulkus, some overtly and some secretly. Of them all, the clearest was Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. With regards to the others, I had a mixture of clarity and lack of clarity. But amongst all of them Jamgon Kongtrul was extremely clear. I am confident that his activities will be beneficial for all of the Karma Kamtsang tradition. His activities will be strong and stable. I also request all of you to contribute and support him in his activities, for Buddhism in general and the Karma Kamtsang in particular.


Since I have a knack of getting caught up in problems, I request all of you to support Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche's activities. In 2012, it will be 20 years since the Third Jamgon Kongtrul passed away – and the bicentennial of the birth of the First Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. Consequently, the theme of the next Kagyu Monlam will be Jamgon Kongtrul and his activities.
We have the teachings of Buddha because of Shakyamuni Buddha's efforts and dedication for many lifetimes. If we talk about Buddhism, it comes from the tireless work and efforts of many great beings in the past. The Karma Kamtsang tradition is the same. The school is flourishing because of the many masters who worked tirelessly. The fact that we have a living tradition is due to the efforts of these masters. The teachings have been preserved thanks to this great effort by a great many people. If we know what their activities were and the efforts that they made, we will be able to appreciate it more and it will help us understand the greatness of these teachings and the tradition, and to follow in  the footsteps of these masters. It will also help facilitate a certain kind of devotion and appreciation to arise in our minds. Otherwise, if we take it for granted, genuine devotion may not arise. It is therefore important to know the stories and be inspired by these masters. Therefore, I am spending time talking about these masters.


Gyalwang Karmapa pointed out that as the head of the Karma Kagyu Lineage he also finds it necessary to say a little bit about troubles that had befallen the Karma Kagyu School. He said since we are all samsaric beings, some attachment and aversion is inevitable. He, however, said it is important to take a long view. He said that it is important to be mindful and not fall into the trap of attachment and aversion because there is the risk that it might lead to the disintegration of the Karma Kagyu's golden lineage. Some attachment and aversion might sometimes be necessary. Nonetheless, it is important from our side to exercise caution and refrain from getting involved in conflicts. We have to remain sincere, have a good heart and not do anything negative or harmful to others. This will be important in the long run for the long-term interest of the Karma Kagyu tradition. He said that it was difficult for him to   talk about these matters but as the lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu tradition, he had to say a little about these things.  However, he could only say so much and then it was up to us to think more about these matters.
Gyalwang Karmapa then came to the main teachings focused on the Mahamudra Lineage Prayers, or Dorje Chang Tungma. He went on to explain the following stanzas:

Revulsion is the foot of meditation, as is taught.

To this meditator who is not attached to food and wealth,

Who cuts the ties to this life? 

Grant your blessings so that I have no desire for honor and gain.

His Holiness further explained the Tibetan word shenlok. He said there are many different translations of this word, such as  "detachment," "revulsion" and "disgust." Gyalwang Karmapa said that the closest meaning of the word is perhaps the feeling one experiences when accidentally stepping upon a pile of feces on the road. While sometimes detachment can be interpreted as being indifferent to both good and bad, Gyalwang Karmapa said he does not think that is "shenlok."

One of the most important yogis, Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen, a great Sakyapa master, said that if you are attached to this life, you are not practicing dharma. If you are attached to samsara, then it is not renunciation. If you are attached to yourself, then you are not a true bodhisattava. If you are clinging, then it is not the right view. The Four Dharmas of Gampopas are in essence the same. For a person to be totally liberated from samsara there has to be e a hand, feet and the main body.

In addition, Gyalwang Karmapa said that for detachment or revulsion there is one-sided or incomplete detachment. For instance, if you were to put grass in front of carnivorous animals, they would not eat it; that is not complete revulsion. If you put meat in front of a deer, it will not eat it because deer are herbivorous. Also, most of the birds, except crows, do not hoard things. These are all kinds of detachment but not complete detachment.  Rather, it is simply not in their nature to be attracted to them.

What do we mean by true renunciation, true detachment, or true revulsion? There are three levels of detachment. At the very least, we need to feel revulsion with this life. At the level of beginners, we see no use being attached to this life. If we are more advanced, then we feel no attachment to samsara. If we are very advanced, then we are not attached to peace or complete or partial peacefulness.

How should we feel disgusted with this life? This is my opinion, so I am not claiming that it is correct: when we say we practice dharma, what we mean is that we practice it primarily eyeing our future lives. If you just practice for this current life, then it is not real dharma. Practicing Dharma is not for this life, it is for the long run. Of course, we have to earn a livelihood but the main purpose of dharma is for the benefit of future lives. But if we get our priorities wrong,  dharma becomes less important. Most people have got their priorities wrong and have got it upside down. Therefore, it can be said that whether you are a practitioner or not depends upon whether you are looking at the short term or the long-term benefit.

For instance, Milarepa completely gave up the welfare of this life. He lived in the Snow Mountains, and he did not have anything to eat, nor did he have any companion. It is not possible for us to follow his example because we might die of hunger, cold or loneliness. I am not saying that everybody has to practice like Milarepa. But what I am saying is that it is important to think about the long-term. As a dharma practitioner, our goal is the long-term, and the rest is secondary. That is what we mean by the term dharma practitioner: someone who prioritizes the welfare of a future life over the present life. For example, a dharma practitioner can be a businessman, but his or her main goal is practicing for future lives. In this way, if business is not so good, there is no major cause for concern, because, as a dharma practitioner, business is only a secondary objective, not the primary one. Though there may be problems with the business, there are other things that could be done. There is no need to commit suicide. There are many monks and nuns here. Some are true sangha, and others are not. Some of them only come to take tea and bread or to collect alms.  Attending Kagyu Monlam with material goals is not right because we are here to pray for world peace. On the contrary, if we practice properly and accumulate merit,  coming here will  become meaningful.

The people who do not believe in future lives can also practice dharma. Generally there needs to be some merit in order to generate belief in the next life. For instance, some of us believe that our happiness comes from external or material things. If we look deeply then material things are not the source of happiness. Many people from developed countries have come to understand this. Material things do not bring lasting peace and happiness; they produce more difficulties, more problems, and unhappiness. When we think about it carefully, to only pursue material things is not the source of our happiness. We have to understand that true happiness has to come from within, from developing a certain kind of contentment. It is not based on gaining material things.

Therefore, having detachment, some kind of renunciation, or distaste for material things will bring happiness to our lives. This is another way of understanding not being attached to this life. Material things do not necessarily bring lasting peace. Real happiness has to come from within. So when we talk about shenlok, it is sometimes also said that "meditation" should not be taught to the wrong person because then it will be used for wrong objectives. Meditation has to be given to the person who has developed disgust with the samsaric state of being. Therefore, the great masters have said meditation has to have the right ownership. The foot has to be strong because with a good foot a person can walk towards enlightenment.  If you teach meditation to those who have aspirations only for this life, it will be used for that purpose and nothing more. It is therefore important to use it in the right away.

Then Gyalwang Karmapa related three stories. The first one was one about Gyalwa Yangonpa's encounter with Zambala, the God of Wealth. Once Gyalwa Yangonpa was in retreat and making a water offering to Zambala. Out of the water bubbles appeared two Zambalas, one black and the other yellow. The Zambalas told him they wanted to give him whatever he asked for.  Gyalwa Yangonpa said," I do not need anything because I live in solitude in a remote area." He told Zambala, "If you really want to give something, please give it to the beggars."

The second story was of Druptop Ugenpa, who was a student of Karma Pakshi and Gyalwa Gotsangpa. He once came to Magadha in India. There he had a vision of the Indian deity Ganesha. Ganesha offered to become his protector, if he made torma offerings to Ganesha and stayed in Bodhgaya for three years. In addition, Ganesha would also offer him one third of the world. His Holiness said he was not sure whether the world meant the whole world or just India.  Gyalwa Gotsangpa responded: "I know that you need meat and blood, which I cannot give you. And how long I stay in Bodhgaya is totally up to me. Moreover, if you gave me one-third of the world, what would I do with it?"  If you are too attached to material things, you end up losing your independence.
The third story was  900 years old. Once upon a time a rich man lived next door to a poor man. Every evening, the rich man would hear the poor man sing and wonder why the poor man was so happy. Was it because he had so little money? So one day, after the poor man had gone out to go begging, the rich man left a huge piece of gold, as big as the size of a goat's head, in the man's room. When the poor man came back, he was surprised to see it. He thought that somebody must have forgotten it and contemplated ways to return it to its owner. However, later he thought that it must have been left by higher beings, who perhaps wanted to look after him because he was so poor. Then the poor man began to make plans about how to spend the gold, how to invest the money and how to build a new house. Lost in thought, he forgot to sing that night.  Meanwhile, the rich man was watching the poor man from the window. This proves we often lose sight of our goals. We pursue wealth to seek happiness. This is not right. Material things will never bring us lasting peace and happiness.
2012.2.27  HHK Teaching Day 2〈金剛總持簡短祈請文〉開示.第二天

2012/02/26

GYALWANG KARMAPA'S TEACHINGS ON THE VAJRADHARA LINEAGE PRAYER SESSION ONE: GREAT MASTERS OF THE KARMA KAMTSHANG LINEAGE


26 February, 2012 Bodhgaya (Monlam Pavilion)


February 26 is the first of the three days of teachings by the Gyalwang Karmapa to both the lay and ordained sangha. Coming from all over the world, they fill the ground under the vast blue arch of the tent, reminding us that the early incarnations of the Karmapa traveled widely with his retinue who stayed in tents, hence the name Tsurphu Gar, the Encampment of Tsurphu. Flanked on either side by four stands of flowers, the Karmapa's carved wooden throne is set up between the apron of the stage and the stairs that ascend up to the Buddha statue. Just behind the Karmapa's throne are paintings of central figures from the four different lineages in Tibet.
Accompanied by the sound of gyalings, the Karmapa enters the Monlam Pavilion, makes three bows, and takes his seat on the Dharma throne. With three bells, everyone makes their bows and then recites in Sanskrit the refuge and two short teachings plus a dedication, which is followed by the Short Vajradhara Lineage Prayer.  While translators of ten different languages sit in front of him, the Karmapa includes in his prayers one to teach the Dharma in many different tongues. After an offering to him for his long life, the teachings begin.
The text the Gyalwang Karmapa will be teaching for three days is entitled "The Short Vajradhara Lineage Prayer." He began playfully by saying that just looking at the name, you might think that there is a short Vajrdhara and a tall Vajradhara. Actually, it means the short prayer of Vajradhara as compared to longer prayers of Vajradhara. The author is Bengar Jampal Zangpo, who is regarded as a reincarnation of the Kadampa Geshe, Langri Tsangpa. Bengar Zangpo was also a root teacher of the Seventh Karmapa, Chodrak Gyatso.
Usually, teachings about this prayer are preceded by an explanation of how to meditate on the lineage, displayed in a refuge tree either as a gathering of lamas or as a line with one set directly above the other. Today, however, the teachings will be a commentary on the meaning rather than an extensive explanation of this meditation.
In India, the mahamudra lineage comes through Tilopa, Naropa, and Maitripa, and in Tibet, through Marpa, the great translator. He went to India three times and studied with the masters of meditation and texts, Naropa and Maitripa, who were famous all over India. Studying with many others, Marpa received teachings on all four sections of the tantra. He received a prediction that his disciples would be more advanced than their teacher and that their students would be even more realized, so that his lineage would be like a river ever increasing in its flow. Marpa's main students were known as the four pillars. From among them, it was Ngok Choku Dorje who received the transmission of the teaching lineage of the tantras. Due to him, this lineage continues, not only in the Kagyu but also in other schools.
Another tantric lineage that Marpa brought back from India was that of the practice lineage, which was transmitted to Milarepa. He preserved it through following exactly his teacher's instructions and through undergoing great hardships—meditating in the remote areas of high snow mountains and subsisting on nettles. Milarepa attained most profound experiences of the lineage.
Milarepa had numerous great students who were highly realized, the two greatest of whom are known as the sun-like and moon-like disciples. The latter was Rechungpa, famous for his hearing lineage and for passing away without leaving any physical remains. One of his famous disciples was Khyung Tsangpa, and his student was Lorepa. There are many supreme masters who maintain this special hearing lineage of Rechungpa.  Another student was Nyandzong Repa Changchup Gyalpo, who had a lineage called the Nyendzong hearing lineage.
The most important lineage holder of Milarepa was Gampopa, who founded the Dagpo Kagyu. He is also known as Noble Dawa Shonnu (Youthful Moon) and Dakpo Lhaje (the Doctor from Dakpo). In three sutras, he was predicted by the Buddha, saying there will be someone called Gelong Tsoze, which means a Bhikshu who is a doctor. His nephew was Gompo Tsultrim Nyingpo (or Gomtsul), who held the lineage of the main seat of Gampopa, known as Densa Kagyu, which his descendants continued. Gomtsul's main student was Shang Yudrakpa or Tsondru Drakpa, from who stems the Tsalpa Kagyu, one of the four elder Kagyu schools.
It was also predicted that Gampopa would have 500 purified students and 500 still to be purified.  From among these, there were 800 highly qualified meditators and of these, the principal ones were the three men from Kham. One of them, the Grey-Haired Khampa or Dusum Khyenpa (the First Karmapa), founded the lineage of the Karma Kamtsang. Another of the three, Khampa Dorgyal or Palden Pakmodrukpa, founded the Pakdru Kagyu. This lineage spread the most widely since all the eight younger schools of Karma Kagyu stem from him. Another direct student of Gampopa is Barompa Darma Wangchuk who started the Barom Kagyu lineage, home to many great masters. His student was Trishi Repa, who became a teacher of the Chinese emperor, and his teachings continue to this day.
The Vajradhara Prayer speaks of "the four elder lineages" and these come from Gampopa and his nephew Gomtsul, who were very similar in their realization. There were no students of Gampopa who did not also receive teachings from Gomtsul as well. These four lineages are the Tsalpa Kagyu, Karma Kagyu, Barom Kagyu, and Pakdru Kagyu; some add the Densa Kagyu to make five. These are called the elder lineages as they all come directly from Gampopa and his nephew Gomtsul; the younger lineages all come from the students of Gampopa's students.
This is an extremely important point because one might misunderstand (especially if the termche is translated as "greater" and chung as "lesser") and think that the four elder lineages are better— more powerful, valuable, or famous—and that the eight younger lineages are not as good—being smaller, weaker, or not so important. But this is not the case. The direct disciples of Gampopa and Gomtsul are the elder, and the next generation stemming from them, especially Pakmodrukpa, are known as the younger.
Some writers say that the term four elder and eight younger (che bzhi chung brgyad) was not there before Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, a contemporary of the Fourteenth Karmapa, but this is not correct. In writings of Taklung Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who lived at the time of the Tenth Karmapa, we find this term so it predates Jamgon Kongtrul.
When translating the Kagyu Monlam Prayer Book, we decided to use the terms "elder" for the direct disciples of Gampopa and Gomtsul and "younger" for the lineages of their students. This way of translating also follows a tradition related to three families of Ling Gesar, in which these terms che, chung, and also bar (middle) appear: the first was the lineage of the elder and the second of the younger, which was actually more powerful.  So in Tibetan the term che can mean "the elder brother"and chung can mean "younger brother." It's very important to be clear about this so that we do not use the term to mean than some lineages are better than the others.
Since this is a Drupgyu Karma Kamtshang gathering, it might be useful to explain this name, too.  Drupgyu (sGrub brgyud) refers to the practice lineage; Karma is from Karmapa, the one who performs the activities of all the buddhas; and Kam comes from Kampo Gangra, the name of a place in Lithang in Eastern Tibet; Tshang literally means "nest" and by extension, "dwelling or place," so the name could be translated as "the Karmapa's practice lineage from Kampo Gangra." This sacred place of Chakrasamvara is where Gampopa told Dusum Khyenpa to practice, and if he did, his activity would spread throughout Tibet. Dusum Khyenpa's final realization was also here at Kampo Gangra.
In addition to the name of Karma Kamtshang, we also find Karma Kagyu (Kar ma bka' brgyud). The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, was not popularly known as Karmapa, though in a vision he had received this name as the performer of the activities of all the buddhas. People have different theories about the origin of this name. Some say that it comes from the fact that the Dusum Khyenpa stayed for a long time in Karma Gon, and so his lineage took its name from this place. Some historians say the name Karmapa was given only to the second Karmapa, so the Karmapas begin with him, and Dusum Khyenpa is then considered the first holder of the Black Crown. So there are different ways of explaining the origin of the name Karmapa and, by extension, of Karma Kagyu.
There is also a variety of predictions about the number of the Karmapa's incarnations. Chokgyur Lingpa wrote that for seven generations, the Karmapa's rebirth or reincarnations (yangsi, yang srid) will appear and then there will be thirteen manifestations (trulpa, sprul pa) making for a total of twenty-one. There is a prediction from Guru Rinpoche that the Karmapa will have only seven reincarnations. The Fifth Karmapa predicted that there will be twenty-five. Drupchen Nyakre Sewo stated that there will be 1002 Karmapas, and though they might not be throne holders or carrying the name of the Karmapa, they will be performing the Karmapa's activities, so it is said that the Karmapa's activities will not finished until all the activity of the 1000 buddhas comes to a close.
Others say that his activity will last until the end of samsara. Let us take a brief look at the differences between what are known as reincarnations and as manifestations. A manifestation arises from  its own basis, or foundation, and there can be many manifestations. For example, an arhant can produce manifestations, but they have no independent power to think or act for themselves; the basis that produced them (the arhant in this case) must first think and act. By contrast, manifestations of the Buddha can think and act on their own. Now in the case of a reincarnation, the basis of manifestation itself takes rebirth. Further, the way manifestations happen depends on the capacity of the people who are manifesting. For example, if they have the level of realization, they can emanate manifestations of their body, speech, mind, qualities, and activity.
Tulkus can be recognized in two main ways: through connection and through similarity. Not all tulkus are manifestations of buddhas or bodhisattvas. When people make powerful prayers, practice well, maintain good conduct and discipline, and gather the accumulations, they create the auspicious connection to take birth as a special individual; due to the aspirations they have made in the past, they will now have the capacity to help numerous living beings. A highly realized master can see this potential and will give them the name of a tulku. This benefits them in developing their positive potential as they will have more opportunities to increase their merit and wisdom will come to them. Since their aspirations are genuine, they are able to benefit others. In a lighter tone, His Holiness added that we cannot call everyone a tulku. If we did, who would be left to offer respect to the tulkus?
Through many generations, the Karmapa has had uncountable numbers of students; the greatest among them, he recognized as having attained his  level of abandoning what is negative and attaining what is positive. These disciples are known collectively as the father Karmapa and his heart sons (rgyal ba yab sras). Their relationship is that of a teacher and student, but calling them father and son points to their special connection: a father does not have so many children, and a teacher can have many students. His Holiness presented the heart sons in their historical order.

Shamar Rinpoche


The first of these special students is the Shamarpa. The Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi, predicted that about one hundred years later, he would have two reincarnations with the equivalent level of abandonment and realization, even though they would be described as teacher and student. One of them would wear the Black Hat and the other a Red Hat.  This lineage of enthroned reincarnations continued through to the Tenth Shamarpa. At this time, problems arose and so the Tibetan government did not allow his reincarnations to be recognized or enthroned.
Just previous to this Tenth Shamarpa, there were two claimants for the reincarnation of the Ninth Shamarpa, because two lamas had recognized two different children. Due to Chinese influence, there was a lottery system of selecting a name from a golden vase, so in this way, Tashi Tsepay (his family name) Shamar was enthroned. The second reincarnation, Nam Ling (his family name) Shamar continued to take birth up to the time of the Fifteenth Karmapa.
When the Tenth Shamarpa passed away, there were three generations of lamas who were said to be reincarnations of the Shamarpa, but they were not enthroned. Therefore, if one counts all who were enthroned, the present Shamarpa is the eleventh, and if one counts those who were not enthroned, he is the fourteenth. Since for three generations, the Shamarpas were not enthroned, when the Sixteenth Karmapa came to India, he asked the Fourteenth Dalai Lama to allow the recognition of Shamarpa. His Holiness gave his consent, and this is how the present Shamarpa was enthroned.

Situ Rinpoche


The First Situpa was a direct disciple of the Fifth Karmapa, Dezhin Shekpa. Since then the Situpas held responsibility for the seat of Karma Gön, one of the three main seats of the Karmapa. In general, all the Situpas were important but especially so was the Eighth Situ Chokyi Jungne, also known as Situ Panchen. When Karmapa and Shamarpa went to China, Situ Rinpoche requested to travel with them, but the Karmapa asked him to remain in Tibet. As it happened, on the way to China, both the Karmapa and Shamar Rinpoche passed away within a few days of each other, so the responsibility for the lineage fell on the shoulders of Situ Rinpoche. He carried this responsibility magnificently and engaged in vast activity. He established Palpung Monastery in Kham and helped to preserve all aspects of Tibetan culture.  He was a great scholar in all the branches of study found in India and Tibet as well as a superb artist. We owe Situ Chokyi Jungne tremendous gratitude.
After the Fourth Situpa, Mingyur Chokyi Gocha, and the Fifth Situpa died at a young age, yet his incarnation is still counted among the numbers of Situpas, making the present one the Twelfth Situpa. Another Situpa, Lekshey Mrawa, (born between the Seventh and Eight Situpas) was recognized, but at that time, the Kagyu school was undergoing a period of weakness. Since the members of the family were rather arrogant, they did not offer their child for enthronement, so this incarnation died at a young age and is not numbered among the Situpas.
The Eleventh Situpa was a serious person who published all the words of the Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje, including his profound commentaries, so it is thanks to him that we still have these texts. He also established a shedra or an institute for the study of Buddhist philosophy. We will talk about the present Situpa on the last day of he Monlam.

Gyaltsap Rinpoche


The First Gyaltsap Rinpoche, Goshir Paljor Döndrup, was a contemporary of the author of our text, Pengar Jampel Sangpo. Both masters were teachers of the Seventh Karmapa, who received the vinaya and ordination from Pengar Jampel Sangpo and most of the teachings and transmissions from the First Gyaltsap Rinpoche. Pengar Jampal Sangpo was also known as Lama Rinpoche Wang Gyapa (Precious Lama with Hundreds of Empowerments) as there was not one empowerment he did not have from all the lineages. This came about because the Sixth Karmapa knew that he would be his teacher in the next life, so he sent him everywhere to receive all the reading transmissions, empowerments, and instructions, which Pengar Jampal Sangpo could then pass on to the Seventh Karmapa, allowing all of this precious Dharma to remain intact in Tibet. After this first incarnation, the Gyaltsap Rinpoches incarnated in unbroken succession. During a war between Central and Western Tibet, which involved the Mongolians as well, the Karma Kamtsang school suffered greatly and almost disappeared. Using skillful means, the Eighth Gyaltsap Rinpoche made a connection with the Mongolian leader Goshri Khan and, thereby, was able to save Tsurphu Monastery and preserve the Kamtsang lineage as well as other Kagyu schools. That the Kamtsang Kagyu remains today is thanks to Gyaltsap Rinpoche.

Pawo Rinpoche and Treho Rinpoche


In the Kagyu tradition, the First Pawo Rinpoche, Tsuklak Trengwa, was a supreme scholar of the history of Tibetan Buddhism, and to this day his history is still highly respected and widely read. We do not know much about Treho Shabdrung Rinpoches. It is said that his name is one of a certain position or rank, of which there are two, senior and junior. The one included in the six father and sons is the junior one.  His incarnations have continued. This has been a brief introduction to the five sons and their father, the Karmapa. Tomorrow, we will continue this discussion of the lineages that have given us such a rich heritage of scholarship and practice.

2012.2.26  HHK Teaching Day I 法王課程.〈金剛總持簡短祈請文〉開示第一天

2012/02/22

LOSAR : THE YEAR OF THE WATER DRAGON BEGINS


22 February, 2012 Bodhgaya

Tergar Monastery in Bodhgaya held its Tibetan New Year prayer ceremony on February 22, 2012. At around 7 am, two major lamas of the Karma Kagyu tradition, His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and His Eminence Gyaltsap Rinpoche, entered the shrine room to lead the prayers, the first day of the three-day Tibetan New Year prayer festival. Monks, nuns and laypeople expectantly queued outside as early as 6 am, entering the monastery's main shrine room gradually at sunrise. Soon the monastery's main hall was packed to the brim. Visible from the main door and the windows were hundreds sitting on the portico of the monastery, partaking in the celebrations from the outside.
The two lamas, sitting on thrones facing each other, led the prayers to clear away the obstacles and make an auspicious start to the new Water Dragon Year. The monks began to read from the texts, especially compiled by the Gyalwang Karmapa for the New Year prayer ceremony. At around 8 am, the golden beams of sunshine came rolling into the shrine room, enveloping the two rinpoches in its resplendent brilliance. At around 8:20 am, the two rinpoches left the stage to receive the Gyalwang Karmapa, who soon entered wearing his black activity hat. The assembly continued chanting from the prayer book while the rinpoches offered prostrations to His Holiness. Some time later monks came to offer Tibetan butter tea and traditional sweet rice.
At around 10:00 am, the prayers ended and the congregation formed long lines and waited patiently to receive blessings from and make offerings to Gyalwang Karmapa, Gyaltsap Rinpoche and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche.
Those gathered outside were first to present traditional white Tibetan scarves and receive red blessing cords. An estimated 3500 people were there and the audience lasted for nearly two-and-a-half hours. The devotees were very diverse in terms of nationality and color. Some were new, and some were older students, and many of them – especially those from the Chinese diaspora – could be heard or seen reading from the Tibetan language prayer book.
Also present during the morning's ceremony were Tibetan laypeople in colorful traditional dresses, celebrating the arrival of the Water Dragon Year and receive the blessings from the Gyalwang Karmapa. Several of them were from Tibet. In addition to sacred threads, participants were also offered a large crisp cookie called a donkey's ear (Tibetan: bhungo amchoe khapsey) because of its shape. These Tibetan fried biscuits were especially prepared in a nearby hut before New Year at the rate of 700 a day...
On the second day, the sangha gathered in the Tergar shrine hall to share a meal with the Karmapa. The discipline master directed the monks to their places and the shrine hall was filled to the edge with the golden color of the chogu, the golden shawl of the ordained monks and nuns. On the evening, the Gyalwang Karmapa, Gyaltsap Rinpoche, and selected members of the sangha gathered on the portico of Tergar Monastery. His Holiness led the practice for this protector of Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet. Gyaltsap Rinpoche joined him in prayers for the protector who was first tamed by the Fifth Karmapa, Dezhin Shekpa.

2012.2.22 Tibetan Losar 藏曆新年會法會