1 January 2015
In a New Year’s treat for the 12,000 participants, this morning the Gyalwang Karmapa begins the year 2015 by returning to the Monlam Pavilion, in time for the fourth and final session of Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche’s teachings.
During the morning tea break before the teaching session begins, the Gyalwang Karmapa suddenly heads over to the far edge of the pavilion and mingles with his translators, webcast team, reporters, and TV crews. He unexpectedly gifts a sangha alms bowl to his radiant Vietnamese interpreter, who has recently built the very first Karma Kagyu temple in Vietnam. Next he drops into the media room set aside for the popular Taiwanese dharma TV station, Life TV, who are broadcasting the entire Kagyu Monlam live throughout Taiwan and surrounding countries. There he chats for a few minutes with the crew ,and asks the director for an impromptu lesson on how to use the brand-new control console.
Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche begins his teaching by wishing everybody a Happy New Year. “My prayer this New Year is that all sentient beings who are as limitless as space may develop bodhicitta in their beings. May they be free of malicious intentions and conduct, and bring great benefit and happiness to each other,” he says, to spontaneous applause from the crowd.
He then turns to the fourth of the four attachments in Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen’s ‘Four Freedoms from Attachment’: if there is grasping, it is not the view.
The first three attachments primarily discussed the aspect of means, however the aspect of wisdom—the view—which is explained in the fourth attachment, is also indispensible.
If you grasp at things as being things, then naturally you develop hopes and fears about them and you are overcome by thoughts. If you grasp at things not existing, you’ll not be reborn in higher realms.
The text then traverses through the lower views of the exposition, sutra, and mind only philosophical schools, before arriving at the highest view of the middle way school.
Appearances have the nature of an illusion, and this nature arises interdependently. So all of the phenomena that we see are appearances that have the nature of dreams or illusions. All phenomena arise from the assembly of causes and conditions.
For this reason it is said: there’s no dharma at all that is not interdependent; there’s no dharma at all that is not emptiness.
We should meditate that all appearances are mind and that these appearances are illusory. We need to determine that they lack nature, are interdependent, and are indescribable.
Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche then leads the entire gathering through a short meditation on the unified, non-dual, interdependent nature of phenomena. A profound stillness encompasses the vast hall as first the gathering settles their minds for a minute, and then turns the focus onto emptiness.
In this final meditation session, they are once again offered the very rare and exceedingly precious opportunity to meditate on emptiness in the presence of not only the Gyalwang Karmapa, but also two of the heart sons of the Karma Kagyu lineage. Each member of this trio is, in his own right, an outstanding master and ultimate source of spiritual power and awakening: combined, the intensity of their blessings becomes ineffable.
Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche ends the teachings on The Four Freedoms from Attachment with some golden words of aspiration and advice:
Finally, for us as practitioners it’s very important to strive to make sure our minds become the dharma, the dharma becomes the path, the path dispels confusion, and that confusion may dawn as wisdom.
May His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa and all masters who uphold the teaching have long lives that will last for eons, and may all their wishes be accomplished spontaneously and without effort.