How to Separate from Attachment - Science of Mind Day 1
The India International Centre, New Delhi, India
November 7, 2015
It is the seventh time now that The Foundation for Universal Responsibility of HH the Dalai Lama has hosted the Gyalwang Karmapa for a weekend of teachings in New Delhi. For this occasion, the stage of Indian International Centre’s main hall has been set up with a spacious white chair covered in red and gold brocade for the Karmapa, flanked by members of the ordained sangha in their burgundy robes, the eight auspicious symbols on backlit screens, and tall, double sprays of flowers in hues of red and white.
To explore the topic of this weekend’s teachings, entitled Science of the Mind, the Karmapa chose the famous verse, The Four Freedoms from Attachment, composed by the founding patriarch of the Sakya school, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo:
If you are attached to this life, you’re not a Dharma practitioner. If you are attached to samsara, you don’t have renunciation. If you are attached to selfish aims, you don’t have bodhicitta If there’s grasping, it is not the view.
Since these teachings are especially meant for Indians who have an interest in Buddhism, the Karmapa first extended his greetings to them for Diwali, the glittering festival of lights, wishing them a very happy holiday. Since it is customary to bring gifts of sweets, the Karmapa said playfully, “I should have brought some sweets for you but hopefully my talk will be sweet enough.”
The Karmapa began his teaching by saying that the text was a profound oral instruction, expressing all the points of the foundational and great vehicles or all three types of people (a teaching from the stages of the path or lam rim tradition). There are numerous commentaries on this verse, but it would be best just to focus on the verse itself, which is easy to understand and can be recalled again and again.
How does one listen to profound Dharma? Both the one giving the teaching and those receiving it should be clear about their motivations and their reasons, because it is a good motivation that makes for true sharing of Dharma. If you just come to the teachings out of curiosity, what you hear will not bring much benefit. However, if you come with a clear motivation and understanding of the reasons why you came, then the teachings will help to develop your minds.
When listening to the Dharma, you also need to keep clearly in mind a goal, no matter how large or small it may be. The Karmapa then provided an opportunity to experience what this might be like and asked people to reflect in a natural way about why they came while he chanted the refuge vow and the generation of bodhicitta. Having reminded people of the proper motivation, the Karmapa began his explanation of the first line of the verse:
If you are attached to this life, you are not a practitioner.
Since we are Dharma practitioners, the Karmapa commented, we have to recognize what it means to be one. This line can also mean that someone on the Dharma path investigates what is within their own mind. If we do not ask ourselves questions, then how can we know what is means to be a practitioner? And if we spend most of our time doing things other than Dharma, how can we become a true practitioner? The Karmapa asked, “Is being a real practitioner putting aside our family and the work that supports us and spending all our time on Dharma? Is it something separate like this?” Actually not, he replied. We need a stable livelihood and a happy household and do not have to give them up to practice Dharma.Otherwise, Dharma practice would be for the select few and not something ordinary people could do.
Dharma practice should inspire us and bring strength of mind. It is focused not on the temporary but the ultimate, on what can truly satisfy our minds and bring lasting joy. For this reason, the Karmapa explained, a true practitioner looks to future lives and not just what concerns this present one. Of course, Dharma practice will benefit us in this life, but our ultimate goal is a high and deep kind of true joy. The Karmapa commented, “Believing one hundred percent in past and future lives is not easy, even among Buddhists. In Kham we say ‘Believing is pretending to believe.’” It is difficult to believe in past and future lives because we are asked to trust something we cannot see.
Some people think, the Karmapa noted, that making prayers to a deity is practicing Dharma. If we are lucky and our prayers are answered, then our expectations grow. But this kind of result does not bring true happiness; it only increases our expectations. What we need is a goal for our lives that will benefit us when we come to the day we must die. At that time whether our mundane prayers were filled or not will not matter. What we need, he said, is something that has made our lives meaningful, that has brought true joy and confidence to our minds.
Taking an example from his own life, the Karmapa related that since he was recognized at the age of seven, he has had to face many difficulties and situations that he did not wish for. However, he kept in mind that he had a responsibility and the profound purpose of helping others, so temporary obstacles became a way to become a better person and strengthen his character, and also a way for his mind to become more spacious. If we let our minds get upset and disturbed, he noted, this will just stir up more problems.
The Karmapa’s talk was followed by a few questions. The first one, related to what he had just said, asked about what to do when obstacles arise. Should we fight them or just let things be?
The Karmapa responded: “The goal a practitioner has in mind is very important. If an obstacle is temporary, it’s not a problem. The actual problem is not accomplishing the ultimate goal of our lives, so we can take temporary troubles as a chance to improve ourselves and develop our resolve and courage. The real obstacle is to lose our inspiration and enthusiasm.” He added, “If our motivation is vast and stable, it will not disappear in the face of obstacles.”
The next question asked: If we practice Dharma for future lives, how will it benefit us in this one?
The Karmapa replied: “When we say we’re practicing for next life, it means that we’re taking the benefit of the Dharma in this lifetime as a basis for future lives. When we practice Dharma, we are not wasting our time; on the contrary Dharma makes life meaningful. Then at the time of death we will not be disappointed, and at the least, we will not have regrets.” He continued to explain, “It is by having a result in this life what we can figure out the benefit in a future life. When we think about the benefit in the future, it means that there has to be a benefit in this life, for without it, there would be none in the future.” In sum, we should take the long-term view but not give up on this life.
The next question asked: How should we prepare for death?
In responding, the Karmapa spoke of the reflection on death and impermanence. “When we contemplate death and impermanence, this spurs us on to make efforts so that we make each day meaningful. From another perspective, thinking about impermanence is a preparation for death: everything is undergoing change from moment to moment; it is the nature of all things to come and go.” If we can accept things are they are, he stated, “we will have less fear of death and see it as a natural process.” We can also prepare for death by experiencing each day as an entire life time: we are born in the morning, go through the day of our life, and die at night.
The final question queried: How do we enhance our diligence or joyful exertion?
The Karmapa responded: “Diligence should be imbued with a sense of enthusiasm. And meditating on impermanence will inspire our diligence, since we will not want to waste this life.” We can also think about the benefit of Dharma practice. The Karmapa noted that these days people are very result oriented but that the results of Dharma practice may take time to appear so we need certainty and enthusiasm that allows us to stay the course. Reflecting on the benefits and deeper meaning of Dharma practice will allow to practice for a long time.
The teachings will continue tomorrow and are being made available through webcast translations into English, Spanish, Chinese, German, and Polish.
Dear Dharma Brothers and Sisters,
As all of you know by now, on the 21 of March, 2017, at 9am Indian time His
Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa introduced Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche
Yangsi in the Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya. Rinpoche is a four years old boy but
from time to time I see him as an old man. It is hard to believe he is that
I am very sorry at the moment I am very busy. I will later let you know details
about the search and how we found Yangsi Rinpoche and provide you with photos
and video clips for you to enjoy.
Drubwang Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche instructed us to wait for His Holiness’ advice
to Yangsi Rinpoche how to further proceed from here.
Drubwang Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche could not come to this occasion of His
Holiness’ introducing Tenga Rinoche’s Yangsi since he has a schedule in Bhutan
that was arranged long time ago. As you all know Bhutan is a remote area and in
order to join teachings and initiations elderly people have to be ca…
December 28, 2016, in a historic letter sent to his Kagyu nunneries in India,
Nepal, and Bhutan, the Karmapa officially announced that the actual process of
establishing full ordination for nuns in the Karma Kamtsang tradition would
begin. He stated that at the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment in Bodh Gaya,
on the auspicious day of the full moon in the Month of Miracles, (the first
month in the Tibetan calendar, falling on March 12, 2107), the shramaneri (getsulma)
vows would be conferred on those nuns wishing to take full ordination. Following
much deliberation, a path to full ordination was established. It was decided
that the nuns would hold these shramaneri vows for a year, after which they
will take the shikshamana (gelopmaor training) vows from Dharmaguptaka
nuns and keep them for two winters or two summers. Finally, they will receive
the bhikshuni (gelongmaor full ordination) vows with the
participation of nuns from the Dharmaguptaka tra…
Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
many preparations are underway for the Getsulma (novice) ordination to be held
during this 4th Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering. The Karmapa plans to hold
the ordination on the auspicious full moon day of Chötrul Duchen, the historic
day that marks fifteen days after Losar and commemorates the time when the
Buddha performed a different miracle each day to instill devotion. As the
Karmapa mentioned during the first day of the Arya Kshema, this year initiates
the historic path to the process of full ordination, which will occur in stages
over several years. This is a well-thought process that grants nuns the
opportunity to practice the authentic vinaya path. They will take the Getsulma
vows in the tradition of a strictly observant tradition of Mahayana Vinaya
nuns, thus garnering respect for their sangha and demonstrating their life-long
commitment to their vows. Since there is no lineage for fully ordained nuns in
SE Report GANGTOK,
March 16: A delegation of monks from various monasteries
of Sikkim staged a sit-in protest outside the BJP national headquarters in New
Delhi today demanding the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to be allowed to visit
and bless the people of Sikkim.
The delegation led by Denjong Lhadey chanted slogans
demanding and also submitted a memorandum with the demand to the Prime Minister’s
Office through senior officials.
The memorandum reiterates the Denjong Lhadey’s
demand to urgently send the Buddhist spiritual leader to Sikkim. The monks on
dharna outside the BJP office were also detained by Delhi police at Mandir Marg
police station and later released, informs a press release.
On 21st March at the Tergar Monastery in Bodh Gaya, India, at 9:30am His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa introduced Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche's reincarnation to the world with an introduction ceremony. It was not more than that. Please do not misunderstand this fact. It was not an enthronement nor a hair cutting ceremony. It was simply an introduction of Rinpoche's yangsi (reincarnation). Please don't confuse the differences. There are lots of meanings in the various ceremonies of our tradition.
His Holiness has stated that the hair-cutting ceremony and the enthronement shall only take place after Yangsi Rinpoche is seven years old. The dates of the enthronement and hair-cutting ceremonies will be decided only later by His Holiness and Drubwang Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche. It is not certain when the ceremonies will take place. Until then he is going to spend time with his parents playing with the children in the village openly in a clean and …
In November of 2015, during the 6th Khoryug Conference, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa set the aspiration that all Khoryug monasteries and nunneries should develop practical skills and knowledge for disaster preparedness and response. He later explained that “We were all affected greatly by the earthquake in Nepal and wanted to know how we could help so that in the future we are not just taken by fear but prepared to be useful and deal skillfully with the situation.…
Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
the second half of his teachings this morning, the Karmapa shared his research
into the history of nuns and their status. He began by explaining the
background of the name “Arya Kshema,” given to the Winter Dharma Gathering. He
noted that among the disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha, there were his eight
greatest male monastic disciples, known for their prajna (supreme wisdom) or
miracles and so forth. Likewise, there were female master disciples who were
greatest at miracles or known for their prajna and other outstanding qualities.
Arya Kshema is one of these and she is described in theSutra of the Wise and
greatest in wisdom and confidence, so the Winter Dharma Gathering is named
after her. “In
giving this name,” the Karmapa explained, “we are also following the saying,
‘Later disciples should practice the example of past masters.’ Previously,
during the time of the Buddha Shakyamuni, there were woman arhats, bhikshu…
the third year in succession, the Taiwan Health Corps has been working with
Kagyu nuns during the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering. Twenty-one
nuns from eight nunneries—Ralang, Tilokpur and Palpung Yeshe Rabgye Ling in
India, Karma Leksheyling, Tara Abbey, Osel Karma Thekchöling and Samten
Ling in Nepal, and Drubde Palmo Chökyi Dingkhang in Bhutan– have
successfully completed a nine-day training in basic health care. Dr
Jeffrey Chen, CEO of the Taiwanese based NGO Taiwan Health Corps, first
responded to a request from the Gyalwang Karmapa to develop initiatives to
improve the health and healthcare of nuns more than three years ago. This year
he has returned for a third time with a team of six health professionals to
provide basic training for a new batch of nuns. The team comprises Professor
Kuo Su Chen, a specialist in Women’s Health, Dr Chin Min Yi, a doctor of
traditional Chinese medicine, Dr Wei Cheng Chou, urologist and surgeon, Hsin-Yu
For the Gyalwang Karmapa, the Tibetan New Year began in the
first hours of the day, as he met in the Tergar Monastery shrine hall with
tulkus, khenpos, and masters from various monasteries and received their
khatas. In return he gave them his blessing and a traditional bright red cord.
The monks recited prayers for peace in the world and the flourishing of the
teachings as well as the very long life of the Karmapa. Afterward the entire
monastic and lay Sangha gathered at 4:30 am in the Monlam Pavilion for a
special long-life practice based on theThree
Roots Combined, calledA
Life-Force Indestructible like a Vajra. The practice was led by the
Karmapa’s heart son, Gyaltsap Rinpoche, who had bestowed this empowerment the
previous day. In February of 2016 the Karmapa had also given this empowerment,
and at the time commented on its importance for his Kamtsang Kagyu lineage. The
short lineage is traced back to a text based on the pure visions of th…
Pavilion — Bodh Gaya, Bihar
break, after the smoke offering Massing Clouds of Amrita had
ended on Sunday morning, the stage needed to be cleared and rearranged in order
for Gyaltsab Rinpoche to bestow the Red Crown ceremony and the Long
Life Empowerment of the Three Roots Combined. His Holiness the 17th Karmapa
personally took charge of arranging Gyaltsab Rinpoche’s throne with great
respect and care; he had received the Empowerment of the Three Roots
Combined from Gyaltsab Rinpoche when he bestowed the Treasury
of Precious Terma, or Rinchen Terdzo empowerments some
throne was placed directly in front of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s high throne. To
the right, on an elegant golden table covered with brocade, sat a delicately
wrought silver pavilion.
At last the
stage was set, the gyalings blew, and the sangha returned from the break to
take their seats. After several minutes, the Gyalwang Karmapa led an elderly