Today the Karmapa began with the section in
theOrnament of Precious
eight benefits of aspirational bodhichitta. The first benefit is that
aspirational bodhichitta is the gateway into the mahayana. Whether or not we
are a mahayana practitioner depends on having aspirational bodhichitta in our
being. It is what distinguishes the mahayana path or indicates a truly
And what makes compassion great is the scope
of our resolve: we seek to benefit all infinite living beings without
exception, to bring them happiness and free them of suffering. If we can
shoulder this responsibility, our compassion is great; if not, we are just
repeating empty words.
Aspirational bodhichitta is also the very
basis for all the training of a bodhisattva. It is so powerful that if we can
maintain it, we can even retake full ordination vows we have broken. Just
keeping the vows of individual liberation (pratimoksha),
however, would not allow us to retake the full ordination vows in a perfect
way. From among four powers for repairing misdeeds, aspirational bodhichitta is
the greatest in terms of the power of the support. Aspirational bodhichitta is
also the seed that becomes the stable root for buddhahood.
Aspirational bodhichitta brings immeasurable
merit, and on the other hand, the consequences of abandoning it are huge: bringing
suffering, a reduced capacity to benefit others, and delay in achieving full
awakening. The Karmapa added that he read in an instruction manual that if
aspirational bodhichitta deteriorates, the negative consequences are as vast as
space, so there are both great dangers and great benefits.
The tenth and final topic in this chapter,
“The Proper Adoption of Bodhichitta,” treats the causes for losing the
bodhichitta that we have cultivated. Since this is a crucial point for
practice, the Karmapa spent some time discussing it. “Bodhichitta is lost when
we give up on a living being,” the Karmapa said. “This commitment not to turn
away from others is the most important one for the bodhisattva vow.”
Bodhisattvas are dedicated to helping others, but if they turn away from other
living beings, how could they possibly bring them benefit?
The Karmapa then added, “How do we measure or
define what it is to give up on another?” In his commentary on Atisha’sLamp for the Path to
Enlightenment, the Fourth Gyaltsap Rinpoche (Drakpa Döndrup,
1550-1617) writes that giving up on living beings means that your mind is not
able to rejoice for them. The Kadampa spiritual friend Potowa states that if
for any particular reason we get annoyed with someone, that means losing our affection
and compassion for that living being. The Karmapa then gave an extreme example
of abandoning another, telling of two worldly people fighting and saying to
each other, “In this life we can never be together, and when we die, we’ll be
buried in separate cemeteries as well.” On a different scale, he gave the
example of thinking, “If an opportunity comes, I will not help this person.” Or
“If there is a chance to remove a fault or an obstacle for this person, I will
not do it.” These illustrate losing our affection and giving up on someone.
In his extensive explanation of the
preliminary practices, Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye quotes Puchungwa, who speaks
of three conditions that need to come together for losing the vow: 1) The other
has to be suffering; 2) there is no one to help them; and 3) we have the
ability to protect or help them. When all three of these are present and we do
not help, that is abandoning the bodhisattva vow. The spiritual friend Chen
Ngawa said that if we think that there is no way that we could get along with
another person, that we could never be in harmony, this is giving up on them.
Continuing to cite other authors, the Karmapa
spoke of the Kadampa master Shonnu Gyechok (or Könchok Sumgyi Bang), who was
also a disciple of Je Tsongkhapa and wrote the most extensive commentary in
Tibetan on theLamp
for the Path to Enlightenment. He wrote that if we think that the
louse larva is so small and insignificant that it makes no difference if we
kill it, that is giving up on living beings. We are not valuing their life nor
remembering that even this tiny being wishes for pleasure and wants to avoid
suffering. A louse and an elephant are different in size but the same in having
a life force; simply because one is bigger does not make it more important.
The Karmapa summarized, saying that to give
up on living beings and lose our bodhisattva vow does not mean giving up on all
of them: giving up on a single being means that we have turned away from our
bodhisattva vow. If we are separated from our affection or compassion and
think, “Even if I could help this person, I won’t. Even if I could turn away
danger for them, I won’t,” we lose the bodhisattva vow.
Atisha spoke of three types of not giving up
on living beings: 1) Those who have helped us; 2) those who harm us; 3) and not
giving up on a being who is actually suffering. The first type is the easiest
to maintain, for we have gratitude toward those who have helped us. The second
is more difficult, and we need to understand that we are linked to those who
harm us through the ripening of our karma. Here, of course, the Karmapa noted,
we must believe in karma as cause and effect: If we harmed someone in the past,
the result is that that we will be harmed in the future. That they harmed us is
not good, but we need to consider the whole human being, and as such, this
person wishes for happiness and wants to avoid suffering just like us, so we
should not lose our sense of respect and stop valuing them. Atisha’s third type
is not giving up on a being that is actually suffering. When we see suffering,
we should think of its cause—karma and the various afflictions—and this
naturally brings up great compassion and love within us. Not giving up on them,
we think, “Wouldn’t it be great if they were freed of this suffering and its
The Karmapa emphasized that training in not
giving up on any living being is mentioned first as it provides the basis for
the vow of aspirational bodhichitta. He then brought in the First Karmapa’s
statement that even if someone is going to harm your body or diminish your
possessions, if you continue to help and care for them without despair or
sadness, that is not giving up on a living being. We need real courage to do
this and let go of our own benefit to think of others first. If we are focused
on our own success or attached to our body or possessions, it is difficult to
continually help others, so we need to loosen our clinging to ourselves.
The Karmapa then cited an example from the
Kadampa teachings on the stages of the path: Your house catches on fire and you
immediately start to flee outside. At the threshold of the front door, when you
have one foot out and one foot in, you remember the other people left behind
and think, “Saving myself is not enough. There are others I must protect,” and
so you return inside to help. Great bodhisattvas think like this but for
ordinary people, it is difficult due to their fixation on themselves. To remedy
this, we need to do all we can to develop the realization that ourselves and
others are equal, in that we both have the feelings of pleasure and pain. With
this remedy and vivid example of what it means not to turn away from others,
the Karmapa concluded his talk on theOrnament
of Precious Liberationfor
During his first visit to the UK from May 17 to 28, 2017, the Karmapa, a prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader, joined former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Rowan Williams together with scientists, scholars and cultural figures for a dialogue on the environment hosted by the International Campaign for Tibet and Inspire Dialogue Foundation.
The round table discussion, held on May 24, 2017, was intended to bring together perspectives “between disciplines and generations” as the beginning of an ongoing exchange, according to Lord Williams, Master of Magdalen College and a noted poet and theologian. It involved figures from the arts and sciences, including Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London; James Thornton, the founding CEO of ClientEarth; Dame Fiona Reynolds, former Director-General of the National Trust; Dr Bhaskar Vira, Director, University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute; Tracey Seaward, film producer …
May 29, 2017 - The 17th Karmapa, one of Tibet’s leading Buddhist figures arrived in Toronto yesterday on his first visit to Canada. Known for his concerns about current global issues as well as for his spiritual leadership, the 31-year-old Karmapa will engage in a wide range of religious activities and will speak on environmental and social responsibility at various universities.
During his month long trip to Canada, the Karmapa will travel to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor the 16th Karmapa, who travelled extensively throughout the country and was instrumental in introducing Canadians to Buddhism in the 1970s.
Head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the 17th holder of a 900-year old lineage. Born in a nomadic family in eastern Tibet, he made headline news in 2000 with his dramatic escape to India, where he now lives near the Dalai Lama. The 17th …
Worshipped as a living god, will the 17th Karmapa Lama also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity? By MARTIN REGG COHNOntario Politics Columnist Tues., May 30, 2017
It is not his destiny to be the next Dalai Lama. For he is already reincarnated as the 17th Karmapa Lama.
Yet he may one day succeed his 81-year-old teacher and protector.
Revered since age 7 as spiritual leader of a 1,000-year-old branch of Tibetan Buddhism, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is making his first trip to Canada this week at the age of 31.
Meeting Ontario politicians Tuesday before sitting down for an interview, the Karmapa padded around Queen’s Park in a pair of brown hiking shoes peeking out from under his simple maroon robes. A picture of youthful wisdom with his direct gaze, towering above other monks at six feet tall, he may yet emerge as the public face of Tibetan Buddhism
Worshipped as a living god and the Buddha of Compassion, will he also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity?
May 27, 2017 – Lakeside International Hotel, Frimley Green, England
In the concluding public event of the 17th Karmapa’s first visit to the United Kingdom, nearly 2,000 people gathered at Lakeside International Hotel near Frimley Green in Surrey to receive an Amitayus Long Life empowerment. The Nepalese and Gurkha community turned out in force to welcome the 17th Karmapa and were joined by devotees from the UK, Europe, America, and other countries worldwide. This was the second part of a one-day program organised by the Buddhist Community Centre UK.
Monks from various Kagyu European centres and the Karmapa’s ritual master and attendants had worked hard to prepare the stage for the empowerment. The golden pagoda used during the Chenresik empowerment earlier in the visit now enshrined an image of Amitayus and a smaller image of Guru Rinpoche. To the left of the images, a large bowl contained long-life pills made from roasted barley and butter and to the right four bowls contained long-lif…
Aldershot, Hampshire, England – Morning, May 27, 2017
Early on this day of the Karmapa’s visit to the Nepali community in Aldershot, the double arch of a luminous rainbow filled the sky. It recalled his first visit to the US when rainbows followed him everywhere on the East Coast. The Karmapa was invited by the Buddhist Community Centre UK to this beautiful area of England, famous for its military garrisons and home to a sizeable population of Gurkha soldiers who have served in the British army. In 2006 they were allowed to live in England and in 2007, the Buddhist Community Centre UK was founded by Mr. Kaji Sherpa. He had the vision of establishing a Buddhist monastery to serve the growing Buddhist Community in this southeast region of the UK.
His daughter explained that about half of the Gurkha population in Nepal is Buddhist, and that her father felt a need for Buddhist guidance in this community, so a committee of Nepalis purchased a social club and completely transformed it into a …
Transforming Disturbing Emotions: Dialogue of the Three Major Traditions of Buddhism Date: Thursday, June 1st, 9:30AM – 12:00PM Place: University of Toronto, Convocation Hall (MAP) Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp9TaET_SNw
How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times In these two sessions, His Holiness will discuss the basic nature of mind and the methods of obtaining happiness through listening to and contemplating the teachings of the Buddha, and then meditating according to the teachings. Date: Friday, June 2nd, 9:30-11:30AM, 2:00-4:30PM Place:The Enercare Centre, Hall D (MAP) Video: How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times 1…
May 31, 2017– In the morning after his arrival, at 9:00AM, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje arrived at Karma Sonam Dargye Ling– a Tibetan Buddhist centre under the direction of Lama Tenzin Dakpa. This was a visit of great significance, as the centre was first established in 1976 by the venerable Lama Namsel Rinpoche under the request of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje.
Upon arrival, His Holiness was ushered into the main shrine hall and seated on the highest throne, on which he proceeded to receive a body-speech-mind offering from the sangha. The yellow rice and tea ceremony followed in sequence for the welcome ceremony. Shortly after tea was served, the current resident teacher of Karma Sonam Dargye Ling, Lama Tenzin Dakpa, rose to speak.
Lama Tenzin referenced the founder of this centre, Lama Namsel Rinpoche, as one of the first Canadian resident lamas to request for His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa to visit Canada. …
Thursday, 01 June 2017 16:04Lavania Saraf, Tibet Post International
London, UK — "Free from concretizing the eight worldly concerns, we train our mind in the illusion-like outlook that sees things as not real," the 17th Karmapa said during his first trip to the UK, Through training our mind, "our compassion and patience increase and our minds open up."
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, was received with anticipation and delight on his first visit to the United Kingdom on May 17th, 2017. His arrival in central London was received by numeral devotees and included a special reception with traditional English afternoon tea.
The visit had been highly anticipated by Karmapa himself, especially due to the strong dharmic connection between the United Kingdom and the Karmapa lineage, believed to be established earlier by the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. On May 18th, Karmapa visited the British Museum where some of the most crucial documents and artifacts in the his…