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
Recently the Gyalwang Karmapa went through a medical examination in Germany, his doctor strongly advise him to stop all Dharma propagation activities so that he has more time and space to treat some of the medical conditions that he has. After much consideration, the Gyalwang Karmapa decided to cancel this year’s Asia Dharma Teaching, i.e. the Diamond Sutra Teaching.
When we heard about the Gyalwang Karmapa’s decision to cancel the teaching, our emotions evolved from unspeakable shock to calm contemplation. Eventually, we understand the difficulty and necessity to make such a decision. We will continue to pray that the Diamond Sutra Teaching to be held in future, yet we are unsure when and where the teaching will be held. Therefore, we will begin the refund process for those who had registered for the teaching after we had negotiated with the hotel for refund.
Even though we feel a sense of regret that the Diamond Sutra Teaching cannot be held, yet we understand and …
In 2016, the Centre had lifted restrictions on 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, movement within India after five years. Following this, he visited Arunachal Pradesh, an area claimed by China.
Sujit Nath | News18.com Updated:July 26, 2017, 11:31 PM IST
Kolkata: Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant permission to 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, to visit the state.
Any such visit to the by the Tibetan leader living in exile in India is likely to anger China. This comes at a time when the two countries are engaged in a standoff in Doklam plateau in the Sikkim sector.
In 2016, the Centre had lifted restrictions on Dorje’s movement within India after five years. Following this, he visited Arunachal Pradesh, an area claimed by China.
“I also invited the Prime Minister to visit Sikkim after the rainy season came to an end this year, which he agreed and promised to make a trip soon,” Chamling told the media after his mee…
གཟའ་འཁོར་འདིའི་ནང་བོད་ཕྱི་ནང་གཉིས་ཀར་ལོ་ཆུང་བྱིས་པ་རེ་རང་སྲེག་བཏང་འདུག །སེམས་ལ་ན་ཟུག་ཆེས་ཆེར་སློང་བའི་གནས་ཚུལ་འདི་དག་རྣ་བར་ཐོས་དུས། བཟོད་ཐབས་བྲལ་ཏེ་སླར་ཡང་གཞིས་བྱེས་བོད་མི་སྤུན་ཟླ་ཡོངས་ལ་འབོད་སྐུལ་ཞིག་ཞུ་འདོད་བྱུང་། This week, two young Tibetan children, one in Tibet and one in India, have burned themselves to death. These events pain me deeply. I could not bear to think of it when I heard the news, and for that reason I want to make a request of my fellow Tibetans at home and abroad.
༢༠༠༩ ལོ་ནས་ད་བར་བོད་ཕྱི་ནང་དུ་བོད་མི་བརྒྱ་ཕྲག་དང་ཕྱེད་ལ་ཉེ་བས་གཅེས་པའི་རང་ལུས་ཞུགས་སུ་ཕུལ་ཏེ་ཚད་མཐོའི་ལས་འགུལ་ཤུགས་ཆེར་སྤེལ་མོད། འོན་ཀྱང་མིག་སྔར་དེ་ལ་ཐོབ་འོས་པའི་སེམས་ཁུར་དང་། ཚེ་སྲོག་ལ་རིན་ཐང་དང་བརྩི་འཇོག །དེ་བཞིན་ཁོང་ཚོས་རང་སྲེག་གཏོང་བའི་རྒྱུ་རྐྱེན་དང་མངོན་འདོད་གང་ཡིན་ལ་དོ་ཁུར་བྱེད་མཁན་རྒྱལ་སྤྱི་དང་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་གང་ཡང་ཕལ་ཆེར་བྱུང་མེད་པའི་ཚོད་ཙམ་རེད། From 2009 to the present, nearly 150 Tibetans within Tibet and abroad have immolated their own precious bodies, maki…
The land of Sikkim, at the border of India and Tibet, was consecrated as a hidden sanctuary for the Buddha's teachings during the present epoch by the second Buddha, the great master Padmasambhava, who blessed it with the vajra wisdom of his body, speech, and mind. Through the infallible power of his aspiration and through our great effort, the monastery Shaydrup Kunkhyap Otong Khyilway Tsuklakhang (the Temple of Pervasive Teaching and Practice Blazing with a Thousand Lights), has been established for the preservation of the precious doctrine of the Buddha, which is the source of all benefit and happiness in existence and tranquility, and for the sake of all beings in the world.
Before the building's foundation was begun, I performed the customary removal of impediments and, using a sand mandala, the ritual of Chakrasamvara, blessing the location so that it is his wisdom mandala. In that and similar ways, the site has been consecrated m…
A group from Palpung Wales, which actually consisted of people from all over UK, traveled to join the His Holiness 17th Karmapa’s first teaching weekend in London, Battersea. It was an absolute privilege to be part of that weekend, in many ways. We received touching and inspiring teachings from His Holiness Karmapa on Geshe Langri Tangpa’s famous “Eight verses of Mind Training,” a key instruction on how to bring the Dharma into daily life. At the same time it was like a gesture of welcoming His Holiness Karmapa’s 17th incarnation to this country for the first time. Meeting with the many Dharma friends and coming together in His Holiness’s mandala was a very heart-warming experience. We were also very fortunate to have a group audience with His Holiness on Saturday afternoon. From original Palpung Wales group it slowly formed into a Palpung United group of about 60 people from Wales, Ireland and Slovenia, and some from Italy as well. It was a great chance, although only…
THE PRACTICE OF DHARMA involves certain possibilities. How these potentials evolve into actual situations for the practitioner, and how much is possible within these situations depends on the capacity of individual beings. It depends upon the level of teachings that one is able to relate to, such as Mahayana or Hinayana. At this particular time in our lives, the practice of the Mahayana teaching is possible. It is absolutely precious and absolutely rare. Our concern for development and our sense of responsibility has placed us in a position to integrate the preciousness and rarity of the Mahayana teaching with our lives. Through it there is the possibility of the experience of no-returning back into Samsara and the experience of ultimate bliss that is self knowing and in which there are no doubts. In the midst of the wanderings of our minds we might sometimes fall into thinking that whether one practices or not, the Dharma will always be available. If you have tha…
ONE EARLY MORNING [in 1980] His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa generously granted an interview to the readers of Densal. What follows is the text of that interview, word for word, as translated by Ngodup Tsering Burkhar. In it, His Holiness touches on many important aspects of spiritual practice, the Kagyu lineage, and life in the world today for the Dharma practitioner. It is a timely and most valuable teaching for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.
Densal: This is your third tour to America. Do you have any observations you would like to share about it, and about the growth of the Dharma in the United States? H.H.: The responsibility of the teacher is to always give the teachings. It doesn't matter that only a short time has passed, or a long time has passed; what matters is that the teachings are continuously given. Sometimes it may seem to be more appropriate to teach because most people are at leisure and have a lot of time, and it appears to be a good time to give teach…
The Gyalwang Karmapa graced KTD, his monastery in North America, with a short private visit toward the close of his international tour in July of 2017. Please enjoy the video celebrating this joyful occasion, along with the photos of his arrival, the traditional Tea and Rice Welcome Ceremony, and consecration of the new Stupa Project site.
The Gyalwang Karmapa Consecrates the Eight Auspicious Stupa Project at KTD (July 2017)
Today’s episode comes from the Gyalwang Karmapa’s maiden tour of Canada where he gave teachings all over the country. Many Canadian students had been waiting for years to hear him speak, and so it was a particularly special occasion.
This teaching is on the subject of meditation and how we can use this Buddhist practice to find inner freedom and bring about a more happy and beneficial life. The Karmapa approached the topic from the point of view of his own personal experience, and a wonderful, practical and sometimes humorous occasion unfolded over the course of the hour.
The talk is in Tibetan with an English translation and has been slightly edited for length and audio clarity.
On May 31, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje opened his first visit to Canada on our campus. Convocation Hall filled with 1500 people who wanted to hear the head of one of the largest schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Born in 1985 to a traditional nomadic family in the high mountains of western Kham in the southeastern part of historical Tibet, Ogyen Trinley Dorje was recognized at the age of seven as the next Karmapa. He was enthroned in the Karmapa’s traditional seat, where he resided until he escaped to India in 2000. In the last ten years, His Holiness has established groundbreaking initiatives in the Tibetan Buddhist world, promoting environmental sustainability, vegetarianism, and full monastic ordination for women.
His Holiness gave a teaching sponsored by the Ho Centre, titled “Mindfulness and Environmental Responsibility.” His Holiness opened by reflecting on the site of Toronto as a gather…