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
His Holiness Karmapa has arrived in New Jersey, United States. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, President Khenpo Karma Tenkyong, Khenpo Ugyen Tenzin, KTD and Karme Ling lamas, New Jersey KTC Lama Tsultrim, and Danang Foundation Lama Tsewang Rinpoche welcomed him.
When we can no longer bear the suffering of sentient beings, says the Seventeenth Karmapa, we unleash our full potential to help others and ourselves.
Practices of loving-kindness and compassion are indispensable elements of all religious traditions. These are qualities everyone can practice, regardless of their religious affiliation or ancestry. In fact, training to develop loving-kindness and compassion provides a bridge between all religions and all the many parts of our global society.
I am a Buddhist, but I still have to live my life as a member of the larger world community and take full part in society, where Buddhism is not the only spiritual tradition. There are many different forms of religion and spirituality, and there are also many different types of people, including those who are inclined toward religious or spiritual approaches and those who are not.
Since our world community is so very vast and diverse, it is important for us to respect the…
The most important practice in Tibetan Buddhism is Guru Yoga, meditation and mantra on the spiritual head and teacher of the tradition, which is seen as living Buddha, embodiment of three kayas and 10 bhumi (extraordinary powers). In Kagyu tradition the head Lama is Gyalwa Karmapa and his mantra is Karmapa Chenno. It is believed sounds of this mantra are directly connected with the enlightened mind of HH Karmapa and carry its enlightened qualities and brings help when it is most necessary for the benefit of student. Here I would like to share with you a story about the origins of Karmapa Chenno mantra. The Karmapa mantra has originated at the times of 8thKarmapa Mikyo Dorje (1507-1554) in context of teaching about "Calling the Lama from afar." “Karmapa Chenno” can be roughly translated as "Embodiment of the compassion of all Buddhas, turn attention to me." In Central Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan, it is pronounced Karmapa Kyen-no or Karmapa khen-no. In East Tibet, it is p…
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 …
First the Gyalwang Karmapa spoke a few words related to the birthday of HH the Dalai Lama:
We Tibetans consider the birthday of HH the Dalai Lama to be extremely important. We are most fortunate that he lights our way like a blazing torch as we pass through these dark and difficult times. His birthday, therefore, is an important occasion for us. Born in the Land of Snow, His Holiness is the protector and refuge for all the Tibetan people. This enormous good fortune brings delight to all of us and also gives us great courage.
However we might celebrate his birthday, we can recall his life story and his worldwide activity to benefit others.
In relation to any advice he might give us, it is essential that we consider how we can assist him and implement his counsel in its true sense. Not only has His Holiness devoted himself to improving our material welfare externally, he has also encouraged the growth of our spiritual welfare internally. In response, from our…
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…
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 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…
2 Apr 2017ChandigarhNaresh K Thakur n firstname.lastname@example.org
DHARAMSHALA: With his rival Trinley Thaye Dorje now a married man, who shed monk’s robes to get hitched with his childhood friend, the claim of Ogyen Trinley Dorje to the title of the 17th Karmapa and Rumtek Monastery throne has become stronger
Thaye Dorje, 33, married Rinchen Yangzom, 36, in a private ceremony attended by close family members in New Delhi on March 25 and announced it on March 30. His office described the couple as “close childhood friends” who have known each other for more than 19 years.
Karmapa is the title given to the spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu sect, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and are the oldest institutionalised series of rebirths in Tibetan Buddhism, preceding the Dalai Lama of Gelug sect. Currently, there are three contenders who claim to be the rightful reincarnation of 16th Karmapa. While Ogyen Dorje, who is recognised by the Dalai Lama as well as the Peoples’…