The Arya Kshema Winter Gathering for Nuns Begins in Bodhgaya
Shrine Hall, Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
this first day of the 4th Arya Kshema Winter Gathering, the Karmapa welcomed
560 nuns from nine different shedras (scholastic colleges) and their teachers,
along with large groups of nuns from Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, and China as well
as a few from the West plus the community of laywomen. From March 6 to 18, the
shedra nuns will be participating in the thirteen days of teachings, debate,
and ritual ceremonies.
Karmapa noted that there are two special aspects to this year’s event. First of
all, the nuns from seven shedras will be competing for the first time. The
judges will be three Geshemas, nuns who have recently passed all the exams
after years of intense study of the major treatises and received the equivalent
of the Geshe degree from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Karmapa remarked that
having these brilliant nuns as judges indicates our respect for them and also
inspires other nuns to attain the highest level of excellence.
after years of research and discussion, the Karmapa related, we will start the
historic path to full ordination for nuns in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
This year Dharmagupta nuns from Nan Lin Nunnery in Lantou on the west coast of
Taiwan will assist in giving the Getsulma (novice) vows which will be held for
one year. Afterward the Gelopma (special vows), which are held for two winters
or two summers, will be given, and finally the full ordination of the Gelongma
vows. The Karmapa emphasized the importance of following a graduated path and
going carefully step-by-step to build a strong foundation.
Karmapa then returned to Gampopa’sOrnament
of Precious Liberationpicking
up where he had stopped last year—the section on the ceremony for taking the
bodhisattva’s vow from the ninth chapter on the “Proper Adoption of
Bodhichitta.” He reminded his listeners that there are two lineages for taking
the vows: one passes from Manjushri through Nagarjuna and the other from
Maitreya through Asanga. The first one is usually associated with the Middle
Way school and the second with the Mind Only school. The Karmapa stated,
however, that this implies a hierarchy with the Middle Way being considered
superior, so it is better to refer to the two as the lineage of the profound
view and the lineage of vast conduct.
ceremony for lineage of the profound view is further divided into two: a
ceremony in the presence of a guru and not. When, as King Amba Manjushri was
taking the vows, he did so in a ceremony without a guru. This is described here
inthe Ornament of Precious
Liberationas it is
in Atisha’sLamp for the Path of
Enlightenment. However, the scriptures on the bodhisattva vehicle
state that it should not be too easy to take these vows. We should exert
ourselves in searching for a guru, and if we are not successful, we can take
the vows in a ceremony without one. Further, we may have found an authentic
teacher, but in order to serve them, there may be a danger to one’s life or
vows of chase conduct. Since this is the same as not finding a guru, in this
situation we can also take the vows without a lama.
again to King Amba, the Karmapa explained that the king had made offerings to
the Buddha called Melody of Thunder for many years. When it came time to
dedicate the merit, the king had wanted to do so for the sake of achieving the
level of a sravaka or pratyekabuddha arhat. Then a voice from the sky
encouraged him, “You must dedicate the merit to achieving buddhahood.”
Following this advice, King Amba gave rise to genuine bodhichitta. The words he
spoke, or the ceremony he performed, are found in the sutra calledEstablishing the Pure Realm
of Manjushri, which is part of the Ratnakutra sutras. This is the
ceremony we can do when not finding a guru.
of whether the ceremony is with or without a lama, we must first train our
minds in aspirational bodhicitta so that it is not mere words, but comes from
the depth of our heart. This is the actual basis for taking the vows. At a
minimum, for one week beforehand, we should train our minds in bodhichitta
through the pith instructions on cause and effect or in the practice of
exchanging ourselves for others or the equality of self and other. Of course,
it would be difficult to generate authentic bodhichitta in one week, but at
least this training will create imprints in our mind. On the other hand, if we
cannot say for sure what bodhichitta is, if it remains some intellectual
fabrication and we merely repeat the words of the ceremony, it would be
difficult to say that we have truly received the vow.
Kadampa spiritual friend Potowa explained the stages of the practice. First we
meditate to recognize that all living beings are our mothers and then feel
gratitude to them for their kindness. This can bring about great love, and from
this, comes great compassion. Then we can find the extraordinary intention that
leads to the generation of bodhichitta.
Kadampa master Netsulpa said the only way to bring perfect benefit to others
and ourselves is to achieve buddhahood. As long as we remain in samsara, we
cannot even accomplish our own aims to say nothing of benefitting others.
Shravakas and pratyekabuddhas are able to partially accomplish their own aims,
but they are unable to benefit others. Achieving full awakening, which comes
about due to bodhichitta, is the only way that we can spontaneously benefit
both self and others.
causal chain leading to bodhichitta travels back through compassion to loving
kindness, to gratitude for others’ kindness and to recognizing that they have
been our mothers. This, in turn, depends on entering the view of the transitory
collections, meaning that one has the view of a self (that longs to benefit
others). This is said to be the tathagatas’ love. Geshe Sharwa’s explanation is
basically the same as this sequence of causes, though he phrased it
rousing bodhichitta comes out of various causes and conditions, not just a
single cause, and it is important to train our mind in these and develop
bodhichitta in stages. Whether we are discussing Nagarjuna’s tradition of the
profound view or Asanga’s tradition of vast conduct, the necessity of first
training our mind remains the same.
Karmapa then gave a reading transmission up to the third point, Taking the
Special Form of Refuge. Afterward, he turned to speak about issues related directly
to the nun’s gathering. It is said that our greatly compassionate teacher,
Shakyamuni Buddha sacrificed one third of his lifespan so that the teachings
would flourish and remain a long time. Some 2,600 years have gone by since he
passed away, and until now, the teachings have remained continuous in the
world, bringing great benefit and happiness to many beings. Included in the
third of his lifespan that the Buddha sacrificed for the teachings are the
teachings for the nuns, or those with a female body, so they could practice the
three trainings or the three vows.
we know this is based on theDharma
BlazeAspiration,which is actually from a sutra taught
by the Buddha called,the
Sutra of the Essence of the Moon. This was not translated into
Tibetan, but Atisha quoted from it in hisCompendium
of the Sutrasand his
citation included theDharma
Blaze Aspiration. At the end of this aspiration, there are two
lines: “May my retinue flourish” and “May my retinue be respected.” The
Tibetan, however, simply says, “My retinue,” and it is not clear what this
Sutra of the Essence of the Moonwas
fully translated into Chinese during the sixth century.
this version, we findthe
Dharma Blaze Aspirationand
also an explanation of “my retinue” as indicating the four types of retinue (bdag
‘khor rnam bzhi). The aspiration states, “May my retinue be
respected through the power of bringing into the proper view those who had
previously held the wrong views of the extremists.”Retinuehere refers to the four types of
retinue: the fully ordained monks and nuns as well as the laymen and laywomen.
In brief, there are two groups of monastics and two groups of householders. The
Buddha was making the aspiration that by the power of his declaring words of
truth, may his four types of retinue flourish. This alone shows us clearly that
the Buddha had the aspiration or hope that the community of fully ordained nuns
is sometimes said in Tibetan groups or in Buddhist centers that if women become
nuns, it will harm the teachings. The same thing is also said about instituting
the gelongma vows. However, if these steps would really harm the Dharma, the
Buddha would not have wished for the nuns to flourish. If we think about these
matters, we have to consider them in a spacious and broad-minded way.
Karmapa closed out the morning with advice to the nuns on how to compete in
debate without falling prey to worldly aversion and attachment. He suggested
they remember that debate is for blending the Dharma with their mind. It is
also good to relax a little bit to make their minds peaceful. The Karmapa
offered his hopes and prayers that the Arya Kshema Winter Gathering would be
virtuous in the beginning, the middle, and the end. The assembly then recited
the Third Karmapa’sAspiration
of Mahamudra, a profound text on the nature of mind, which, in its
focus on the ultimate nature, parallelsthe
at the beginning of the teachings. Both texts describe and celebrate the
perfection of wisdom embodied by women.
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…
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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…
TIBETAN DHARMA IS BASED ON Mahayana Buddhism and in Tibet there is a special Mahayana tradition. Centuries ago, Indian Mahasiddhas collected the essence of the Buddha's teachings which were subsequently brought to Tibet. Down to this present day, it is still possible to study these same teachings at an educational institution. In addition, you can actually come to experience the effect of what you have learned and enjoy the fruit of what you have practiced. I have confidence that you all are capable of experiencing this fruition of Buddhahood. The heart of Mahayana teaching is the practice of experiencing bodhicitta, or the enlightened mind. Bodhicitta can be seen from two aspects--the aspiration to benefit oneself and to benefit others--but when you are truly doing the practice then you generate bodhicitta that includes both yourself and all other beings. As you are working in the world or accomplishing some task, if you do it with the intention of benefiting…
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.