Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message for dharma centres and practitioners around the world, concerning the outbreak of the coronavirus.
At present, a large number of people in the world find themselves in a situation in which there is serious danger to their lives.
For this reason, I appeal to all practitioners and devotees to pray one-pointedly to the noble Chenresig, and accumulate the fasting practice of Nyungne. This will be of benefit here and now, as well as in future lives.
I recommend that everyone stays at home and joins the practice sessions at a fixed time via live video streaming. As this coronavirus disease is contagious, large gatherings of people would be very dangerous. This way we can still accumulate positive potentials and cleanse defilements.
I request monasteries and dharma centres in the different regions to make arrangements for this practice as per your particular time zone.
In general, the many and various kinds of obstacles that we face, such as natural disasters, wars, infectious diseases, and famines that keep occurring are the infallible consequence of our collective and individual karmas.
Nevertheless, because of our lack of deep conviction about this, we tend to deny the causality of our actions and their results when we encounter difficult challenges. Whatever one’s religious orientation, one may also mistakenly assume that one’s supreme spiritual reference is biased in compassion. Or, we may consider all of the problems we face as the result of bad policies in our societal systems, or erroneous scientific views or other negative developments. We tend to become angry with all of that, leading us to feel distraught. Some even become insane, while others commit suicide. This is wrong.
In general, this all happens as a result of not being able to come to terms with the fact that, no matter how frequently we experience joy and happiness in this world, the suffering of birth, ageing, illness, and death come side by side, just as the body and its shadow walk together.
Whatever suffering occurs, it is important to identify its root. In the Buddha’s teachings, there is the system of tracing the origin of our suffering in our karma and afflicting emotions. However, tracing the origin alone is not sufficient. It is necessary to endeavour to develop confidence in the interdependence of causes and conditions and the courage to own up to one’s karmic results.
There are instructions, which I support, that say that one needs to do away with the habit of doing nothing other than tracing. For this reason, I appeal to all to consider the excellent teaching that all sentient beings have been one’s parents, and hold firmly to the fact that the cycle of birth, ageing, illness, and death is the nature of dependent arising.
By regarding all karmic effects as mere perceptions of the mind, avoid the extreme views of permanence and negation, and practice again and again.
Engage in the six sessions practice of day and night, be heedful to sustain yourselves on white food, and spend your time doing practices such as Nyungne, or similar practices. From my side as well, I am praying to the teacher and to the Three Jewels.
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message concerning the wildfires in Australia and floods in Indonesia:
Dear dharma friends
The devastation caused by the Australian bushfires is almost unimaginable. Lives are being lost. Millions of hectares of land lie in ashes. And thousands of people have lost their homes and livelihoods. With the fires spreading every day, it is challenging to see where there is hope.
From a Buddhist perspective, one of the four seals states that all compounded things are impermanent. Everything is in constant flux. In the midst of such a disaster, when no end seems in sight, when we reflect on the nature of impermanence, we understand that there will be an end. There must be an end.
When impermanence strikes, whether it is the Australian bushfires, or the Jakarta floods in which at least 43 people have lost their lives, it can cause a great deal of suffering. Nevertheless, greater suffering can arise when we can see no end in sight, when we believe that our suffering will never end. When we are sick, when we go through emotional or financial difficulties, it is the idea that our current condition will somehow last forever that is the cause of our greatest anxiety. Again, when we reflect on the nature of impermanence, we understand that nothing lasts forever.
Therefore, as we send our prayers and compassion to the people of Australia, and Indonesia, let us continue to meditate on the impermanent nature of life. In this impermanence, may we find the hope that we seek.
With compassion Thaye Dorje His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message of condolence concerning the fatal factory fire in New Delhi, India, this morning:
Dear dharma friends
At least 43 lives were lost in a factory fire in Delhi, which broke out about 5am this morning.
All of the victims of this tragedy were men, most of whom were sleeping in the factory preparing for labour. Some would be waking up to make toys for the festive season ahead. Some would be waking up to make jackets and other clothes. But none of them would wake again in this life.
None of us know what is around the corner. None of us know when impermanence will strike. One moment, we are laughing with our loved ones, and the next moment, we may be struck by sickness or death. These phenomena are not to be feared, for they are inevitable aspects of living in a conditioned world. Everything that rises must fall. While death and impermanence are not to be feared, they are to be understood.
When we really understand the nature of impermanence, we experience every moment in good health as a precious gift. Every smile and laugh shared with a loved one is a treasured moment. Every day is an opportunity, a responsibility, for loving kindness and benefiting other sentient beings.
Therefore, let us waste no time. Let us pray for all of the victims, the injured, and their loved ones. Let us meditate on the nature of impermanence and live each moment with the deep understanding that everything in this conditioned world is subject to change. Let us use this moment, this day, for compassion and wisdom.
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message concerning the discovery of 39 bodies in a lorry in the UK:
Dear dharma friends
I learned the upsetting news that 39 people were discovered dead in a lorry in the UK.
While the circumstances around this incident are still unclear, and efforts are being made to identify the bodies, what is without doubt is that each of the victims were people who had others who cared for them: friends, family and other loved ones.
As we pray for those who passed away in this and other tragedies around the world, let us remember that behind every headline, behind every story, are communities of sentient beings, sentient beings like you and me – all with innate qualities of wisdom and compassion.
On 2 October 2019, the 150 year anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, and the United Nations International Day of Nonviolence, Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message:
Dear dharma friends
Today we celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the birth of the Bodhisattva Gandhiji.
There are many teachings within Gandhiji’s life and legacy that are beneficial for us to reflect on today.
In many ways, humanity feels like it is in a hurry today. With the pace of globalisation, technological changes and other contemporary phenomena, we are at constant risk of getting distracted, and losing track of what is of most importance. Gandhiji lived a simple life. Whenever he prayed, he was just praying. Whenever he went for a walk, he was just walking. And whenever he ate a meal, he was just eating. His mindful awareness of the present moment, not being distracted from his task, is something that many of us in modern society may learn from. He avoided extremes, and lived a life of moderation, kindness and respect.
This kindness and respect was extended to all people, regardless of their social status or background. When Gandhiji spoke with a politician, he did so with kindness and respect. When Gandhiji spoke with a child on the streets, he did so with kindness and respect. As Buddhists, we believe that there are no fundamental differences between any human. Gandhiji lived this belief. His life was a 78 year prayer for equality, love and truth.
And it is Satyagraha, ‘holding on to truth’, the global movement of nonviolence that he sparked, born out of his belief in ahimsa (respect for all living things and the avoidance of violence), that is perhaps most pertinent today. Living a life of nonviolence, in thought, word and action, is one of our greatest challenges today.
The truth, as Gandhiji showed throughout his life, is often quite simple. To live simply. To avoid extremes and act with loving kindness. To treat all others and one would wish to be treated. To be disciplined in spiritual practice. To be an example of truth and justice through nonviolence. These truths come to life through action, through being an example. There are few greater examples and role models in history than the Bodhisattva Gandhiji.
On this day, as we reflect on the legacy of Gandhiji, may we also be examples of truth, kindness and nonviolence.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa(中文翻譯由本中心翻譯小組負責。若有錯漏，請見諒。節錄或載列文章內容以原文為準。）
Today is the United Nations International Day of Peace, with the theme ‘Climate Action for Peace’. With millions of people around the world taking part in a climate strike, Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares a message on the inner dimension of climate change.
Dear dharma friends
The theme for the 2019 United Nations International Day of Peace is ‘Climate Action for Peace,’ to reflect the importance of tackling climate change for a more peaceful world.
One way in which we might approach this is to reflect on the role of ‘inner climate change’.
In our global media, and in other facets of our lives, it feels as though there has been a sea change in the amount of anger and other heated emotions that are expressed. With unguarded minds, we have given rise to afflictive emotions. Anxiety, fear, anger have helped create storms, which sweep us up and cause internal devastation and destruction. Without paying closer attention to the environment of our minds, we are in danger of facing an inner climate emergency.
The good news is that we all have the tools necessary to help cool our minds. Through the practice of daily meditation, we are able to access our innate wisdom and compassion, and we learn to become aware of afflictive emotions. Meditation is a practical and powerful climate action.
As Buddhists, we understand that our inner and outer worlds are interdependent. If our inner climate overheats, we are at greater risk of harmful speech or actions in our material world. At the same time, when we are able to cool the mind, to subdue the emotional storms, we are more likely to speak and act in a beneficial way for ourselves, each other and our natural world.