Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message on the occasion of Losar, and the birth of the Year of the Male Metal Rat:
Dear dharma friends
Losar is an annual holiday that takes place at the end of the lunar year cycle. Many Asian countries celebrate it after their yearly harvest of crops, herding of animals and other hard work of all kinds.
Any message that suggests that we do away with merriment on this occasion, or any other occasion, might seem grim, or that it is somehow spoiling the fun. It might give the impression that we are being asked to renounce cheer because of some occurrence of misfortune. When a religion or religious practice is advocated to replace an occasion of cheer, it may make the mood even more dull!
I hope that such an atmosphere won’t be induced when I ask of you, dear dharma friends, to practice instead of celebrating this annual festivity. No doubt there will be many fellow practitioners for whom ‘Losar’ is not part of their culture. Yet, over the course of time, having developed a connection with the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, many feel an association with the Asian sentiment of Losar. Therefore, I’d like to take this opportunity to share some thoughts on this occasion.
Celebrations of any kind are supposed to be enjoyable. However, when something – or anything – is forced upon us, resisting emotions seem to rise. It’s difficult to force someone to enjoy themselves, of course. Often in societies, trying to force joy seems to be one of the many causes of anxiety or dukkha. The intention may be noble, but the means are somewhat lacking in skill. The practice of the Buddha dharma, however, is supposed to be that skilful means.
Every moment of our life is celebratable. No matter how mundane an activity may seem, whether it is washing dishes, pruning trees, or walking, each and every moment is a celebration. No matter how important an activity may seem, whether it is discovering medical breakthroughs, governing a nation, parenting children or teaching students, each and every moment is a celebration. The precious practice of the Buddha dharma is the means by which our aspiration to witness these moments may be fulfilled.
The more we try to develop a relationship with the practice of the Buddha dharma, the smoother and more graceful it will be to go with the flow of change, to live with impermanence.
Then there is no need to force joy on ourselves. Then, every day is a Losar.
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.
I pray that Karmapa, Sangyumla and the new born baby (dungse) to all be in good health and long life.
It was expected that September was the month for birth, we all waited patiently and finally baby is born! May we all take this moment to reflect on our Gurus Karmapa and Shamarpa’s wisdom and compassion.
This moment, the very lifetime we are living in, is historic and we are all witnessing it. One should be proud and rejoice on ones own karma for having to experience this and of course to always keep dharma in heart and apply.
May our devotion to Guru bless us to one’s mind.