Page 1 of 1

17th Karmapa's Chöd Teachings

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:45 pm
by Palzang Jangchub
Last year in Palampur (Himachal Pradesh, India), October 26-28, His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa gave the Chöd wang and taught based on 8th Karmapa Mikyö Dorje's tri on how to do a week-long Chöd retreat. Tyler Dewar translated into English for His Holiness, except on some notable and largely hilarious occasions! Besides the empowerment itself, which was not recorded, the entire set of teachings is available publicly through the Karmapa's YouTube channel.

In an unprecedented three-day event, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, [granted] initiation and teachings on Chöd. A spiritual practice developed by Machig Labdrön, a Tibetan yogini in the 11th century, Chöd is practiced by nearly all sects of Tibetan Buddhism to this day. Approximately 1,000 people from across the Himalayan region and around the world [were there] to attend this historic Dharma transmission, which [was] conferred for the first time by His Holiness in response to a supplication made by a western Buddhist woman, Lama Tsultrim Allione, on behalf of all women practitioners. Lama Tsultrim was ordained in 1970 as a Buddhist nun by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, and later pursued the path as a lay practitioner.

The teachings and empowerment are taking place through 28 October and hosted at Dorzong Monastic Institute (Jangchub Jong) in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh, by His Eminence the 8th Dorzong Rinpoche, a highly respected senior lineage holder within the Drugpa Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dharma transmission is reserved for serious practitioners, while a long-life initiation to be offered to the general public on 29 October at Dorzong Institute. Apart from several hundred Buddhist nuns from around the Himalayas, the event [...] attracted disciples from dozens of different countries.

Expressing his delight regarding the occasion, His Holiness the Karmapa said: "Since the time of the 3rd Karmapa who wrote the first commentary on Chöd, the Karmapas have maintained a close connection to this practice. I myself feel a deep bond with these teachings coming from Machig Labdrön. She is the perfect embodiment of wisdom and compassion and has inspired Buddhist practitioners for many centuries. I am especially pleased that I can offer this encouragement and support to female practitioners from around the Himalayan region and the world, and pray that the good merit from this event generates peace."

The Gyalwang Karmapas are the historical holders of the direct lineage of Chöd, which is based on the Indian Buddhist deity Prajnaparamita, the Mother of all the Buddhas, embodiment of wisdom. Of the eight practice lineages of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Chöd is the only lineage established by a woman. ... nVvWxnsG0P

The above playlist includes 3 videos, listed here for viewing separately if you need. The run-time of the entire set of teachings 7.5 hours (or 451 minutes).

1) Teaching on the Empowerment Day:

2) Teachings - Day 1:

3) Teachings - Day 2:

Re: 17th Karmapa's Chöd Teachings

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:13 pm
by Palzang Jangchub
A summary of the teachings, per the video description of Day 2:
Published on Nov 1, 2012
For the third consecutive day, around a thousand disciples of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa made their way from the surrounding valley and mountainsides back to Dorzong Monastic Institute. [Situated] on a hilltop and nestled amidst pristine forest as far as the eye can see, the exquisitely painted main shrine hall of Dorzong Institute [offered] an ideal setting for this historical Dharma transmission by His Holiness on Chöd practice. The skilled hand of the 8th Dru-gu Choegyal Rinpoche, a highly accomplished artist, was everywhere in sight both in the elaborately painted main shrine hall and throughout the institute's grounds.

The first topic for [that day's] session was a history lesson. Recounting key events from the remarkable life of Machig Labdrön, the Gyalwang Karmapa stated that [she] was taught by her mother to read. Gyalwang Karmapa recollected that his own father had made a conscious choice to teach all of his own children to read, including the girls. His family's valuing of education for girls was anomalous and considered unnecessary according to local values. His Holiness said that his sister—who is now present with him in India and was in fact attending the teaching—also excelled as a young girl at reading Tibetan.

As the Gyalwang Karmapa detailed Machig Labdrön's spiritual accomplishments, he made it clear that hers was a tradition of direct experience of Prajnaparamita. Although she had many male disciples as well as female, His Holiness observed that her Dharma system was extremely beneficial for women.

As he resumed the commentary on the 8th Gyalwang Karmapa's instructions for seven-day retreat, His Holiness turned to the practice of offering the body (Sanskrit: dehad?na; Tibetan: lüjin), which is the meditation theme for the sixth day of the week-long retreat.

From time to time, His Holiness switched into English to clarify a point or elaborate on the translation. Throughout the three days, the humorous interplay between the English translator, Tyler Dewar, and His Holiness [...] served as an expression of the joy shared by lama and audience.

Cautioning that until one has attained the bodhisattva's bhumis, one is not literally enjoined to offer one's body, the Gyalwang Karmapa described an occasion from a past life of Buddha Shakyamuni, when he cut off his head and offered it to someone who had asked for it. The Gyalwang Karmapa then laughingly interjected that if we say someone first cut off his own head and then gave it, the wording of this just sounds wrong.

Widening the scope of what might initially be understood as Lüjin ["giving of the body"], His Holiness stressed that in this practice we train ourselves in giving everything—including the merit and karmic fruits that come from giving. Doing so, he explained, helps us cut our clinging to self.

Sharing with the audience his personal vision of this practice, His Holiness described it as letting go and extending to see ourselves as part of all sentient beings. "What we take to be us and what we take to be others are not two separate things," he said. "Our body, speech and mind and the body, speech and mind of other sentient beings are not two separate things."

Chöd practice prepares us to transform our relationship to the five psycho-physical aggregates that ordinarily form the basis of what we think of as "I." When we do the practice fully, he explained, these five aggregates that were previously the focus of our self-fixation are no longer seen as "I" or "mine." As such, the result of successful Chöd practice is to sever the self-fixation that is the root of all our suffering.

As the 8th Gyalwang Karmapa's description of the seven week retreat drew to a close, so too did these three extraordinary days of empowerment and teachings by the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. The final day of the retreat, like the final portion of the session, [was] devoted to dedication of merit. We dedicate in order to ensure that our practice takes us in the direction we want to go, His Holiness explained. Surely no one in the audience at that moment wished to go anywhere at all, as both organizers and His Holiness uttered many warm words of thanks. Thus drew to a close this historical occasion, when His Holiness the 17th Karmapa for the first time in this lifetime transmitted a practice in which the Gyalwang Karmapa has been an important lineage holder since the 13th century.