December 23, 2020
Coronavirus: Karmapa’s message for dharma centres and practitioners
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.