Karmapa invites students to Kagyu Monlam audio stream

Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message regarding this year’s Kagyu Monlam, which takes place from 16-22 December. Listen to the Kagyu Monlam on the live stream page on karmapa.org. Dear dharma friends I would like to invite all of you to join this year’s Kagyu Monlam prayers via live audio stream from Rumtek. It is regrettable that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 59 million cases, more than 1.3 million human lives and millions of animal lives lost so far, we will not be able to come together in person this year. Nevertheless, I feel that we are very fortunate to have the necessary technology to allow us to practice together, and I will be joining the aspiration prayers along with all of you around the world. I would like to take this opportunity to share some of my own thoughts with you, concerning Buddhist practice in general, and in particular the practice of aspirations.  Of course, we have this long-standing tradition of gathering once a year for the recitation of aspiration prayers, led by our monastic sangha from Rumtek. But if we really investigate this activity and ask ourselves what the purpose is, curiously enough, it will be difficult to come up with a solid one.  As human beings, we are driven primarily by the concept that no matter what we do, there has to be a purpose – otherwise it is pointless. And while that theory has its own place, if we rely exclusively on that logic it might be challenging for us to find a good reason why we should keep up traditions such as the Kagyu Monlam. Yet, I feel that we need to be thankful for this tradition.  Why? Our human society functions in a way in which we feel that we have to earn everything, down to the simplest of things: even if we just take five minutes break out of our busy daily schedule, we feel guilty unless we think that we have somehow earned the right to enjoy it. While Buddhism understands that this way of thinking is not really in line with the way things are, with the nature of reality – nevertheless, from a Buddhist point of view, if we are driven by the theory that every result must be earned, then it makes sense to go through with it all the way, in order to experience for ourselves whether what we believe is true or not. So in that sense any Buddhist practice is like a vehicle to allow us to go all the way, fully, with what we believe.  In that way, the practice will complement what we think the path is. If we understand this from the beginning, then we will not be driven by the idea of success; in the case of aspirations, we will not start out with the mistaken belief that we have to have a ‘successful’ aspiration, because this very idea of success invariably goes hand … Continue reading Karmapa invites students to Kagyu Monlam audio stream