Karmapa’s meditation for the anniversary of Shamar Rinpoche’s parinirvana

June 11, 2020

Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following meditation on 11 June, the anniversary of the parinirvana of Mipham Chökyi Lodrö, His Holiness the 14th Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, according to the Western calendar.

The awakened ones never ventured anywhere else. 

The unawakened ones never came from anywhere else. 

The string of endless beginnings is just a figment.

The string of endless finales is just a figment, too.

If it’s comforting to accept this, then one can do that. 

What is in-between the endless beginnings and the endless finales?

Is it not that the in-between is also just a figment? 

So, nothing really goes or comes. 

All there is is just cycles of figments.

The awakened ones set sail on this beginningless current of the ocean. 

They have no purpose for themselves to sail.

To them ports are as relative as islands or lands. Islands and lands are as dynamic as the ocean – they only move slower. So it makes no sense to the awakened ones to believe ports and shores to be static. 

They just sail. 

If a purpose is truly required to be shown in their sailing then that is that they sail only for the benefit of unawakened ones. 

The unawakened ones are sailing too, in a way. However, due to their slumber they aren’t aware or they aren’t certain that they are sailing. They feel more of a drifting sensation, yet at times, every now and then, a sense of sailing appears in flashes. 

Maha Bodhisattva Shantideva said:

“Just as a flash of lightning momentarily brings a pitch dark and stormy night into view, due to the awakened ones’ force (Buddha Nature) meritorious wisdom can originate in this world on extremely rare occasions.”

During those momentary flashes, which are almost like disturbed sleep, some awareness that the unawakened ones experience is most of the time ignored and passed by, and therefore forgotten.

Sometimes, the excellence of these mini-awakenings is understood to a minimal degree, so that they either sail with immense fear and pressure to find a port, or cling on to any shore they find and blindly believe that there is a static quality both in sailing and in finding the promised land.

So they go in circles for ever more. 

Swimming swimming, 

walking walking, 

flying flying 

and then doing it all over repeatedly with this desperate chase-like hope and fear.

Life after life sailing indefinitely in all forms of vehicles. 

Some slower, some faster. 

All the while not knowing that their hopes and fears were just figments, which means all this boundless journey is just a dream.

It’s a kind of debt that they bring on to themselves, and it becomes impossible to forgive. 

That doing, that karma, further deepens their dreaming. 

Because of it, the awakened ones can’t wake them up just like that. Instead, they sail with them, consciously, all the way through.

As captains, as first mates, as sailors, as passengers. 

They learn with them, they unlearn with them, they succeed with them, they fail with them.

They live and die together, reborn consciously and unconsciously as teachers and students. 

As fathers and sons, as mothers and daughters, as close relations and distant relations, as strangers and acquaintances, as friends and enemies. 

Over and over again, as if the awakened ones were truly as lost as the unawakened ones, even if it means that the awakened ones have to journey seemingly for an eternity.

May supplemental tidings of such a kind wear out the dreariness of our hearts from journeying. 

From the dreariness of ‘to’ and ‘from’. 

From the dreariness of seeing ‘to’ and ‘from’ as separate. 

May we wake up to the inseparability of ‘to’ and ‘from’. 

May we wake up to the passing and the returning of the awakened ones as their benevolent display.


For all of Karmapa’s ‘Meditations for our times’ please see: https://www.karmapa.org/meditations-for-our-times/