Karmapa’s message for Vesak 2021

May 25, 2021

Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message on the eve of Vesak.

The text of the Five Royal Sutras can be downloaded here.

A transcript of the message follows:

Dear dharma friends,

On this most auspicious day of Vesak, the day that marks the birth, enlightenment, and passing of our Lord Buddha, I offer my prayers for all of you. The day of Vesak is special to Buddhists all over the world, and particularly to all of us here in India, where our Buddha Shakyamuni reached enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree in the most sacred place of Bodhgaya.

In these challenging times, I pray that the teachings of Lord Buddha may help us understand and pacify the emotions that we all experience. I pray that they may help us overcome our fear and find the courage to understand the nature of impermanence, which is the very essence of the teaching of Lord Buddha: as long as we live in this cyclic existence, change and impermanence, sickness and death are a part of life.

I ask of all of you to use this special day of Vesak to pray for all those who are affected by the pandemic, all those who have lost their lives, and all those who are mourning loved ones.

And I myself will pray together with all of you, and so will all the students and practitioners from our lineage.

Most of all, let us use this day of Vesak to make prayers and aspirations to overcome the cycle of birth and death, follow in the footsteps of Lord Buddha and reach Samyak Sambuddha, the state of perfect awakening.

One excellent way of praying and aspiring on this special day is by relying on perfectly pure speech, and I therefore encourage all of you to recite the Five Royal Sutras, either by yourselves or meeting your dharma friends online and practicing these recitations together as a group.

Please understand that when I say this, I don’t mean to put pressure on any of you: it’s just a guideline, an option that I’m giving to those of you who can do it.

For those who are not able to do it, something as simple as reciting the six-syllable mantra of Chenresig or any other Buddhist mantra you know has great merit in itself.

Having said that, please also understand that I am not encouraging you to become lazy and take the easiest option that you can get away with.

Rather, what I mean to say is that if reciting the Six Syllables is what you know then please do that, and it will have great merit. But if you know how to do more, then you should do more.

In short, I encourage all of you to do your best to use this day for the practice of the Buddha dharma, for the benefit of all sentient beings.

With prayers
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa