December 22, 2023
Karmapa’s message for Gandhi’s birthday
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, 2 October.
Nonviolence, peace, compassion – all of these are different expressions of excellence, and what we all wish to accomplish.
However, it is difficult to pinpoint what those expressions or qualities really are. If we look at them in a materialistic way, then it almost becomes impossible to achieve.
Of course, because of our consciousness, because of our innate qualities, we still have an idea that we want to achieve non-violence, we want to achieve peace, we want to achieve compassion. But the reason why it becomes challenging to pinpoint what they are might be due to afflictive emotions, unfavourable causality that pushes the search for this excellence in an extreme way.
As a consequence, we lose sight of the fact that this excellence is incredibly simple. And only with patience, with great patience, great care for others, great regard for others, we are able to somehow nurture this simplicity.
We must remember great beings who appear in our lives and in our era, who display this excellence. And so today, we remember the life of Mahatma Gandhi-ji, his extraordinary example of simplicity, his approach of leading his life and leading others in his path of nonviolence.
No matter our culture, religion, or society: patience is patience, care is care – it surpasses all the social boundaries of culture, mentality or religion.
There is something that we can learn from Gandhi-ji about having patience, courage, and how to live life in the moment; taking great responsibilities on one’s shoulders, and at the same time accepting the fragility of this life, for at the end of our lives we must part from all that we have done; and yet, we must have the patience not to be weighed down.
Gandhi-ji did all of this by leading a very simple life, while still carrying an immense responsibility. He taught those great lessons, and we must find ways to learn from them. Many of us have a life that is more comfortable than the one he lived, so in fact we have a very good chance of achieving what he achieved in his lifetime.
While carrying out all of our tasks, we need to accept that life is changing, life is fragile. We need to accept the conditions and carry our responsibilities, not by putting great pressure on ourselves but by accepting the simple facts, and then striving to live one moment at a time.
I celebrate Gandhi-ji with the nation of India, and everyone around the world, for I have immense appreciation for his example.