His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa visits Prague, Czech Republic
On the evening of the 16th His Holiness gave a pith teaching on Karma along with the bodhisattva promise and an oral transmission of The Mahamudra Prayer, which he said contained a condensed method to the key of unlocking the nature of mind. His Holiness elucidated the meaning of Karma to some three thousand eager listeners at the T-Mobile Arena.
He began by simply explaining cause and effect in a universal way. He said, “We need to look at it generally in our lives, whether we are Buddhist or not. We all strive and wish for our happiness. We want to be free from any type of suffering. One doesn’t wish to experience any kind of difficult circumstances or uncomfortable situations. In order to achieve that goal there are various methods and ways known throughout history. From a Buddhist point of view, the only way to achieve that outcome is to understand cause and effect.” His Holiness went on to explain, “The reason why we face difficulties is because of our negative intentions. Intention and motivation play a huge role. When we talk about self interest, one must use harmful and afflicting emotions to serve that self. In this case, in order to satisfy one’s self, one would be compelled to engage in the thought of attachment or desire. If one faces uncomfortable situations we use anger as a tool to defend one’s self. As long as we use these afflicting emotions we do not see the way things really are and we are constantly ignorant. Therefore, negative actions are done out of the three poisons.” Karmapa Thaye Dorje put in plain words the ways that karma is manifested through body, speech and mind and he went into deeper explanations with the 10 non-virtues. This later wound its way into a discourse on the notion of “No Self” or “Emptiness”, which His Holiness described in another way. “Empty is the common term,” He said, “but it is not as though it does not exist at all but that it is free of itself.” His Holiness concluded the teaching session with question and answers with the audience.
The next morning His Holiness met representatives of the Czech sangha. There was a presentation on the growth and expansion of the Karma Kagyu Sangha in the Czech Republic in the large scope and by each individual center. Each center went into detail on the development and construction new retreat centers, stupas etc. Everyone offered a gift to His Holiness before they queued up for blessing. His Holiness gave advice and encouragement to all. He said that it was inspiring that “each and every individual contributes in every way that you can.” There are currently 48 Karma Kagyu Buddhist Centers in the Czech Republic.
On the evening of the 17th, Karmapa Thaye Dorje gave the Guru Yoga Empowerment of Karma Pakshi, the second Karmapa. Over three thousand people had gathered for this empowerment including the mayor of Prague himself, Mr. Pavel Bem, whom His Holiness had the privilege of meeting with earlier that day in an official invitation by the city of Prague. His Holiness thanked everyone for taking the time out of their busy schedules to be there that evening and gave special thanks to the “Lord Mayor Mr. Pavel Bem.”
Report: Derek Hanger
Photos: Peter Cerveny