His Holiness dazzles in Vancouver
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa (http://kagyuoffice.org/karmapa/), at 31 years old, is the spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The Karmapa lineage dates back 900 years; it is the oldest and foremost lineage to commence a tradition of reincarnate teachers in Tibetan Buddhism.
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa’s first Canadian tour has arrived at its final stop, Vancouver, on June 17th. His Holiness was warmly received by local Tibetans and members of the legislative assembly for Burnaby and Richmond cities at the airport. The party then arrived together to a welcoming procession at Thrangu Monastery Canada.
On June 18, His Holiness performed the empowerment of Avalokiteśvara or Chenrezig, the embodiment of all the compassion of all the Buddhas. His Holiness explained:
“The empowerment today is for the six syllable mantra (oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ), or the dhāraṇī of Avalokiteśvara. Sometimes mantras are called the ‘declaration of truth’, or ‘words of truth’. This ‘declaration of truth’ is, in one way, the declaration of something ‘as it is’.
Next, the initiations of the body, speech and mind:
First, the initiation of the body of Avalokiteśvara is giving you permission to meditate upon ourselves as being the body of Avalokiteśvara. The reason it is important for us to do so is that we no longer limit ourselves by seeing ourselves as ordinary beings. When we think of ourselves as being Avalokiteśvara, the nature of compassion, this gives us encouragement and enthusiasm, and it is then difficult to get angry. When you have that kind of pride, then we feel a little differently then we did before, we have greater confidence.
Next is the initiation of the speech of Avalokiteśvara. This is the initiation which gives you permission to practice the six syllable mantra of oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ.
Third, the initiation of the mind of Avalokiteśvara. This means that we rest in equipoise, inseparable from the wisdom of Avalokiteśvara’s mind. The mind of Avalokiteśvara, the Great Compassionate One, is non-dual wisdom. And the essence of all sentient beings, of all of us, is Buddha Nature. In terms of the essence, we are all the same. There is no distinction of one essence being better and the other being worse. For that reason, it is not as if the wisdom mind of Avalokiteśvara is one thing, and our own regular mind is something else. The initiation is like pouring water into water. So, here, what we need to do is rest in equipoise, in meditation upon the meaning of this nature, while remembering the way that the Dharma expanse — the nature of things — actually is. So resting in this way here is the initiation of the mind.
That completes the empowerment for the body, speech and mind of Avalokiteśvara.
In terms of the compassion that we talk about in Buddhism, it is not merely the sympathy, empathy, or pity that we usually have. The compassion that is taught in the Dharma is a stronger compassion than normal. It is more involved, it is more dedicated. We do not see the individual for whom we are having compassion, and the individual who is having compassion as being separate. So it is not as if the person who has compassion or pity is in a good position, and the other person is in a desperate situation and we are having pity on them. It is not like that. Instead, it is like the compassion for the other person becomes a part of ourselves. We become the nature of that compassion, so we are able to give ourselves over to it, and fully dedicate ourselves to it. For that reason we are able to take the responsibility and mentally bear the burden of it. So this compassion is not merely a feeling, an idea, or understanding. It is not merely the prayer or aspiration, “may it be so” or “may this person be better off”. What is critical, is that our compassion be something that we actually put into practice, or that it is related with what we actually do in our lives.”
For the event details, see: http://www.karmapacanada.org/.
Public teachings will be webcast live at www.kagyuoffice.org/webcast/