During the Monlam, His Holiness Karmapa gave us some fascinating insights concealed inside the main teachings, so I collected some and strung them together like pearls to share with you.
The Buddha designated 16 Arhats who would live until the Buddha Maitreya comes and appear as monks to protect the dharma. During the 11th century Atisha made a practice of the 16 Arhats according to the Kriya Yoga Tantra system.
The 16 Arhats are very important in the Kadampa tradition and must be represented in every temple. It is believed that if one makes prayers to them the dharma will spread. Now all Tibetan temples have drawings or statues of the 16 Arhats.
We pray to them to spread the dharma, make the sangha harmonious, and uphold the conduct of the Vinaya.
When I was eight or nine I hadn’t studied anything much. When I focused on a person or on the pillar (reference to the Tibetan belief that a pillar holds up the centre of the world), they disappeared. A strong fear opened up in my mind. I had a teacher with a white beard – I’m afraid of him even now. I had to run around outside in the wind.
When I told others about this, they said that if you really think about emptiness, you get this kind of fear. However, if you analyse it from the viewpoint of interdependence, everything is there interdependently. Everything arises out of causes and conditions. Nothing is on its own.
Being born in Dewachen is due to the aspiration of the mind – like making the wish to wake up at 3 am.
Everything comes out of causes and conditions and arises like a magical show. We should aspire to see this magic interdependent arising.
We all have to do the activity of the Buddha together. From the 1st to the 16th Karmapas, all of them brought the activity of the Buddha into their being and ripened it. When I do it, you may think I am doing it for you, but you have to do it for yourself.
Sometimes the Lama becomes too important. People call it Lamaism, not Buddhism. We have to practice in secret in our hearts and not show off with it. You have to understand what level of practice you have to do.
Dedication is like the driver. If we dedicate it for this life, it’s wasted. If we don’t do the dedication and we get angry, it will destroy our positive deed.
Let us dedicate for lasting peace and happiness in this world, for the long life of our teachers, and the spread of the dharma. Try to do it in a very proper and genuine way. If there is not a proper dedication, the accumulations will not happen.
The dedication has to be very strong to be effective.