His Holiness Karmapa’s sister, Chyamsin-la, offered the mandala to request the teaching, placing it on a shrine filled with miniature flags from each country in the world.
Here are some excerpts from His Holiness’ talk which clarified many misconceptions about dharma practice, attachment, and love; and also revealed the gentleness, warmth and humour of his charismatic personality.
Dharma is not just a ritual but something that transforms the mind. We can do it in daily life. Look how you act and react, how you relate with others. Become aware.
My life is becoming busier and the time to meditate is becoming less. My practice is about my way of thinking and the way I try to live my life with the intention to help beings. I look at my mind to see if it is that way or not.
When I was young I did a lot of prayers, but these days I meet many people and make loving connections with them. When I am awake or asleep they are with me in my mind. So my practice is livelier and more real. When you do prayers you don’t have live people to connect with.
The main thing is not to give up on sentient beings. If we hold them in our mind’s eye, that is an important foundation. It will transform us. Self cherishing becomes less. This kind of loving kindness is like a wish fulfilling jewel.
In some way bodhicitta is like falling in love; all doubts are cleared up. Our heart becomes full of joy and we are completely focused. Our dharma practice becomes easy and the purpose of life is clear. If we have an understanding of the purpose, object and view, dharma comes very easily. If there is too much thinking then it becomes a religion, a system with gods and ghosts; and the real practice is not there. We don’t need to understand a lot of philosophy. The main point is to work for the benefit of beings.
Dharma has to become one with our mind and our life. People think they have to study and bring that into their life. Rather we have to apply the dharma to fill the empty spaces in our life. If you do that, the dharma and life become one. It’s the difference between bringing the dharma into your life and living the dharma.
All masters do not have to be living beings. Anything that appears can be a Lama. A negative incident can be your teacher also. When you look deeply into life you can see lots of living instructions. You don’t have to hear it in words; you can see it also.
Generally speaking, the practice of dharma is something you can do anywhere, even in prisons, or when sleeping, if you know how to do it.
We have to do some formal practice in the morning; do refuge, relax the mind and make a strong aspiration for the day. If I cannot do something good, at least I should not do something harmful. Then your day will become auspicious.
We need to give our mind a rest, to bring peace and joy to our mind. We should make time every day to let our mind relax. Rest the mind for ten minutes every three hours. Our mind is distracted and it needs to have some place to come back home. Relax in Now. We need to feel we have achieved something and now we can relax.
The most important thing is to give rest and relaxation to your mind. Even if I am busy with body and speech, my mind is ahead. Even if we are busy we have to be aware so we are not overwhelmed. It’s like looking from above, seeing the situation and taking charge of it.
When I have time to do formal practice I do it fully; I don’t let anything else come into my mind. I make a clear aspiration that I will do this and nothing else. Then we are able to relax and find peace.
Attachment is a very significant obstacle to finding peace of mind. Anger comes and goes but attachment is there all the time. It’s important to find out how the attachment and clinging arise. If we are attached we only see the positive over the negative side. The good thing that we see and our mind cannot be separated. It becomes one. Then the mind is not free. The main issue with attachment is that your freedom is lost. You are overpowered by it.
When I was young I was taken to China. They took me into shops. There were so many nice and interesting things. I realized that if you give in to desire it can lead you to steal. So what is desirable and undesirable has to do with our mind. It’s a collective identity; society creates it. When we become attached we lose our freedom.
What we are attached to, is not exactly how it is. We over- value that object. We see it as 100% desirable.
The difference between loving kindness and attachment is that with attachment I cannot control myself. But when we have compassion to beings it’s different. There is a genuine reason not to forsake them. There is free choice. You choose to love them and not to give up on them. Attachment is closed and tight. With compassion and loving kindness there’s an open, free and warm feeling. Compassion is not a job. It’s based on a clear understanding.
Relationships should bring happiness and not suffering. If you have a loving relationship even watering the garden has the quality of love.
Attachment is clingy. It has the aspect of, this is completely mine. For example, when a couple is in love and the husband talks to a more beautiful lady, the wife feels jealousy – that is attachment. I own this. Love is giving freedom, wanting joy and happiness for others. You try to support what the other wants. It’s not like, this is my husband and he should do or say things according to my way. That is control. There is no freedom. If this is the attitude, it’s hard to have a happy life together. Love is freedom, giving, openness. Love and attachment have to be understood in a proper way.
Anger: one thing that helped me a lot is not to focus on one personal incident. Then anger becomes so strong we have to do something about it. Divert the mind; shift the focus to other things. I found that very useful.
The earth is the basis of all things animate and inanimate. It has no preference; it is equal to all. That is why the Buddha took the earth as a witness. All the positive things he did were on the earth, so earth was a witness to that.
The most wonderful thing about dependent arising is that anything is possible.