Karmapa was in a jovial mood when he delivered his annual greetings to members of the Kagyu Monlam. ‘Actually’, he said, ‘I am also a member of the Kagyy Monlam. Lama Chodrak brought me a card, but I’m the worst member because I didn’t pay’. He praised Lama Chodrak, the driving force behind the Monlam.
‘The tradition of the Kagyu Monlam’, he continued, ‘began five hundred years ago during the time of the 7th and 8th Karmapas. In India it came into existence through the efforts of Kalu Rinpoche. The Kagyu Monlam has now become international. Many people of all cultures come together and bathe in the prayers.
‘Usually it takes three kalpas for aspirations to ripen, but this has happened fast: in only 500 years. This force for virtue in the midst of turbulence is due to your participation’, he claimed.
The essence of all the aspirations is contained in one verse in the Noble Aspiration of Kuntuzangpo:
As far as to the ends of the blue sky,
As far as to the ends of sentient beings,
Until the end of karma and afflictions,
Thus far are the ends of my aspirations…
May any little merit I have gathered,
By thus aspiring for excellent conduct,
Make all the virtuous aspirations
Of all beings come true within a single instant.
Through the incomparable infinite merit
Thus gained through dedicating excellent conduct,
May beings engulfed in floods of suffering,
Achieve the supreme realm of Amitabha.
‘My work for the Kagyu Monlam has just begun’, His Holiness concluded.
‘Both in terms of membership and participation I lag behind you’, he continued without the faintest hint of irony, ‘but I hope to catch up’.
This is of course an understatement as vast as the aspirations of Kuntuzangpo. HH Karmapa has been working day and night, literally without eating or sleeping for the last few days, giving audiences, teaching, producing the Milarepa play and fulfilling the wishes of all the beings whose requests are seemingly infinite. And it’s true: his activity has only just begun.