17th Gyalwa Karmapa"Buddhism is a way of life through which we develop the qualities of our mind.
This way of life is very unusual, as it is a means to attain happiness without harming others.

THE 17th GYALWA KARMAPA

Dear friends around the world,

Why spend time and money to come and meditate where the Buddha attained enlightenment? Why put up with the generous noises of India, the discomfort of a frugal room, dust which clogs up your nose, diseases?
Is it mysticism, maybe superstition? For others, with a gleam in their eye, it’s for the blessing!

A joyous mood in the streets of Bodhgaya

The answer lies, I think, at the crossroads, in the serene thought of an honest heart. The Buddha, followed by authentic masters, not only emphasized the importance of proper conduct in assuring a harmonious life, but also the judgement which increases through meditation and study.
The single purpose of his teaching, like that of Karmapa, is to offer aid so that we can free ourselves from dissatisfaction, an unhappiness which is chronic and intrinsic to our existence. He searched for the initial cause and found it here, at the foot of the Bodhi tree some 2500 years ago.

Here, to the east of the stupa, the very spot the Buddha attained enlightenment

This load that we carry finds its origin in the erroneous belief in our real existence as a permanent being, independent from our environment. This belief, that we all share, traps us in a vision which fundamentally separates us from everything that is outside of this “me”.  And from there flows all of the afflicting emotions and their succession of difficulties….

While we are all gathered at the foot of this tree (a shoot from the original tree), I wonder about this discovery of the Buddha; what did he truly see? Emptiness: the fact that all things, beings, all of phenomena, as much inside as well as outside the mind, have neither the reality nor the substance which we attribute to them.
By realising that, the illusion of “me” naturally fades, and it is no longer necessary to connect with this “me”. The emotions calm down, and the opening towards others, the fundamental kindness, blooms like a lotus in the morning sunshine.

Lotus on the shrines which decorate the whole perimeter of the stupa

At the moment of our morning practice under the tree, I think about all that, and I can’t help but let my mind make the links with other fields of knowledge, notably quantum mechanics, the branch of physics which explores the infinitely small, the fine structure of matter.  In the image of Buddha’s teaching and the Abhidharmakosha which we study each year at Dhagpo, quantum mechanics demonstrates with force, constancy and obstinacy that things are not always what we intuitively believe. It is both the nightmare and the dream of physicists.

A simple example: since ancient times, we believe that every object is in fact an agglomeration, an assembly, of many elementary particles which are indivisible, atoms. These atoms are therefore materiel, since their assembly constitutes our drinking glass, even our house! But in fact, that is simple not true! In certain circumstances, these atoms, and these particles which compose them, act as light! And that depends on the day….

Reality therefore, has no stability; permanence which we assign it on the basis of a false interpretation, deceiving our perceptions.

Even for these butter lamps, the matter is light and vice versa!

Another example: quantum mechanics shows that once two elementary particles were in contact with each other, they remain linked, interdependent to life and to death. We poetically call that quantum entanglement.
Finally, Heisenberg demonstrated that we cannot separate the mind which observes from the matter that is observed and that the whole thing is unknown, marked by ignorance…

Clara carefully examines the incense, but does she know that they are not separable from her mind?  

Physics shows us then that interdependence intervenes at all stages:  between material composites of the universe, but also between them and all sentient beings.  

From Buddha to quantum physics, is there only one step?  That also reminds me what Karmapa said about the Institute at Dhagpo:  

The purpose of the Institute is to give access to knowledge:  the sciences of the mind, the body and the world.

Until tomorrow, with other considerations quantum-Dharma

Jean-Guy


Kagyu Monlams Reports # 1 - From one Stupa to Another

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