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.



Travel Log—Commemorating Shamarpa's Parinirvana with Karmapa in Kalimpong

See the original in French

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Weariness to fundamental thoughts 

The Karmapa, places his gaze on the Gyalwa Gyamtso mandala

Today the Gyalwa Karmapa did not lead the drupcho. He came at the very beginning, walked around the mandala then went away. Just the same, everything went as if he was there. A little more intense and a little longer each day (the first day, we began at 8:00 then at 7:00, then 6:30 with the end of the day remaining at about 7:00 p.m.). It can be said that after two days of preparation and three days of intensive practice, a general fatigue can be felt. The heat is pervasive and one by one, the monks take turns nodding off. There’s no sense fighting it, drowsiness takes hold and you can only let go. Then it leaves you just as it came (until the next time). But this hinders nothing of the mechanics of the drupcho that irresistibly unfolds.

From my vantage point: the Karmapa to the left,
in front (of three backs)
the chanting master and the instruments.
I don’t miss a thing. 

I don’t know who is responsible for organizing the seating in the temple, but they had the goodness of placing me across from the Karmapa and just next to tulku Zangpo, the last reincarnation recognized by Shamar Rinpoché. He is of unparalleled graciousness and unquestionable equanimity. He explained to Drakpa that he tries to consider every being as his own mother. And it feels like it. His monastery is in Sikkim, he will go there in a few years when he completes his studies. In the mean time, there is a lama in place in the monastery and who, he says, runs in every direction to maintain the place.

In the middle, across from us, Zangpo tulku.

At the end of a break, waiting for the opening of the temple.
In fact, with the exception of a few teachers who seem to reside there permanently, the monks come from elsewhere, and count on returning. One monk explained to me that he comes from a monastery in Nepal, about six hours from Katmandou, “Where, there at least, there is a view on the mountains and the air is pure. It’s a nice area. Here, we just see hillsides. » he says with a smile.

After a few days of observation, I can see just how well the mechanics of this community work. It is a curious mix of hierarchy and equality: the roles are well distributed and each one has his place, yes, but everyone wears the same robe, that of Buddha. This is what cements the group: the shared ethic (as Jigmé Rinpoché said to someone who wanted to go and study at the shedra: if you go live there, you will have all the conditions to become a good monk). Apart from the ethic, discipline is assumed by all (even the 50 rupee fine when you miss a course). And at the same time, we can work out the stakes between them, as in any human community. Kalzang Puntso explained to me that if we can manage 60 or even 70% benefit, we have to assume the 30 or 40% that is not clear and work with it. That reminds me of Jigme Rinpoche: “Since we cannot be perfect, we need to be more beneficial than harmful.” That is what keeps the force and the stability of the structure.

Offering plates of the tsok

In speaking with Peïo (the author of a tea which India holds the secret), we come to the conclusion that the response to our difficulties, whether it be in Asia or in the West, is to cultivate again and again the understanding of the four fundamental thoughts. There is nothing like a good contemplation on death and impermanence to clear away our fascinations and be even more free; obviously to revisit cause and effect (karma) leads us to readjusting our choices; the reminder of what suffering is (as the Buddha explained it!) clarifies our objectives on a new day. These reflections give life to the Dharma in our daily lives. They are the practice in the beginning, the practice in the middle, and they accompany us to the end.

A group of Nepaleses come into the tent for meditation
during the lunch hour

Surrounding community members
of the shedra helping out in the kitchen

I promised a flowered gateway: here you go!

All of this is just so tiring!

Lama Puntso


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