Transcript of HH the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa’s Saga Dawa (Vishaka Day) talk

Since many people could not access his Holiness's talk online on May 28, 2010. Thanks to Louisa Gluck, here is a transcript.

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Since 2500 yrs. ago Buddha’s teachings still exist; tonight I’ll be speaking about dharma as taught by the buddha

Not only the buddha dharma but all the great religions of this world and other spiritual traditions have been a great help to lots of people to bring happiness and peace to their minds and to this world and to live harmoniously in this society.

Especially the buddha dharma is based on the understanding of interdependence and compassion being the root of these teachings. Not being just philosophy but it has been something that helps to bring humans together with other sentient beings too.

So when we talk about interdependence, we humans in order to survive depend on water, breathing, food, dress and basic needs which are also dependent on many things. This doesn’t come as soon as we are born. We don’t get them without an effort. We need positive relationships, and conditions that are right. Good conditions and aspects depends on many things; therefore humans have to depend on other things, interdependence is not without effort, or causes and conditions: Cycles of causes and conditions, karma, or interdependence. The main understanding is, that we survive by depending on other things. Based on this, Buddha Shakyamuni taught the view.

Humans have the capacity to know what to accept and what to get rid of. Those things that we need to depend on, we have a system of understanding what to do and not do. But not broadly, lots of things are not included in that system of what to do and what not to do. Animals are being killed, we don’t understand what is best to do about that; or with the environment around us, also because the system doesn’t include this.

Our understanding is based only on our own personal experience. When we feel pain, then we understand what to do, but its based on self-centeredness. its important we need to try to bring this understanding to a broader circle. Therefore if you can do that, we can bring this benefit of knowing what is right or wrong to other sentient beings on this earth, to the whole universe.

When we talk about moral ethics, we’re talking about responsibility that we carry and feel ourselves. not just as philosophy but that we are able to place us in others place, as if it is our own feeling. Especially loving kindness and compassion. It`s like that: I don’t want to experience suffering or pain, i want to feel happiness and bliss, and everyone else feels like that too. But when these things are happening to other people we don’t feel it as well. What we try to experience with loving kindness and compassion is to experience others as if they were ourselves.

Others have pain, we experience it as if it is happening to ourselves so we can understand their lives and generate loving kindness within ourselves.

People when they think that we should be concerned about the happiness and unhappiness of other people. sometimes they see it as difficult. they see that suffering is the final thing, the result, at the end. We should not see suffering or pain as final answer but as a question. For instance, we have some problems, a new situation, not that we should just feel hopeless, this is it, nothing to do. We can take it as a new thing, alternative, and have new courage on how to find knowledge or different way of understanding and questioning it. These 2 different ways of looking at suffering are important to distinguish.

One sees suffering as final, the other sees how can i do something with my courage to overcome this— This concerns my own suffering as well as the suffering of others. Taking it as a test as to how to carry this understanding into our experience is important.

Many people think that happiness and satisfaction is something that has to come from getting rid of suffering, or big problems, and to get something big and satisfying and a great result or achievement, and only when we get that do we get happiness.

I feel thats not the case. we have to understand our true nature is our peace and happiness. To remain in that regular way of being is our happiness. We don’t have to get rid of big negative things to be happy. For instance, we breathe everyday, every moment. If we don’t breathe, we can’t live. What we breathe is oxygen. It’s not automatic. It’s happening because of causes and conditions and steps so we can breathe. breathing isn’t accidental, it comes from causes and conditions. That we can live is amazing. We have to feel happy that we can do that. In our lives, it’s not possible that we have no suffering and even if it is, then time will change and problems will come.

It’s possible we are suffering, and that will change too. It’s normal. What we have to understand is the way things are. In a more relaxed way, let ourselves calm down and feel more natural and satisfied with what we are.

Generally everything changes, but nature doesn’t change. Our happiness changes, unhappiness changes, but the nature of both doesn’t change. Important we rest in the way things as they are. For example, when you go to the office, and are in a traffic jam and are late: We can get angry and if we allow ourselves to be carried away by this emotion, we can create more suffering. But whether big or small situation, the situation is not the main thing. how much we focus on it, or react to it, in what way we react to that is the most important. It is important for everyone to bring peace to our minds, and that means let our mind be. Rest in what is. We don’t allow ourselves to be carried away by sudden emotion or reaction, but let our mind rest as it is. That’s the only way to bring happiness to our mind, there’s no other way.

Today is the full moon day of Saga Dawa, yesterday was too, so on this occasion I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have very patiently been able to listen to what I have to say, and especially I’d like to thank my friends in Europe. I should have been in Europe by now, but it didn’t happen as we planned. However my mind and my speech could arrive through this medium so therefore I’m happy. The full moon that is in space is enjoying everyone and I hope everyone in the world will be able to enjoy the loving kindness and compassion here. I express my grateful wishes and thanks to all of you.

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