His Holiness Thaye Dorje, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, has himself chosen the themes of the teachings he will give at Alpexpo in Grenoble. Before detailing the program, we wish to emphasize two main characteristics of Karmapa’s dharma teachings.
Simplicity: Karmapa expresses the depth of the Buddha's teachings in a very accessible way, using examples that are relevant to everyone. The teachings can equally appeal to people who are new to Buddhism and to experienced practitioners, each receiving the teachings at their own level. He also uses a simple language, that does not require previous philosophical or Buddhist knowledge.
Depth: Karmapa invites us to discover and explore the richness of the Buddha's teachings in our daily lives, so that any single deed, word, or thought takes on a particular meaning. It is an invitation to give a real, intimate and lively meaning to everything we do or go through in life, and to realize our enlightened nature. For Karmapa: "The only difference between you and me is that I know that you are Buddhas."
Fully proficient in English, Karmapa will be translated into French by Tulku Trinlay Rinpoche, his usual and highly experienced translator. Teachings will all take place at Alpexpo in Grenoble, from 10:00 to 12:00 am and from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.
On the days when the schedule is not overrun (by initiations or vows), pujas might be performed between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. Do not forget your texts (Chenrezig, Mahakala, Milarepa…)!
The conferences are Buddhists teachings targeting all types of public.
HH Karmapa will explain how we can free ourselves from suffering by taking refuge in the Buddha, in His teachings (Dharma) and in those who pass them on (Sangha). How can these Three Jewels inspire and protect us on a daily basis, both as an “external” presence and as an inner wealth that we can learn to develop?
"This inner wealth is vast, with all of the understanding that we will ever need. There are many ways that we can access or reveal this inner wealth: through meditation, contemplation, or simply trying to breathe and calm the mind."
At the end of the day, Karmapa will give refuge (commitment to the Buddhist path) to those who wish to take it.
The way of the bodhisattvas is fundamental if you want to walk the path to enlightenment: it consists in developing love and compassion towards all sentient beings. These qualities, in turn, foster wisdom, which perceives the fundamental nature of all things.
For HH Karmapa: "Compassion is our inherent nature and a quality of our minds. It simultaneously aims towards the true happiness that is inherent in all of us and it wishes to end confusion for everyone, thus enabling a correct understanding about the world and its beings. Through a very natural outflow of compassion, we give substantial meaning to life."
In the afternoon, Karmapa will confer the bodhisattva vows to those who desire to take them. It is required to have already taken the vows of refuge (commitment to the Buddhist path). They will be conferred beforehand.
HH Karmapa will give the profound instructions on the Preliminary Practices (ngeundro), which constitute the basis of the Buddha's teachings. Thanks to the skillful means of Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayana), they enable us to swiftly travel the spiritual path.
1) Through methodical and recurrent reflection, we can find a new meaning to our life, understanding intimately the precious value of the human existence.
2) By penetrating the deep meaning of impermanence and death, we become aware of the changing nature of all things.
3) The law of causality, or the karmic law, makes us understand how our thoughts, words and deeds condition our lives and how to change the course of things.
4) Reflection on the unsatisfactory nature of samsaric life allows us to free ourselves from suffering and illusion, to progress towards enlightenment.
Based on this understanding, we can then start accumulating practices that mark the commitment to the path of awakening (refuge), the purification of veils and negativities (Dorje Sempa), spiritual development (mandala offering) and understanding the nature of the mind (guru yoga).
Morning: Teaching given by Trinlay Rinpoche
Afternoon: Initiation of Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion
Compassion is inseparable from wisdom and inherent to our nature, the same way that a seed carries the potential of a plant. To help us connect with and develop this profound compassionate nature, HH Karmapa will give the initiation or empowerment of Chenrezig, an aspect that symbolizes compassion in Vajrayana Buddhism. HH Karmapa will explain the practice and confer the vows of refuge (commitment to the Buddhist path) necessary to participate in the initiation. (This afternoon may overrun the schedule).
"Since this quality of compassion is inherent, we don’t have to look anywhere else to find it. Wherever there is a consciousness, there is a seed of compassion. It is the same for wisdom. Wherever there is a consciousness, there is a seed of wisdom, too. Compassion is inseparable from wisdom.” HH Thaye Dorje, the 17th Karmapa.
Morning: Teaching given by Trinlay Rinpoche
Afternoon: Initiation of Amitayus, the Buddha of Long Life
HH Karmapa also decided to give the initiation of Amitayus. When we understand the preciousness of our existence and how meaningful it can be, it is important to live as long as possible. The initiation of Amitayus establishes the best conditions for a longer life.
HH Karmapa will explain the practice and confer the vows of refuge (commitment to the Buddhist path) necessary to participate in the initiation. (This afternoon may overrun the schedule)
Morning: Teaching on the Spiritual master
Traveling on the spiritual path requires that we follow the advice of a very experienced guide, who has traveled the path extensively. He or she is a spiritual friend, mentor, or teacher, who warns about the pitfalls on the way and explains the skillful means to swiftly travel the path to enlightenment. HH Karmapa will explain the master-to-disciple relationship, most notably illustrated by the yogi Milarepa, one of the founders of the Kagyu lineage, the most inspiring of the great Tibetan yogis.
Afternoon: Milarepa practice
To conclude these five days of teachings, HH Karmapa will carry out the practice of Milarepa. Thanks to the practice powerful means, we will receive the spiritual influence and inspiration not only of Milarepa but of the entire Kagyu lineage. We will share a feast-offering (tsok), with food that symbolizes the wisdom that confers the blessings.
August 16th will be a private day, reserved by HH Karmapa to visit Montchardon retreat centre. The Centre of Montchardon will therefore be strictly closed on August 16th and 17th, no visit will be allowed. Thank you for your understanding.