His Holiness Karmapa Recalls How He Is An Emanation of The Buddha Akshobhya

From a Facebook post by my Dharma Grandma, Amrita Nadi:

11205981_10152866066967634_7852533430547750060_n“After chanting the opening invocations of the empowerment, His Holiness began by commenting that he felt he might have a special karmic connection with the Buddha Akshobhya, and in fact, successive Karmapa reincarnations have been seen as none other than Akshobhya himself. He explained that out of the five tantric Buddha families, most of the yidams of the great Kagyu forefathers have also been from the Akshobhya or vajra family.

11149301_10152866066417634_6264764962494135612_n“As a sign of this family affiliation, the uncommon crown of the Karmapa is the Black Crown of the vajra family,” His Holiness said. “Though we normally refer to the Karmapa’s crown as the Black Crown, really it is very dark blue. In the Vajrayana this color represents the dharmata, which is the unchanging nature of the mind of all buddhas.

“Buddhas possess what is called body secret, speech secret and mind secret. The mind secret is an utterly unchanging wisdom. In order to depict that we use the metaphor of the sky or space, and therefore the color dark blue is used to represent this wisdom. So the color of the Karmapa’s crown represents the unchanging dharmata.”

In the morning’s teaching, His Holiness had taught that even though we may go through the external rituals of practice such as putting an image of the deity in front of us, lighting incense and repeating some mantras, the essence of Akshobhya practice is the courage to overcome anger, and to develop an immovable stability of mind that is beyond agitation.

During the afternoon’s empowerment, the Karmapa emphasized that the significance of the Akshobhya empowerment and its related practice is too great to explain in just a few minutes. Though he teaches on the Akshobhya practice for one full month during the annual Akshobhya retreat in Bodhgaya, even this amount of time was not enough, he said.

“Strictly speaking,” the Karmapa said, “authentic empowerment is an introduction producing a recognition of the mind’s nature. But let’s consider this a transmission of blessing here today.”

As the empowerment ritual wound through its stages, His Holiness directly conferred the blessings on the crowns of a group of lamas led by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, who moved forward to represent all those in attendance.

By receiving the blessings of the body, speech, mind and activity of Akshobhya, those in attendance were empowered to practice the non-dual and immovable mind of Akshobhya, free from the stains of anger and other kleshas….

Next the Karmapa gave the reading transmission for the daily practice of Akshobhya, before offering his heartfelt aspirations that the lives of each and every person be happy and the whole world be filled with goodness.”

Karmapa Chenno!

Mahakala: The Great Black One

mahakala_th46The legendary history of Mahakala was written by Khedrup Khyungpopa, founder of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition, in the eleventh century. He says that the reason for the special powers and effectiveness of Mahakala goes back to Avalokiteshvara’s vow to remain in the mortal world and not reach Buddhahood until all sentient beings were enlightened. After helping hundreds of thousands of people for countless years to reach enlightenment, Avalokiteshvara saw no decrease in suffering, but rather an increase in defilements. He then became discouraged. As soon as he had that thought, his head immediately split into a thousand pieces. Amitabha, one of the five transcendent Buddhas, put the pieces back together and made eleven heads, telling Avalokiteshvara to make the same promise again but to keep it better. Accordingly out of Avalokiteshvara’s eleven faces, ten are peaceful, but one is wrathful, representing Mahakala.

Avalokiteshvara, saddened, fell unconscious for seven days, after which he thought that the world’s suffering souls needed results in a hurry without excessive effort. He then wished to turn himself into a wrathful deity in order to defeat more rapidly and effectively the obstacles to the happiness of others. With this thought the letter HUM in dark blue color came out of his heart. That Hum became Mahakala. It is not without significance that in the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, the syllable Hum invokes energetic powers.

The birth of Mahakala was followed by an earthquake and with one voice the Buddhas in the heaven declared that he would have the power to grant all wishes if the wishes were honest and good.

Mahakala was the personal tutelary deity for the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan. His terrifying imagery ultimately derives from the angry form of the Hindu god Shiva, known as Bhairava. In Tibetan iconography he typically has one head with three bulging eyes. His eyebrows are like small flames, and his beard is made of hook-like shapes. He can have two to six arms.

The essential nature of Mahakala in the Tibetan pantheon can be gauged from the fact that he is worshipped as the Protector of the tent. Because of the nomadic nature of the Tibetan people, much of their life is spent in arduous and hazardous travel, complicated by the generally hostile environment they live in. During their sojourns, they use the Tent as a temporary abode, making it a very important part of their lives. He is also unquestionably the most vital Dharampala, since every monastery, no matter what the order, has a shrine devoted to this deity.

Source: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/wrathful.htm

Karmapa’s Wisdom on Visualization

His Holiness The 17th Karmapa spoke of how when we express devotion to a visualization or painting of a deity, that deity is not external to us; we are honoring that deity within our own heart.

The wisdom of Manjushri, the compassion of Chenrezig, the protection of Mahakala, the Love of Tara are all qualities of our own being.

11133800_10152829309812634_214562115081789784_nAs we go to Tara, our Mother tonight, as we climb upon Her lap, and let Her Arms hold us as we sleep, we know that love, that protection is coming from our own hearts.

Then when we rise in the morning, we are able to hold other beings in that same spacious embrace of Her great Wisdom and Compassion.

Karmapa Chenno!
Om Tare Tutare Ture Soha!

Source: from my good friend Amrita Nadi on her Facebook page.