From 23 November to 11 December the Gyalwang Karmapa taught daily during the annual winter Kagyu Gunchoe Debates at Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya. Over this three-week period he offered the reading transmission and teachings on a text by the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje, called One Hundred Short Instructions (Tri-thung Gyatsa). “I like this text very much,” he commented on the first day of the teachings, adding that in Tibet he used to read it aloud to others as a hobby or to pass the time.
The Gyalwang Karmapa taught primarily to an audience of Khenpos and monks participating in the winter debates, however, simultaneous translations into English and Chinese were offered, and many international students also attended. The number of international students grew day by day, until the gompa quickly reached capacity.
The Eighth Karmapa’s text One Hundred Short Instructions is divided into chapters covering a broad range of topics, arranged according to the path the dharma practitioner traverses. Commencing with the ‘Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind Towards the Dharma’, the Gyalwang Karmapa emphasized the preciousness of our human life, as well as the need for renunciation from worldly concerns.
“If we are dharma practitioners then our priority should be to practice the dharma first and worldly activities second, and not the other way around,” he said. “Practice of dharma and pursuing worldly life cannot go together: one person cannot be a householder and an ordained renunciate at the same time; one person cannot accomplish the goals of the lower realms and liberation at the same time; one person cannot ride two horses at the same time. One cannot walk with one foot stepping forward and the other backward.” Gyalwang Karmapa added, “Many international students complain of their agony that though they want to practice the dharma, they have no time.” Over the following days, returning again to the theme of renunciation, the Gyalwang Karmapa continued, “The goal of our renunciation should be to commit to what is beneficial for beings, and to what serves the cause of the dharma.”
During the three-week period the teachings continued through a range of topics as the Gyalwang Karmapa paid attention to particular chapters of the text. As the days progressed, he returned again and again to the theme of relying on an authentic, genuine guru. “When the student matches the teacher there is no need to hesitate; the relationship is very clear and very direct,” he said. “You should feel that if it’s enough to please the Lama then that is enough for yourself. Sometimes people wonder, why is it so important to please the Lama? When we talk of pleasing the Lama it’s not a question of just pleasing a single Lama. If we please an authentic, genuine Lama, that is the same as accomplishing the dharma.