Announcement of Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje's monastic
ordination (2000, april 07)
this day, the third day of the third month of the Iron Dragon
year according to the Tsurphu calendar (the seventh day of the
month of April in the year two-thousand), the principal holder
of the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Kyabdag Donkun Drubpa'i Mawa'i Kyuchog
Mipam Chokyi Gyalpo Trinley Thaye Dorje receives monastic ordination
from His Eminence Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche Ngawang Khyenrab Tubten
Legshe Gyamtso of the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism.
The monastic ordination in question is that of the Individual
Liberation tradition; such ordination is of utmost importance for
an individual who follows the Doctrine of Buddha Shakyamuni. According
to Buddha Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha of our era, whether
his Doctrine will be established in any world-system depends on
the three trainings in ethics, samadhi and higher knowledge, and
neither samadhi and nor higher knowledge can develop without the
upholding of ethics.
A Vinaya sutra says :
' Just as the root of a tree is most important for its growth
Just so, ethics are the very foundation for samadhi and higher knowledge'
Furthermore, the ethical vows in the tradition of Individual Liberation
are the foundation for both the Bodhisattva path and the Buddhist
Tantras. In his 'Torch of the Path to Buddhahood, the Enlightened
State', the Indian Buddhist master Atisha says, 'The vows of Individual
Liberation are indispensible as a basis for the Bodhisattva vows'.
Also, the Guhasamaya Tantra says, 'The outer aspect of the pratice
is to uphold the conduct of a Shravaka and the inner aspect of
the pratice includes the essential points of the two stages of
generating the Sambhogakaya and its union with the Dharmakaya'.
In Tibetan Buddhism today, there are two lineages of transmission
as to the vows of Individual Liberation. The first of these two
lineages was introduced to Tibet by the Indian Buddhist master
Shantarakshita, and the second lineage by the Kashmiri Buddhist
master Shakya Shri Bhadra. It is the second of these two that prevails
today in the Kagyu and Sakya schools; the majority of the previous
Karmapas took monastic ordination according to this lineage.
Today, the Khenpo in this lineage of transmission who confers
the vows upon the 17th Karmapa is Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche. He
has all the qualities necessary to such a Khenpo as listed in the
Vinaya scriptures. Two aspects are related to these qualities:
how one relies upon a spiritual master and one's learning in the
Vinaya sutras. And, as was just stated, Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche
excels in both categories. Also, he is the most senior holder of
the lineage in Tibetan Buddhism today. More than fifty years have
passed since he himself took this ordination and he has without
fail upheld these vows for that period of time. Thus, he is an
equal to the sixteen Elders, the Arhats who were disciples of Buddha
Shakyamuni who stated that to keep the vows pure for a period of
forty years makes a practitioner the equal of any of the sixteen
Arhats. Therefore, Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche is unparallelled as
the Khenpo confering this monastic ordination.
The ordination is given at the Kundrol Ling Monastery, Auvergne,
France, a site that has been blessed by the previous Karmapa Rangjung
Rigpei Dorje and the present Kunzig Sharmapa Mipam Chokyi Lodro
as well as the Buddhist master Gendun Rinpoche who lived and taught
at the Monastery for approximately two decades.
The day of the ordination, according to the astrological calculations
of the Kalachakra Tantra, should be an auspicious day in the very
beginning of a new year, and the appropriate month is the month
that Buddha Shakyamuni taught the Kalachakra Tantra in Drepung
in the south of today's India. In particular, it should be the
birthday of the second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi.
This occasion will establish the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa as a great
holder of the Vinaya, the same Vinaya that Buddha Shakyamuni appointed
as his rule in our world-system.
Furthermore, on this occasion, we, the followers of the Karmapa,
offer our prayers for the long life of Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche
and the Gyalwa Karmapa as well as all other masters. We also, at
this auspicious event, pray that the Buddha's Doctrine may remain
pure for generations to come, that all peoples of the world may
come to enjoy peace and prosperity and attain Buddhahood, the enlightened
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