Saturday 13 January 2018.
Dear Dharma friends,
I want to explain a little bit what Kagyu Monlam means as actually people sometimes don’t know. It is Tibetan language and everyone is saying it, but not many people actually know what the words really mean, its’ contents.
Some people might already know this in which case there is no harm, and for some that don’t know, my explanation will be helpful.
Intelligent people might think my explanation is not good enough, but these are my own simple terms and words. Some people on my level may find it helpful.
First the Tibetan word KAGYU :
KA means Oral
GYU means Lineage
This Lineage came from India to Tibet. In Tibet there are 4 Lineages. First was the Nyingma Lineage – this is the oldest. The second is the Kagyu Lineage, the third is the Sakya Lineage and the fourth is the Gelugpa Lineage generally speaking.
Kagyu – the Oral Lineage - has more emphasis on practice, indeed sometimes it is called
DRUP means practice and GYU means Lineage.
MONLAM : is also Tibetan language
MON means Wishing
LAM means Path
MONLAM means the Path of Wishing.
We wish or I wish or you wish is the definition of MON.
LAM is the method or PATH that allows us to accomplish these wishes.
For ordinary people wishes can have a limited view because of limited compassion and wisdom. Sometimes our wishes can be selfish and narrow minded.
Therefore it is important for us to use the great wishes of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas – these have the most power. Secondly we can use the wishes of those who have great realisation such as the Mahasiddhas, these also have power. And thirdly we can use the wishes of scholars, poets and academics which have less power, because they think too much.
In 1983 the Very Venerable Khyabje Kalu Rinpoche decided to assemble a gathering at the special place of Buddha’s Enlightenment in Bodhgaya, and practice together the great Bodhisattva Samantabhadra’s prayer THE KING OF ASPIRATION 111,000 times.
From this the great gathering of Kagyu Monlam was born in India.
Originally this endeavour was organised by Kagyu Lamas, but it is not necessarily only for Kagyu practitioners ; Gelug, Sakya, Nyingma monks, nuns and lay people can participate.
What is the essence of the Monlam?
Because we have limited wisdom and compassion. we use the path of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas wishes. We are saying we also wish the same as what the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas wished for. Whatever is contained in Samantabhadra’s Prayer we have to understand it, mean it and say it from the bottom of our hearts.
For example within The King of Aspiration prayer it says :
Sentient beings extend as far as the limits of space.
May my Aspiration Prayers extend
As far as the limits of their Karma and Kleshas.
When we say this – if we mean it sincerely - it will have the same power and energy as the Bodhisattvas. This is what is meant by using the Path, and it is the right kind of Path.
For instance, we wish to be free of suffering and attain Enlightenment, that is our first wish.
If we are not able to attain Enlightenment, then the second wish is to be born with a precious human body and with conditions to be able to practice the Dharma. Our third wish is to be born in the human realm with good health, prosperity and suitable conditions. These are all called mundane wishes.
And mostly these are what we wish for, nobody wishes for Enlightenment.
However, in the right place with the right conditions and time, and with the right motivation then it is possible to have the right fruition.
We cannot say this time we are busy and we will wait for next year.
Next year is not in our hands and whether we are alive or not we don’t know.
Do it now!
Buddha says “Tomorrow or your next life, which is first? You never know.
Therefore it is better to prepare for your next life rather than tomorrow.”
In our modern society we have many toys that we play with, there are natural disasters all the time.
So this is true.
We never know.
Better to do something meaningful now for yourself and others.