Importance of the Monastery
His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa

THE FIRST KARMA KAGYU monastery to be established in the United States of America is going to be here in Woodstock. In doing divinations and making supplications to the Three Jewels, all indications seemed to be that this must be the place, the most auspicious and appropriate place for the construction of the monastery. Actually, the concern of the divination, and my concern, is not just having a building erected, but whether this would contribute to the peace and harmony of the people of this country. And it seems to look very positive. If, through the establishment of this monastery, the preservation and the flourishing the wisdom of this ageless tradition could be accomplished, it would be very good. I feel that is workable, and this gives the inspiration the courage that this must be done, and done as soon as possible. I wish to request your sincere and wholehearted effort, working together, in plans and projects, to bring this about.

The purpose of this project, and the vision behind this project is not for the sake of any fame or popularity or personal reputation. The people of this country definitely need Mahayana teachings to be available to them. When it flourishes, it will bring peace to the country, and ultimately, enlightenment to its people. That is the path. There is no other. In order to establish this firmly as a reality, there is need of a base. The base, the essential source for the continuous study of the Mahayana teachings is this project. Peace and harmony are absolutely necessary for the people of this country and for people everywhere. Before people are able to take responsibility and realize the importance of such, we as pioneers must establish the base, so that no matter how long it takes for people to connect themselves and realize the importance of the application of the Dharma in their lives, it will be maintained and preserved.

We must all have the same aspirations and the same attitude that our work is done in order to help and benefit all beings, and that our concern is for the betterment of humanity everywhere. Our goal is to bring peace, harmony and upliftment, and the experience of the enlightened mind to the people of this country in particular. This is our vision and this is our project. The hope is that we will succeed in this project. That we will all be able to contribute so successfully that even if we are gone, that still for hundreds of years what we have put together will continue to live and manifest for the benefit of all.

Another important point is that we are not going to play politics in the name of the Dharma. That is a disgrace to the Dharma in terms of its dignity and in terms of the purity of the Dharma. My only concern is to benefit beings through the purity of the Dharma. Anyone who is of this mind, I will commit myself fully to them. But if all kinds of politics are involved there are other places where I need to be.

In Tibetan Buddhism there are four major schools: the Gelug, Kagyu, Nyingma and Sakya. The teachings being those of the Buddha, these schools are exactly the same, though practiced in different styles out of convenience and because of a particular approach. It is important to remember that whatever school or line of practice with which one is involved, one works toward the flourishing of that practice, for upliftment through that practice, and for the maintenance of teachings in a correct way both internally and externally. At the same time it is important to extend our openness, respect and our friendship among all schools. In the Kagyu school itself, right now, there are three major centers under the direction of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Trungpa Rinpoche and Kalu Rinpoche, which are under the overall direction of the Karmapa, being part of the Kagyu lineage. In these cases, there is no difference. There may be teachings manifested in different ways, but actually the teachings manifested are the same. Everyone needs to have this understanding, that there is really no difference whatsoever. It is exactly the same, and this is not being said just in order to have a better relationship, but because this is the true situation. Holding one attitude inside and having some different attitude outside is not the way of the Dharma. This is wearing the mask of the Dharma. And so, wholeheartedly and purely we will work together, for our concern is benefiting beings.

Be it your money, be it your effort, whatever is offered, if it is offered sincerely and wholeheartedly for the Dharma it is never a waste.

Excerpts taken from the minutes of the Board of Directors meeting at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, July 28, 1980.


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