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HH Karmapa Teaches On Meditation

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The 17th Karmapa teaches meditation, warns against commercialization and answers questions about meditation practice.

The 17th Karmapa gives a teaching on meditation at Karma Thegsum Choling dharma center in New Jersey.

His Holiness the 17th Karmapa gave a teaching on meditation — the first on his current U.S. tour — on April 4 at Karma Thegsum Chöling (KTC-NJ), a dharma center in southern New Jersey. Addressing over 700 people, the Karmapa spoke about meditation and commonly held misperceptions about it.

Reflecting on his experiences at the beginning of the tour, HHK remarked that while visiting the headquarters of Google and Facebook he saw that the companies were creating spaces for their employees to meditate and were emphasizing mindfulness in the workplace. “It is excellent that everyone has the opportunity to practice meditation,” he said. However, while commending their efforts, he struck a strong cautionary note.

“Given that meditation must by its very nature be a personal, individual thing that each person experiences in their own way, based on their own needs and dispositions, based on their own investigation, I think it must never be commercialized or used for commercial purposes.”

He returned to this theme later, pointing to the way yoga is sometimes marketed as a form of physical exercise, although traditionally it is a highly rigorous form of spiritual training. “Nowadays many people are interested in Buddhism and especially meditation. But they think of meditation as some kind of spiritual therapy, like spiritual massage. They hope that by practicing meditation they will be able to reduce the stress and pressure that they feel in their busy lives and relax. This is fine, but it is not a complete practice of meditation as taught in Buddhism. That requires a more exclusive or intensive training.”

At the end of his talk, His Holiness answered questions from the audience on a range of topics from ngondro practice to depression to the use of modern technology and mindfulness. Read the full article

At the same venue the following day, HH Karmapa led a group from the dharma center in shamatha meditation, answered questions about meditation practice and then conferred an empowerment for Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom. A separate article includes the Karmapa’s meditation instructions and practice. Read the article on meditation