H.H. Karmapa’s NY Advice

Gyalwang Karmapa‘s Chinese Speech on Wuhan Coronavirus on the First Day of New Year 2020 (audio transcription):

Today is the first day of the new year and the beginning of a new round of twelve years. First of all, I wish everyone a happy New Year! Tashi Delek!
The spring festival is supposed to be a festival for family reunion and friend gatherings, and to be full of joy and auspiciousness. However, this year we are facing a rather severe situation and challenge, that is, the problem of the new type pneumonia. People are panic in many places. Although I have been far away and in solitary retreat, due to the current special situation, my mind is very much concerned and thinking about your health and emotions. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity on the first day of the new year to say a few words, in the hope to bring you some encouragement, support and help.

Buddha has taught us repeatedly that: Human life is very precious and hard to obtain. Therefore, we are extremely fortunate. However, at the same time, life is like a water bubble, very fragile and easy to burst. So we must cherish it and grasp it well. Moreover, most importantly, we must apply this precious and short life to do meaningful things and not waste it. Therefore, when we are now in the situation of the epidemic still being spreading, we should have a good understanding and think about the value and fragility of human life, and sincerely feel the depth and warmth of life. In this way, we may cherish more of what we have now, no matter it is our own life, or that of our family and friends. To sincerely feel the nature of life which is impermanent, fleeting yet full of opportunities and hopes, of this kind of state.

Apart from impermanence, the concept of cause and effect can be said to be the foundation of Buddhism. For example, for the current epidemic situation, if we cannot find the cause of the disease or the exact route of transmission, it may be difficult for us to thoroughly prevent and cure it, and the situation will become very difficult to control. However, when the disease initially appeared, we probably didn’t speculate about what would happen afterwards or about its possible severe consequences. In fact, we were very ignorant of what would be happening soon. Therefore, due to the previous move, the previous choice, now we feel and experience its consequences, which is the natural development of cause and effect. However, people nowadays usually care more about what is happening in front of their eyes, just giving it a simple thought with their heads. But what seems like a good choice or situation now may actually have huge problems and crises hidden in it. Therefore, in Buddhism, we say to think with “heart”, not only with “brain”, rather, it is a state of being prepared through experience and feel. For example, a person grows up in a very cold place. When the global climate becomes warmer and the place where he lives becomes hotter, he feels it is a good thing and thinks that finally it is warm. However, the reality might be too dire to imagine and a sign of impending disaster. Therefore, there is a saying: Bodhisattvas fear the causes and ordinary beings fear the results. Before doing everything, we should think about why we are doing it and think twice. This is very important.
Although our current life seems to be getting further and further away from nature, in fact, at all times, we are closely related to nature. Nature has nurtured us and given us everything we need. We should also take care of, cherish and give back to nature. This is a cycle. Think carefully, nature is not only trees, mountains and rivers, flowers and plants, but also includes various animals. It can be said to be everything. As big as the universe and as small as a bug. Therefore, we should treat every tree, every small animal, even the mountains and rivers with honor, respect and love all the time. Because none of us, or anything, is outside the nature. Therefore, at anytime and anywhere, we must have the awareness of nature and the environment. We should have a profound understanding that any way of treating animals or treating nature will have its corresponding consequences.

Anyway, today we are faced with such a dangerous and severe situation, which we should face and solve it together, and don’t feel afraid or panic. Nowadays the communication is very convenient. We receive a lot of information, news and messages every day, which is easily distracting and makes people feel nervous and flustered. Therefore, at this time, we must be clear-minded and remain calm. At a critical moment, a small decision can also be related to the security of life. However, I believe that with our joint efforts, we will be able to overcome the difficulties together, and the illness will be under control and resolved soon.

This time I have published a new translation of “The Wish to Eliminate Disease and Disaster”, called “Sakya Healing of Disease”. The author of this prayer is a famous great accomplished master in Tibet in the 14th century, named Thangdong Gyalpo. In fact, this prayer is very popular in Tibet. Whenever there are plagues of various sizes, people will recite it. However, it is very rare in China, so I hope this translation can be helpful and bring you some encouragement and courage. Of course, you can also chant some familiar practices such as the heart mantras of Akshobya Buddha, Chenrezig etc. In a word, I hope that not only can we encourage each other, but we should also have confidence in ourselves and cheer ourselves up. United as one, I believe we will be able to overcome the difficulties soon.
Anyway, in the new year, I wish everyone healthy and happy, everything goes well and have an auspicious Rat year. Thank you all!

The Vajra[1] Speech of the Mahasiddha Thang Tong Gyälpo:
The Prayer Liberating Sakya from Disease
Translated and edited by
Bhikshu Thubten Tsültrim (George Churinoff)

All sentient beings, equal to space, go for refuge to the precious guru-buddha. We go for refuge to
[,23] the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
We go for refuge to the assembly of gurus, meditational deities, and dakinis. We go for refuge to the empty clarity of our own minds, the dharmakaya.
Recite these verses as many times as you are able.
Recite this mantra hundreds of times, as many as you are able.
May all the diseases that sadden the minds of sentient beings that result from karma and temporary conditions, such as the harms of spirits, illnesses, and the elements, not occur in the realms of the world.
May whatever sufferings there are from life-threatening diseases that, like a butcher leading a being to be slaughtered, separate the body from the mind in a mere instant, not occur in the realms of the world.
May all embodied beings be unharmed by acute, chronic, and other infectious diseases, the mere
sound of whose names terrifies beings, as though they had been placed inside the mouth of Yama, the Lord of Death.
May all embodied beings be unharmed by the 80,000 classes of harmful interferers, the 360 evil
spirits [6] that harm suddenly, the 424 diseases, and so forth.
May whatever sufferings there are due to disturbances of the four elements, depriving the body and mind of every pleasure, be totally pacified, and may the body and mind have radiance and power and be endowed with long life, good health, and well-being.
By the compassion of the gurus and the Triple Gem, by the power of the dakinis, Dharma protectors, and guardians, and by the strength of the infallibility of karma and its results, may these many dedications and prayers be fulfilled as soon as they are made.

Once an epidemic was spreading from one person to another at the great monastery of the Glorious Sakya (tradition). Whatever the mantric masters tried – effigies, tormas medicines, mantras, protection-amulets, and so forth – had no effect, and the monastery was in danger of annihilation. At that time, the master
[7, 8]
Mahasiddha (T’ang Tong Gyälpo) performed the ‘Space’ refuge , recited a number of Manis , and proclaimed
this prayer called ‘Attainment,’ during which the entire epidemic immediately ceased in dependence upon its performance. Thereby, it became renowned as the vajra speech radiating masses of clouds of blessing entitled ‘The Prayer Liberating Sakya from Disease.’
Sarvamangalam [9]

1 The vajra (Tib: rdo-rje) is a symbol of immutability, the unchanging union of wisdom and method.
2 The guru (Tib: bla-ma) is the spiritual guide who in esoteric practice is understood to be an emanation of the Buddha and directs our practice. The Buddha is a fully enlightened being and represents our ultimate potential of spiritual growth and healing. The Dharma is that which protects us from suffering – the spiritual teachings and their realization in practice. The Sangha is the spiritual community who, through example and guidance, help us practice Dharma. Thus, the Three Jewels of Refuge – Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha – are the spiritual equivalents of doctor, medicine and nurse.
3 This form of “going for refuge” was given by Arya Avalokitesvara to Ka nga pa Päljor Sherab, and by him to the Mahasiddha Thang Tong Gyälpo. Afterwards, it provided infinite benefits for migrating beings. (Note: dka-lnga-pa is Tibetan for a person who has mastered the five (lnga) difficult (dka) teachings: the perfection of wisdom (prajña-paramita), the middle way philosophy (madhyamaka), higher knowledge (abhidharma), epistemology (pramana), and discipline (vinaya).)
4 Acute infectious diseases affect the patient for a short time, whereas chronic diseases last for months or years. Many types of infectious disease are mentioned in certain prayers to the tantric deity White Parasol (Tib: sDugs-dkar, Skt: Sitatapatra).
5 In general, harmful interferers (Tib: bgegs; Skt: vighna) are sentient beings, but they may also be events, such as famines.
6 Evil spirits (Tib: ye-’drog) are non-humans who interrupt virtuous practice and connect one with what is unwanted. The term is synonymous with demon (Tib: gdön; Skt: graha).
7 Tib: Nam-mka’-mai skyab-’dro, so-called because the verse has the words “equal to space.” 8 Short for the mantra OM MANI PÄDME HUM.
9 Sanskrit for “May all be auspicious!”

[Source: Karmpa KTD Facebook posts, for Tibetan or Chinese language version, please referred to Karmapa KTD Facebook page]

Download HERE a PDF copy of the The Verses that Saved Sakya from Sickness: A Prayer for Pacifying the Fear of Disease by Thangtong Gyalpo