“Sooner or later, once you have taken the Bodhisattva vow, you WILL achieve Buddhahood,” assured Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche on the opening night of the Bodhisattva vows weekend at KTD, June 15-17. 2012. “It is the single and only path of all the Buddhas — past, present and future.”
It was a truly magical weekend at the monastery. More than 60 people took the vows, including 11 monastics, some of whom had never received a Bodhisattva name before. People traveled from Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Colorado in order to receive the vow directly from a great realized master and true Bodhisattva. One man took a 36-hour bus ride from Omaha, then turned around and caught a bus home.
Rinpoche was clearly delighted at the turnout, and gave an inspired teaching from his heart on Friday night. We didn’t even open with the Mahamudra Lineage prayer. Rinpoche was on fire, and we soon found out why. Long ago, His Holiness the 16th Karmapa had asked him to “please create the circumstances that will allow you to give the Bodhisattva vow, both the lineage of the profound view, and the lineage of the extensive deeds.”
For the very first time at KTD, Rinpoche was giving the Bodhisattva vow in its fullest form, according to the lineage of the profound view. The instructions were detailed and complete, and the vow took part in several stages over two days. Rinpoche was at his most brilliant and best, and so was his translator, Lama Yeshe Gyamtso.
Our precious human birth is what has given us the opportunity to aspire to become Bodhisattvas, Rinpoche told us. “Be delighted. Be confident. Be enthusiastic. But to have received this opportunity is not enough,” he said. ” You have to make use of it by practicing, by taking and keeping the Bodhisattva vow.
After he gave us the vow in morning session on Sunday, Rinpoche began to walk away from his chair, then stopped to express what was in his heart. He spoke to us in English — a rare event, indeed! “I very old. Many years no die. The translator, thank you. Today many new sons and daughters.” Then he patted his heart. “Very happy.”
That afternoon he expanded his remarks through the translator, as the weekend reached an end. “I feel that I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to offer the Bodhisattva Vow in its fullest form. I’ve been able to produce many sons and daughters, and to create the circumstances for you to achieve Buddhahood. You are making a connection with all the Kagyu masters, and you are all under the care of His Holiness. I’m inspired by our ability to accomplish this, and I hope to give this vow every year, and for many years to come.”
We hope so, too, dear teacher. Your sons and daughters wish you happy father’s day.
— Anitra Brown