April 20-22, 2022
On Day 12 of the teachings on the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje's Autobiographical Verses, the Karmapa announced a three-day ritual to conclude the teachings.
He explained that it would be for the sake of the pacification of war and for all those who had passed away. He particularly mentioned the ongoing war in Ukraine and the danger that this war could escalate into an even greater conflict. He also mentioned the mysterious plane crash in Tibet of China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 from Kunming to Guangzhou which plummeted out of the sky, killing everyone on board.
The Akshobhya sadhana itself was webcast so that people worldwide could join in. Preceding each puja, His Holiness held a private ZOOM session with the nunneries and monasteries in order to give the nuns and monks full instructions for the ritual.
“Akshobhya” —Mitrukpa in Tibetan—is Sanskrit for the Unshakeable. During the ZOOM sessions, the Karmapa recounted the story of how the Buddha Akshobhya earned his name because of the great aspirations he made at the time when he first aroused bodhichitta. According to the tradition, Akshobhya was originally a devout practitioner, a fully-ordained monk who asked the Buddha Big-Eyes which practice or quality was indispensable for the path to enlightenment. The Buddha replied unequivocally that the most important quality was unassailable patience, the capacity to remain undisturbed by negative emotions such as anger and aggression. Without hesitation, in the presence of the Buddha and in front of the sangha, the monk immediately vowed, “From today onwards, until I attain buddhahood, I will not hold any intention of anger or aggression towards any sentient being, no matter who they are.” Those present felt a great sense of awe and appreciation of the steadfastness of this bodhisattva, and even the Buddha Big-Eyes praised him, declaring, “You have a very stable mind…and from this time onwards, you shall be known as Akshobhya. From now until you attain buddhahood your commitment not to express aggression towards any sentient being will not decline…and after you attain buddhahood, you will also be Akshobhya.” This is the reason he was named Akshobhya, the Unshakeable One.
His Holiness further explained the importance of the Akshobhya practice which is viewed as the supreme method for purifying karmic obscurations, the obscurations created by our actions. The main cause of negative actions is negative motivation, the product of untamed states of mind which are not peaceful. When our mind is governed by these types of motivation our outer conduct becomes harmful and coarse. This effect is very evident nowadays when violent conflict has become more evident. The root cause is the motivation of human beings whose minds are disturbed by anger and hatred.
In the other two sessions, His Holiness went into great detail over the specific mudras for the Akshobhya practice, ensuring that the monks and nuns knew how to form them properly, and gave in-depth instructions on the main parts of the practice.
མི་འཁྲུགས་པའི་ཆོ་ག ། / A Ritual of Protector Akshobhya / 不動佛儀軌 • Day 3
མི་འཁྲུགས་པའི་ཆོ་ག ། / A Ritual of Protector Akshobhya / 不動佛儀軌 • Day 2