The Kagyu tradition places particular emphasis on implementing the Teachings in meditation practice. Since centuries, drubkhangs – centres for three year retreats have been established by Kagyu monasteries. However, for the Dharma transmission to be complete, it is necessary to combine practice with studying the Teachings.
And so, His Holiness 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, when he found himself in emigration, had first built a retreat centre (drubkhang) by Rumtek monastery, and right afterwards he had expressed a wish that an institute for Buddhist studies (shedra) was developed nearby. After the passing of His Holiness into parinirvana, this wish was completed by His Eminence 3rd Jamgong Kongtrul Rinpoche. Among the alumni of the first class of Rumtek shedra was i.e. HE Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche.
Similarly, in Parping soon after the Benchen monastery drubkhang had started working, a shedra was built. It is looked after by His Eminence Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and in a few years – after nine years of intense studies – the first students will graduate from it. Later they will teach Dharma in monasteries and other Buddhist centres.
Also in our Karma Kamtsang community in Poland, owing to the efforts of many people, it was possible to build a meditation centre for traditional three year retreats in Grabnik, as well as create the conditions for completing longer and shorter individual retreats.
Therefore, now it is time to make it possible for those who want it, to systemically study classic Buddhist texts. This intent was blessed by His Holiness 17th Karmapa. In 2011, Lama Rinchen discussed this subject in more detail with HE Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche. Both of them agreed to support the project.
The course of teachings resembles non-resident studies. Intensive lectures, debates and examining take place once a month during a weekend in Grabnik. Students receive homework for the remaining part of the month. The studies are held in a semestral cycle for five years. Each semester ends with an exam.
First semester started in September 2012. We studied the basic work by Gampopa “The Jewel Ornament of Liberation”. Next was "Distinguishing Consciousness from Wisdom" (Namshe Yeshe Jepa) by the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, and "A Treatise on Buddha-nature" (Nyingpo Tenpa). The last text was "The Mahamudra Prayer" by the 3rd Karmapa according to the commentary by the 8th Tai Situ Rinpoche.
In the spring of 2018 a six-year cycle of studies of classical Buddhist texts ended in Grabnik. Many new people have asked to join the studies to systematize their knowledge and deepen their understanding of Dharma. On the other hand, all those who have completed the six-year study cycle would like to continue such detailed analysis of other texts.
To meet the expectations of both groups, Lama Rinchen decided that in the autumn of 2018, we will begin to study one of the most important classic texts of Mahayana - the "Guide to the Bodhisattva's way of Life" by Shantideva. Details on Upcoming events.