From an interview with His Holiness the 16th Karmapa in 1979, published in Lotusgarten, translated into English for Radiant Compassion.
Q: Some prophecies foretell serious changes, disasters, and even the end of the world within a few years. What do you think about this?
Karmapa: I do not think speculating about the future is helpful. Instead, we should use our time to practice the Dharma so we can become clearer in our minds and can recognize the nature of timeless, primordial awareness. In the same way that pouring cold water into boiling water lessens its agitation, through practice the mind becomes more and more still. Furthermore, this allows us to contemplate the impermanence of all phenomena and thus to use this theme in our meditation practice. We should not get lost with many subjects, but instead allow the fear of threatening dangers to help us understand the impermanence and transitory nature of all compounded things. We will then be applying Dharma’s skillful means. Constantly pondering these difficulties only nourishes them. I hope that things will turn out for the best, but our task is to cultivate a compassionate state of mind and to understand that suffering is inherent in the conditioned world.
I was recently practicing Tārā* very intensively, and praying to this yidam* to intervene in the conflict between China, Vietnam, and the Soviet Union, which was in danger of escalating. During the retreat, China withdrew from the country and both sides fortunately made peace. Thus, praying and especially sending intense prayers to Tārā is recommended as a way to ensure peace. That aside, I do not believe that a great war will arise. Rather, more and more minor conflicts, unrest, wars, and so on will manifest. We must remember that the reason we think there are more conflicts in today’s world could be because of the media reporting on these conflicts more than before.
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