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    On the 30th of May 2014 a group of Benchen representatives had the precious opportunity to have an audience with His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Orgyen Thrinley Dorje at the Kamalashila Institute. After a warm welcome Tempa individually introduced the groups of board members from Benchen Phuntsok Ling Allmuthen, Lotus Direkthilfe, Benchen Karma Kamtsang Poland, Karma Tegsum Tashi Ling Italy and Benchen Tashi Ling Cologne.

    During the audience His Holiness Karmapa said that after a long time of trying, he finally was able to visit Europe, but unfortunately this time he couldn't make it to more places. His Holiness expressed his hope and wish that next time he could also visit Benchen centres in Belgium, Poland, Italy and other places. The Karmapa said we all are very fortunate to have had such a great master like Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche and that we all should keep on following Rinpoche's instructions.

    His Holiness recounted how some years ago at one day during Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche's visit to the Gyuto Monastery, Rinpoche was talking to him about the eventual whereabouts of Rinpoche's rebirth. During the conversation Rinpoche said that he will not be reborn in Tibet but somewhere near to His Holiness and he also mentioned passing away. His Holiness said hearing these words, he did not like the sound and felt scared because it indicated that Kyabje Rinpoche might pass away soon. On the other hand, the Karmapa said that he needed to listen because he will be responsible for Rinpoche's reincarnation. His Holiness, furthermore, mentioned that it is indeed very good that the main relic stupa in Nepal has been successfully finished because he has clear indications that after completing the stupa Rinpoche will be coming back to this world soon. Finally the Karmapa added that we should not worry.

    As far as we remember this is what His Holiness told us on that occasion.

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    Dear Dharma Friends,

    His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa has visited Europe for the first time. Now he is back in India.

    On Thursday, June 6, 2014 in the morning between 8:00 - 8:15, the Executive Board of Karma Tengyal Ling had an audience with the head of the Karma Kagyu school. The Executive Board presented the status of planning of the monastery and temple complex (Correct name in the contract with the local government: "Buddhist Study and Meditation Center Ludwigshorst") in Stechlin - Menz.


    The nearly 40 000 square meter area, which is affiliated to the development plan of the municipality was presented to Karmapa as a potential for his activity in the West. 

    After the plans, pictures and animations had been presented, His Holiness asked whether he could keep the big photos of the architecture designs. He said in a few words: "Now WE have to see how we get funded this".,

    We, the Board, know quite well that this project can not be financed by members of the Buddhist communities. If we now ask ourselves: How can we support this project? Then the correct answer is: In our own heart to have the deep, sincere desire: May this project manifest for the benefit of all beings. Candid sympathetic joy fueled the prosperity of all projects of this kind.

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    The following is a letter from the Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje on the passing away of Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, Mipham Chokyi Lodro

    (Please click for a full size zoom version of the letter).

    Statement by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje on the Passing of Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, Mipham Chokyi Lodro
    Until the 10th Shamarpa, the omniscient Shamarpas have been great masters respected throughout Tibet, especially within the Karma Kamtsang Lineage where he was known as the Victorious Lord of Dance and the lineage’s strength and embodiment of wisdom, compassion and power. Despite a ban on the Shamarpas’ enthronement since 1792 for almost a century and seventy years, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, in view of historical significance and for the benefit of Buddhadharma and all beings, sought consent from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and enthroned his nephew as the Shamarpa, taking him under his wing for the guidance of his body, speech and mind.
    However, as the folk saying goes, one may be fortunate to have a cow but not enough to get its milk. Similarly, after the Parinirvana of the16th Gyalwang Karmapa, due to wavering of commitment amongst his followers, a great schism occurred within the lineage. It was an unprecedented disharmony that is unimaginable even in a dream. Shamar Rinpoche’s activities have also been in various forms, both favourable and unfavourable and likewise, there are many past circumstances similar to endless ripples across water. These unfortunate situations are, I think, simply due to us not being aware of the omnipresence of our root guru and not being able to generate farsightedness for the benefit of Buddhadharma and all sentient beings.
    I have had an unmistakable faith and respect towards Rinpoche from the time I was young. Therefore, with the hope of benefiting the Buddhadharma in general and the lineage in particular, and with the expectation that I may be able to offer some service towards his Dharma activities, I had the good fortune of meeting Rinpoche once. Yet, as my aspirations have not been fulfilled, his sudden passing away is a matter of great sadness.
    As soon as I came to know of this hard to believe news, I instructed Rumtek Monastery, the main seat of our lineage and other monasteries to make offerings and perform pujas as grand as possible for 49 days, as Rinpoche has taken rest from the degenerate age of strife into the expanse of peace for a while.
    With great hope and strong aspirations that Shamar Rinpoche’s reincarnation will embody the life stories of his predecessors , and the good fortune of harmony within the lineage will arise soon.
    Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje
    12 June 2014

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    The Estrel Convention Center
    June 8, 2014
    The stage has been transformed into a radiant platform, the setting for an impressive throne of gilded, carved wood and an elegant pavilion whose four corners are marked with slender columns and brocade victory banners. Its fluted, double roofs are decorated with a frieze of Dharma wheels and banners; beneath them is the space of the main altar that holds a large Karmapa Pakshi torma flanked by two offering vases. On a brocade-covered table in front are the seven offering bowls and smaller tormas. A Japanese shoji screen is set up in front to shield His Holiness as he makes his preparations for the empowerment. Floating above this area, suspended from the ceiling is a stunning painting of Karma Pakshi, a vajra in his right hand and a dagger in the left, surrounded by the main deities of this practice, including Dorje Pakmo, Hayagriva, Rechungpa, and Mahakala. Copies of a Karma Pakshi thangka had been available for days before the initiation so people could become familiar with it.
    After finishing the preparation, the Karmapa left briefly as the shrine was rearranged. He then returned to begin the empowerment and soon paused to give a brief explanation. He shared the fact that he has had a bit of a fever and that his eyes were burning, and said in jest, “Maybe I should stay in Germany,” which was greeted with great applause.
    He went on to explain that this initiation was for the mahasiddha (accomplished master) Karma Pakshi (1206–1283), usually known as the 2nd Karmapa. The text for the initiation and the related practice was discovered by the treasure revealer Mingyur Dorje. Contrary to the usual understanding, the Karmapa stated that in fact, Karma Pakshi was really the first Karmapa because during his time, the name Karmapa became famous. The one usually known as the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, had a pure vision of the Black Hat and wore a copy he had made.  Later, the lineages of these two first Karmapas were blended together into one transmission.
    Where, then, did the name Karmapa come from? Some say that Karma Pakshi received this name because he stayed a long time at Karma Gon monastery. But the experts of the Karma Kamtsang say that Karma Pakshi was the secret name of the 1st Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, which then became the public name of the second Karmapa. In this way, the Karmapas received their name, which means the activity of all the buddhas. In the same way, the name of the 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, was the secret name of the 2nd Karmapa, and the name of the 4th Karmapa, Rolpay Dorje, was the secret name of the 3rd Karmapa, and so on down the lineage.
    Karma Pakshi was born into the family of a yogi belonging to the Nyingma tradition of the Secret Mantrayana, the oldest one in Tibet.  He practiced in this tradition and then met Gyalse Pomdrakpa, an important student of Drogön Rinchen, who in turn was a close disciple of the first Karmapa. It was Pomdrakpa who gave Karmapa Pakshi the transmission of Mahamudra (the Great Seal), which he then combined together with the Nyingma practice of Dzogchen (the Great Perfection), and continued to practice both of them.
    Guru Rinpoche, the great Nyingma master, is famous for all the miracles he displayed, through which he was able to tame both humans and spirits so that Buddhism could spread in Tibet. Similarly, Karma Pakshi was a powerful lama who performed many miraculous feats and also tamed the Mongolian emperor of the time.
    The sadhana of Karma Pakshi, which is a guru yoga, shows him as the union of all the gurus, yidams, dakas, dakinis, Dharma protectors, and guardians.  The practice came from Mingyur Dorje who was a treasure revealer. The Karmapa explained that since the time was short and all the conditions were not present, he would just give a blessing initiation today. The Karmapa then bestowed the empowerment in five parts: the vase initiation, the initiations of the yidam’s speech, mind, qualities, and activities.
    Afterward, as a thanksgiving, a ceremonial offering for the Karmapa’s long life was made by Horst Rauprich for Kamalashi Institute and Christina Uekermahnn for Bodhicarya, representing the main organizers, and then Lama Yeshe offered a beautiful, tall Vajradhara statue. This was followed by an offering of statues representing the whole Golden Garland of the Karma Kagyu masters.  A very special gift, the Karmapa explained, came from Sogyal Rinpoche who had loaned a small drum (damaru) that had belonged to Karma Pakshi himself and come down through Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, a great master who had traded empowerments with the 16th Karmapa. The present Karmapa played this drum during the initiation, and at the end, reverently lifted it to his forehead.

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    Estrel Convention Center, Berlin, Germany
    June 7, 2014
    Coming on to the stage this afternoon, the Karmapa briefly disappeared behind a brilliantly colored tree set near the top of the stairs. He reemerged looking out at the crowd as he walked over to take his seat.
    He began on a light note, “I’ve been talking for some days now and maybe I don’t have anything new to say. The topic of today’s talk is about the same as the previous one.  It’s as if you’ve bought an extra ticket.”
    He began his talk by saying that this world where we live is the only place found so far that supports life. And they have a great number of different forms; for example, just one tree is home to a wide variety of insects. Human beings are another form of life, and among them is a great variety of people. Each person is different as their fingerprints show.People also have different ways of acting, of looking, of living their lives, and so forth. We exist within this complex variety of individual beings, and yet from another perspective,all of our lives are interconnected and dependent one on the other. An elephant is a huge and valued animal while insects are miniscule and seemingly unimportant.But honey bees, for example, take nectar from one flower and in the process pollinate others.  So all living beings are a part of this interdependent world, valuable in and of themselves.
    In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a good name for this kind of relationship: we call it the connection between a mother and child (mabu drelwa). It is not the relationship between two things, but a positive feeling that connects us to the animate and inanimate world around us.
    When someone speaks of a “self” or an “I,” they are usually thinking of something that is independent, solitary, and able to give rise to itself. On the basis of this “I” we feel different from others. But how are things really? If we look at being able to give rise to ourselves, we can easily see that our body, which is mainly how we identify ourselves, comes from our parents; we did not create it. And if we think we are independent, we can consider that if we did not rely on others for our food and clothing, we would wind up a corpse. He mentioned that in the developed world, thanks to globalisation, food comes from far away and so do our clothes, which are made by workers in poor countries, whom we neither see nor know, but we wear their clothes.
    The Karmapa’s memories of growing up are quite different from what people experience these days.He recalled, “I Ied the ordinary life of a nomad.  My mother and father did not leave all day for work. In the evening, we would sit around the fire while the elders told stories. It was a warm, very close feeling of being in a family. At the age of seven when I was recognized as the Karmapa, I was separated from my family and had to stay on the third floor of Tsurphu Monastery.  This situation was very different from our nomadic life where there was so much freedom to move around. As a child, I was independent and could run everywhere I liked inthe wide open spaces. There was no fear of being hit by a car either. We also used to move our home from the winter house to our summer yak-hair tent.
    “Then suddenly I had to stay in my own quarters on the third floor of the monastery.  I had little freedom to play and felt a certain discomfort, a kind of unhappiness. In my home, I had playmates of my own age, but in the monastery, there were just older and serious monks. How could I play with them?”
    Many people came to Tsurphu from other places inside and outside of Tibet, but they were older and saw the Karmapa as their teacher. In the beginning he felt a little strange, a little empty, but when he looked around, he saw all the toys he had came from foreigners, so there were people who cared for him. Gradually other people took on the role of his parents and playmates. Many people were concerned about him, so slowly the feeling came that he did not just have the parents who gave birth to him, but he also had friends from all over the world who really cared about him.In general, he said, this feeling, he said, was the seed of a child becoming a strong person as an adult.
    After these concretes examples of love and caring, the Karmapa turned to the subject of compassion, which he said was more than sympathy or empathy. Compassion is a much deeper feeling,because with sympathy and empathy, there is a sense of someone else as separate from us.In the case of compassion, we “jump outside ourselves” and come to feel the other person as a part of us. Compassion arises naturally from within and directly links us to the other person.It allows us to go outside ourselves and put ourselves in the place of the other person so we can feel their happiness and sadness. We have “a big heart for the other person.”
    Globalisation has made us all much closer, making it clear how connected we are to each other. When we know this, then we cannot think of happiness just for ourselves, and we find the courage to help and benefit others.

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    If you missed any of the live webcasts from HH Karmapa’s visit to Europe, you can now watch them again here.

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    June 4, 2014,Dharma Mati, the Rigpa Center in Berlin, Germany

    It is a great honor and a great joy to introduce His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, and to give him the warmest possible welcome, not only to our center but to Berlin and also to thousands of students from thirty different countries connected through streaming on this truly historic occasion of His Holiness’ first ever visit to Europe.
    The Gyalwang Karmapa is a great spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. He is the head of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and considered to be one of the most important lamas alive today after His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Gyalwang Karmapa has been acknowledged as one of the most brilliant representatives of a new generation of spiritual leaders. He has a modern, pragmatic attitude while embodying completely the Buddhist spiritual tradition, its culture and values. During the fourteen ears he has lived in India, His Holiness has followed his traditional monastic education, but he has also studied other subjects, such as the English language and science.
    As a scholar, a meditation master, a painter, poet, song writer, playwright—a great artist—the Gyalwang Karmapa continues the enlightened activities of the Karmapas over the centuries. In addition, he’s an environmental activist and a computer enthusiast, whose teachings are often webcast alive. The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa is someone who is actually aware of the problems of today and has brought the wisdom and the compassion of his unique lineage fully into the 21st century. In November of 2009, he was invited to speak at the TED conference in India, becoming the youngest person ever to do so. In 2008 His Holiness visited the US and returned in 2011 for a brief visit.
    Now we are very excited, looking forward to receiving his teachings in Europe for the first time ever. So many people have been waiting and longing for your presence here among us. This is a landmark event of tremendous blessing for the entire continent.
    He is the teacher for now. I see in him all the qualities we need: he’s an artist and environmentalist, and very practical. No wonder the Gyalwang Karmapa would manifest in an incarnation that is suited for this time. I really am extremely inspired by his activity. If there’s anyway that myself or the Rigpa sangha as a whole can serve in your vision, in your activities, we will be there at your service.

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    June 8, 2014, the Estrel Convention Center, Berlin, Germany
    After the Karma Pakshi empowerment, the Karmapa gave his thanks to Sogyal Rinpoche, to his Rigpa Center and to his disciples for hosting him and for beautifully decorating the stage for the teachings. The Karmapa noted, “Sogyal Rinpoche is among the important teachers who have brought the Dharma to the West and the rest of the world. He had a very strong karmic and a family connection with the 16th Karmapa. To him and to his disciples I express my great gratitude.”
    The Karmapa continued, “My first trip to Europe was made possible by the help of many Karma Kagyu centers as well as those from other traditions. I would like to thank especially the Karma Kagyu Trust whose members worked very hard. Without their continual support, I would have had no hope to come to Germany.
    “That I could come here to Germany is also thanks to the Indian Government and the Government of Tibet in Exile as well as the German Government whose understanding and help made this visit possible. I thank them from the depth of my heart and hope that I can rely on them for their continual assistance so that I may return in the future. I am very happy to see the joy in people’s faces.”
    “Many people here are my Dharma friends who have a connection with this tradition. I am happy and joyful that we could meet here and be in the same mandala together. You are the main reason I wanted to, and could come here. You had to patiently wait for many years for the visit to happen. You have a pure motivation in your heart, and this gives me the feeling that our meeting is from a deep, long-term connection. I could only be here a short time but this has been a very important meeting. For all of your work to make it possible, I give my heartfelt thanks.”
    The Karmapa then said in English, “Your sincere motivation and dedication I will remember forever.”
    He also gave advice to the centers, emphasizing how important it is for them to stay in harmony with each other. The Buddha said that his teaching, which was to bring liberation, would not work if those who hold the teachings fight with each other. In fact, the Buddha said that this conflict would be the cause for the disappearance of the Dharma. So it is crucial for Dharma practitioners to be in harmony with each other, keeping a pure vision and a pure motivation. If we can do this, then the wishes of the 16th Karmapa can be fulfilled. We have had some lessons in the past twenty years, and we need to learn from those and continually work toward harmonious relationships.
    The Karmapa concluded, “I’m not sure when I can come again, maybe in one year, maybe three or four. Whatever it may be, you are all in my heart. I have a deep feeling of connection that will not fade. I pray that you will have the opportunity to make your lives meaningful and joyful. “
    After prayers to Amitabha, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, the overall head of the visit, addressed the Karmapa.
    “When the tickets for your events went on sale, they were sold out in three hours. That shows how much people were waiting for you. You gave us what we expected: your teachings were not just intellectual and conceptual, but heart to heart transmissions…. Thank you for your teachings, for your caring, compassion, and closeness to the people of the West. We want to ask you to come back.” (A very long applause.) “We beech you to do everything so that you can come at least once a year.”

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    Dear Friends,His Holiness and the entourage just arrived Delhi. On this most happy occassion of completing his first visit to Europe I like to thank all of you and your teams from the bottom of my heart. You have all worked day and night for last few months. To my mind everything became better than what I could imagine.I hope we have been successful in creating a good basis for his future visits to Europe.
    I really appreciate working with you and look forward to work with you in future.
    With my heart filled with gratitude, good wishes and warm feelings,
    Ringu Tulku Rinpoche

    Liebe Freunde,Seine Heiligkeit und seine Entourage sind soeben in Delhi eingetroffen. Sein erster Besuch in Europa ist sehr gut verlaufen, und aus diesem überaus glücklichen Anlass möchte ich euch allen und euren Teams von ganzem Herzen danken. Aus meiner Sicht war alles noch besser, als ich es mir hätte vorstellen können.Ich hoffe, dass wir auf diese Weise eine gute Grundlage für zukünftige Besuche Seiner Heiligkeit in Europa geschaffen haben.
    Ich schätze die Arbeit mit euch wirklich sehr und freue mich auf weitere Zusammenarbeit in der Zukunft.
    Mein Herz ist voller Dankbarkeit, guter Wünsche und warmer Gefühle,
    Ringu Tulku Rinpoche

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    Audience for the Karma Kagyu organisation heads
    at Kamalashila
    For many years Ringu Tulku Rinpoche has worked increasingly  closely with His Holiness the 17thKarmapa and the Indian Government to make way for a visit of Karmapa to Europe to give teachings. Four separate applications were made in the past 10 years, but only the last was successful, and only after all hope for success had been given up. No-one could have envisaged either the scale at which it finally took place, or the magnitude of the impact that the visit would have, from start to finish. It was clear however when Ringu Tulku Rinpoche gave his ecstatic thanks after the Karma Pakshi  empowerment on the final day, that he was indebted to not only the tireless teams of the German Karma Kagyu Trust, Bodhicharya Berlin, Rigpa and all the international volunteers who worked on the ground; but also the German and Indian Governments who cleared the way for His Holiness to travel to Europe.   It was a massive undertaking, an achievement that will doubtless benefit countless beings way beyond our imaginings.

    The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrived in Frankfurt on Sunday 25th May, and was brought to a private location for several days to acclimatise, before he was swiftly moved into an almost too busy schedule for the ten days that followed.     When His Holiness arrived at Langenfeld he got out of his car and slowly walked the incline to the Kamalashila Centre nodding and waving to those en route.  The road was lined with members of Buddhist communities from all over the world as well as local residents who joined us on the road to cheer and wave.  They also had the privilege of homes that bordered the street, and upstairs windows giving great views.

    Lama Shenga hanging flags at Kamalashila Stupa
    Kamalashila is a pleasant complex of buildings that was once a school, and in the grounds a large stupa sits centrally on the lawn surrounded by villagers homes. This is where the Karmapa stayed during the teachings at Nurburgring, twelve kilometers away,  and while he was there the centre hosted a number of small receptions for the heads of Kagyu centres and organisations on the first days. The Karmapa spoke at each, quite unfazed by the unfamiliar  environment, and set the tone for the rest of the visit – he was most definitely in charge.   After the first night kathas and donations were not encouraged at all and if he recognised  any familiar faces amongst us he didn’t engage. It really seemed he was setting a precedent for future visits in the west, reflecting the final sentiments in his book, the Heart is Noble,  that ‘While we are not going to meet in person, we are inseparable’.   He took a completely pragmatic line, as if recognising the limitations that will have to be imposed in order for his work to continue as more and more people come to reside within his mandala. He spoke a lot in these intimate settings of his happy but lost childhood, of his mother, of his vulnerableness, and yes, his loneliness.

    Estrel Hotel,  talk on Meditation
    He spoke of the huge weight of responsibility this position requires him to hold at such a young age.  He remembered being a small boy, living in a tent, where a picture of the 16th Karmapa hung on the wall that he and his family prayed to every day. One can only guess at the impact of being told you are the reincarnation of the man in the picture, and as he told the story, the Karmapa’s face made some delightfully childish gestures as he described trying to take the information in. At first he felt excited by the project, but as time went by the reality of the position became harder to ingest, and for some time he struggled to live the dream.

    And yet, he presented with a pragmatism again and again in the teachings that it isn’t about happiness, “If you ask me if I am happy, then to be honest, I have to say no, but if my life is worthwhile then that is more important than personal happiness, and if I can bring a sense of happiness and wellbeing to others, then my life is meaningful, and that gives me purpose and dignity, so it is ok”.   It was powerful stuff, and really brought home the enormity of the Karmapa project: a Buddha was sitting before us.  

    1,600 people attended the Nurburgring events each day, but despite our fears that chaos would reign, it ran with great ease. On the second morning a coffee bar gloriously materialized in the forecourt, for the many who depended on a bus which left Langenfeld at 6 am in order to return for the children’s school run at 8 am.   The upside was that these bussers arrived in time to get the front row seats for teachings, much to the frustration of those who came later under their own steam.  In reality, the large screens displayed throughout the hall brought all of us as close as we could be to the stage, and the sound system was perfect.  A basic vegetarian lunch was served daily for all who wanted it, and there was a comfortable lounge in the nearby hotel. On the first day of teachings at Nurburgring when he spoke on the teacher student relationship he emphasised the humanness of the teacher, and the limitations that must inevitably exist – limits, he said are necessary otherwise the teacher’s big batteries will go flat; because people are continually looking to plug in for a charge.  We need to produce our own good energy. We have to learn not to grasp at the teacher, but to develop our own strength through personal practise, because the teacher cannot do it for us. You are, he said, already the Buddha, but not such an effective one,  a small one, like a child, not grown enough to act [as such],  but  in a close and proper relationship, the teacher will become another facet of yourself, part of your heart and mind, not another person. In these days when we are divided by continents, the internal relationship can remain close once we have understood this.  But if we view the teacher in the wrong way there can be a distance even when you are physically close. 

    The audiences for groups didn’t run so smoothly, too many people and tight restrictions made organization almost impossible, and the 20 minutes allotted to Samye Ling communities shrank to 5 minutes, as 200 people were bundled together in a stuffy room, and ended with His Holiness almost running out in frustration.  His mantra became, ‘no katas, no offerings’, during photo shoots as he tried to keep to timetables and organise people into photo friendly arrangements, and as someone said – he’s a natural director. 

    Speaking at Bodhicharya Berlin
    (photo: Gelong Thubten)
    The atmosphere in Berlin was quite different to the previous weekend of teachings, and the Karmapa had become visibly more tired, a fact he admitted and made no apology for.  However this did not diminish his presence, or his sharpness and clarity, it just made him more human; and this vulnerability, that which he’d spoken of in the first talk, was simply brought home to us.  During the talks he spoke a lot about anger and how it can be dealt with, acknowledging his own, and really dismissing any notion that he might be perfect.  It was easy to see how the constant presence of bodyguards and a level 2 security protocol, along with demands on his time via group audiences (despite his pleas for space) might generate a major tantrum in anyone less qualified than he to deal with it.  There were many poignantly telling moments, as when, at the young people’s session on the last afternoon in Berlin, he said that once you are recognised as a tulku you are expected to just sit still in one place like a Buddha statue.  That must have been a tough call for someone who translates his name ‘Karmapa’ to ‘Action Man’.  And yet, the power and radiance that emanated from him throughout the week was otherworldly. 

    The Berlin events at the Estrel Hotel were run by Bodhicharya Berlin, under Ringu Tulku and a refreshingly young  team who had boundless energy and enthusiasm for the job. It was really gratifying to see the next generation of dharma activists stepping into responsible roles and doing it so well.

    The Crystal Vajrasattva,
    a gift from Karmapa to Ringu Tulku
    There were many personal highpoints, such as the visit to Bodhicharya Berlin,  when His Holiness came to view and bless what will be his Berlin home once it is finished, and where Karma Tenzin presented him with the Key to the Door, a large, heavy golden key in a case. He was delighted.   The Sangha gave a lunch to the VIP’s in the party that included Chime Rinpoche and Sogyal Rinpoche, Paltrul Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, as well as local Berlin dignitaries. The sun shone profusely as we sat about the garden drinking  butter tea and eating Sikkimese sweet rice.  His holiness blessed the grounds and laid a foundation stone at the stupa site and spoke of his happiness to finally be there. He gave Ringu Tulku a beautiful crystal Vajrasattva Rupa, before relaxing in the small shrine room for an hour or so with the other Lamas. It was a beautiful moment.

    An audience to raise Karmapa's awareness for the work of Rigul Trust, came at the end of a morning of audiences in the Estrel Centre. The Karmapa arrived late, at the time we were due to finish,  and the security men were anxious to move him on after a quick nod in our direction. But Margaret was prepared, she had her questions, and wanted them heard. She persisted, and he sat down.  He turned his chair towards her, and really listened to her discourse (because that is what it was) on Rigul Monastery, the school, the shedra, the doctor, the fundraising projects. He had already received a Chenrezig book, so had some idea. The bodyguards shuffled and made noises at the door, our time was up. He told them sharply to close the door and wait. He listened.  

    Margaret & Francois of Rigul Trust relaxing in their cabin.
    Margaret introduced Francois who talked about the pollution and proliferation of plastic bottles that has erupted in Tibet in the last ten years, and the need for nuns' education. Karmapa pulled his chair closer. This was what he wanted to talk about, and he elaborated on a theme that he’d begun at a meeting with Karmapa Foundation Representative group – it bothers him that Tibetans take the environment for granted and don’t know about the impact of consumerism and climate change. He wants his monks and nuns educated on these things, so that they in turn can educate his people. It pains him to see what is happening, and what he needs most is educational resources on these topics, for his nuns especially, as they will be the ones to make a difference.

    He said that one of the things that raises his anger is the ignorant attitude of self destruct that we have towards our environment, and later in the day, he gave his talk on the environment and referred to our earlier conversation, finishing by saying, ‘it makes me SO angry’.   He also said in that talk that if he were to run for president he would not get elected, because he would not take the usual party line to promise more of anything in order to win votes.  He said we need to have material things, but not so much. We don’t have to be Milarepa, taking on a spiritual life doesn’t mean renouncing all material goods, we just need a balance.   Because what makes us joyful, happy? It is not iPhone 6.  It is the simple things, like breathing. If we pay attention to the breath it can be a wonderful thing.  And to look at plants, they are naturally there, and this can be exciting. Satisfaction need not depend upon complication. Just keep it simple, simple.

    For many the highlight of the whole visit came on Saturday, when at the end of the talk on meditation, he was asked to share something of his knowledge of culture – he said he had none. Then he said he thought he’d share some meditation with us, but changed his mind, and just asked us to sit quietly, as he was going to recite something and we were to meditate as he did so.   He then instructed us briefly on relaxing for meditation.   

    The hall was silent as he began to recite the 7 line prayer,  over, and over.  The Karmapa’s sonorous chanting filled the space, went beyond the space, went deep into the bones of our very being, reverberated until the body became a receptacle for sound, like a singing bowl, empty, but full of the resonance of his voice. 

    He finished with a very quiet YESSS! Under his breath:  He was pleased. A wonderful end to a really special two weeks

    Ringu Tulku Rinpoche at Kamalashila with, back row, Francoise Henrard, 
    Paul O'Connor,  and seated front, Elke Steltner, harpist for the public reception; 
    Pat Murphy, Annie Dibble, KFE Representative for Ireland

    Photo credits : Bodhicharya International, Gelong Thubten, Andy Firman, Francois Henrard, Annie Dibble
    All design and artwork for the posters, website and programme of events was created by Paul O'Connor,  Bodhicharya Publications

    All photos for Karmapa Foundation Visitpage by Francois Henrard.

    Many thanks to the German organisers for making the impossible happen so brilliantly. 
    The full talks can all be found online on youtube and edited transcripts of the daily talks are on theKFE website.  There is also an account of the visit to Bodhicharya Berlin here.  Film : The Story So Far
    Annie Dibble   June 10th 2014

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    Karmapa's activity, and my aim, is to benefit sentient beings. My meaningful life is totally dependent on other sentient beings. Because you have so much hope and aspiration in me, I can become stronger even though facing lots of challenges. I can be more patient because of your aspirations.

    ~17th Karmapa of Tibet speaks on a 'Meaningful Life'

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    Thursday 12 June 2014

    Statesman News Service
    Gangtok, 11 June

    The Joint Action Committee, Karmapa to Rumtek, today expressed hope that its dream for the Karmapa to occupy the Rumtek monastery seat may come true very soon, as Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling has “endorsed” the issue when he took it up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting in New Delhi.

    “Our dream of Karmapa to Rumtek is going to turn into a reality soon, especially after the endorsement by the chief minister during his first meet with Narendra Modi,” said T Lachungpa, the spokesperson of the Joint Action Committee.

    Addressing the Press here today, Mr Lachungpa said: “We express our gratitude to the chief minister for strongly endorsing the issue of Karma Ogyen Trinley Dorjee with the Prime Minister during his first meeting.”

    Mr Chamling had apprised Mr Modi of the pending demands of the people of Sikkim and the state government’s granting of permission to the 17th Gyalwa   Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, to  take his seat at Rumtek monastery.

    “This initiative of the chief minister will definitely help us in witnessing our dream of ‘Karmapa to Rumtek’ come true,” Mr Lachungpa said.

    “Karmapa to Rumtek, an organization will be leading a delegation to the Prime Minister and home minister in the near future to press the demand of granting the 17th Karmapa his seat at Rumtek Monastery,” he added.

    “We have full trust in the state government that it will take all necessary steps to bring the Karmapa back to Rumtek,” he said.

    The 17th Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, has been a subject of controversy following the death of the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, in 1981.

    Following the death of the 16th Karmapa, two candidates, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee   and Trinley Thaye Dorjee have been put forward.

    The central government has banned Ogyen Trinley Dorje's travel to Rumtek. He has been living at Gyuto monastery in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, since his escape to India on January 5, 2000.

    He is the head of the Karma Kagyu sect with its headquarters in Rumtek in Sikkim.

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    Dear Dharma Friends,

    His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa has visited Europe for the first time. Now he is back in India.

    On Thursday, June 6, 2014 in the morning between 8:00 - 8:15, the Executive Board of Karma Tengyal Ling had an audience with the head of the Karma Kagyu school. The Executive Board presented the status of planning of the monastery and temple complex (Correct name in the contract with the local government: "Buddhist Study and Meditation Center Ludwigshorst") in Stechlin - Menz.


    The nearly 40 000 square meter area, which is affiliated to the development plan of the municipality was presented to Karmapa as a potential for his activity in the West. 

    After the plans, pictures and animations had been presented, His Holiness asked whether he could keep the big photos of the architecture designs. He said in a few words: "Now WE have to see how we get funded this".,

    We, the Board, know quite well that this project can not be financed by members of the Buddhist communities. If we now ask ourselves: How can we support this project? Then the correct answer is: In our own heart to have the deep, sincere desire: May this project manifest for the benefit of all beings. Candid sympathetic joy fueled the prosperity of all projects of this kind.

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    Stand: 23.05.2014, 11.50 Uhr

    Von Ingrid Strobl
    Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje ist Dalai Lama in spe. Zehn Tage lang reist er durch Deutschland und gibt Belehrungen. Zeitgleich erscheint sein Buch "Das edle Herz. Die Welt von innen verändern".

    Weltoffen: Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

    Weltlich gesehen ist Ogyen Trinley Dorje 29 Jahre alt. Aus der Sicht des tibetischen Buddhismus ist er die 17. Wiedergeburt des 1. Karmapa und somit gewissermaßen 900 Jahre alt. In jedem Fall ist er das Oberhaupt der Karma Kagyu Linie, einer der vier großen Richtungen des tibetischen Buddhismus. Gerade ist sein erstes Buch erschienen. Darin schreibt er ganz konkret: Wir müssen nicht nur uns selbst sondern auch die Gesellschaft verändern: "Nur weil wir eine Marktwirtschaft haben, müssen wir keine Marktgesellschaft haben. Grundrechte werden marktkonform zugeschnitten und dann in den Warentausch integriert. So arbeiten weltweit beispielsweise viele Gesundheitssysteme nach rein wirtschaftlichen Gesichtspunkten."
    "Gier ist lächerlich"

    Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje sitzt auf seinem Thron

    Ogyen Trinley Dorje behauptet nicht, Antworten auf alle komplexen ökonomischen und politischen Probleme der Gesundheitsindustrie zu haben. Und doch fragt er sich, "wie wir so weit kommen konnten, dass dies ein akzeptabler Weg erscheint, mit unseren Mitmenschen umzugehen." Die Verantwortung dafür, dass die Welt so ist, wie sie ist, schreibt er, tragen nicht einfach "wir alle". Politik und Wirtschaft haben einen entscheidenden Anteil daran. Allerdings, fährt er fort: wenn wir alles hinnehmen und nur auf unser eigenes Wohl bedacht sind, unterstützen wir Gier und Unmenschlichkeit. Sein Gegenmittel sind zwei grundlegende buddhistische Lehren: Die von der Verbundenheit aller mit allem. Und die von der Bedeutung des Mitgefühls. Sprich: Wenn wir uns bewusst machen, dass alles, was wir tun, Folgen hat, und zwar nicht nur für uns selbst, sondern auch für andere Wesen und die Umwelt, dann liegt es nahe, verantwortlicher zu handeln. Und wenn wir uns darin schulen, Mitgefühl zu empfinden - und zu praktizieren, dann können wir Ungerechtigkeiten nicht mehr einfach hinnehmen. Dem Slogan "Geiz ist geil" setzt Ogyen Trinley Dorje "Gier ist lächerlich" entgegen. Und erklärt, wie man sich von Gier befreien kann.

    Mitgefühl statt Wettbewerb

    Er, der selbst als Vierzehnjähriger aus Tibet nach Indien floh, fordert einen menschenwürdigen Umgang mit Flüchtlingen, auch den illegalen. "Wie verhalten wir uns denjenigen gegenüber, die nicht die Macht haben, niedrige Löhne abzulehnen, die wir für uns selbst niemals akzeptieren würden?", fragt Ogyen Trinley Dorje und erklärt: "Wenn ich von einer Gesellschaft spreche, die Glück schafft, dann denke ich an eine Gesellschaft, die Wettbewerb und Gier durch Mitgefühl und Liebe ersetzt. Haben wir erst einmal für uns die Werte neu definiert, die im Zentrum unserer Gesellschaft gelten sollen, können wir die einzelnen sozialen Institutionen und Bereiche betrachten und uns fragen, was verändert werden muss. Sobald wir eine Idee haben, in welche Richtung die Gesellschaft sich entwickeln sollte, können wir beginnen zu handeln."

    Frauenrechte sind Menschenrechte

    In dem erstaunlichsten Kapitel dieses Buches setzt er sich mit der Situation von Frauen auseinander - und der Rolle, die seine eigene Gesellschaft dabei spielt. Ein Gespräch mit einer westlichen Feministin, schreibt er, lehrte ihn, dass Frauenrechte Menschenrechte sind. Und dass es um die noch immer sehr schlecht bestellt ist. In den Klöstern zum Beispiel, in denen Nonnen weit unter den Mönchen rangieren. Ein Missstand, den man ändern könnte, sagt er - wenn Mann nur wollte, schreibt er: "Wir können die vollständige Nonnenordination einführen. Anfangs glaubte ich, das Problem, dies umzusetzen, läge in den monastischen Regeln und monastischen Grundsätzen. Doch mit der Zeit verstand ich, dass das eigentliche Problem darin besteht, wie unsere Gesellschaft über Nonnen und Frauen denkt."
    Ogyen Trinley Dorje, der 17. Karmapa: Das edle Herz. Die Welt von innen verändern, edition steinrich, 19,90 Euro

    Diesseits von Eden

    Themen: 1. Der Papst im Heiligen Land. 2. Österreichische Kirchenkritikerin exkommuniziert. 3. Kirchenrecht und Kirchenkritik. 4. 80 Jahre Barmer Thesen. 5. Dalai Lama in spe. 6. Ökumenisch und musikalisch. 7. Was noch?; Moderation: Christina-Maria Purkert © WDR 2014


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    [Memorandum submitted by Hon’ble CM to Hon’ble PM]
    The Karmapa is the head of the Kagyu lineage in Mahayana Buddhism. The Rumtek Monastery has been the seat of the Karmapa ever since the 16th Karmapa, Ranjung Rigpe Dorje took refuge here.
    The people of Sikkim have been anxiously and expectantly waiting for the Government of India to allow His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje to take his seat at Rumtek for a number of years now. It is a long-pending wish of the people of Sikkim and an issue close to the heart of every Sikkimese. In the past, the State Government has made numerous representations to the Centre regarding this issue. The first representation was made in the year 2000.Ever since; the State Government has submitted other petitions as well.

    You are aware Sikkim is a peaceful State where the people are simple and religious minded. The presence of the Karmapa in the State will further enhance the tranquillity of the State and add to the spiritual development of the people. We are anxious to see that the State prospers not only materially but in all aspects of human development. We would, therefore, like to request you to kindly facilitate the early coming of His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Sikkim.

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    8 June 2014, Berlin
    The final public activity of the Gyalwang Karmapa’s historic first trip to Europe was an encounter with young people from around the world. His Holiness is the youngest religious world leader today and fittingly, the organizers had created a program where young people were able to ask him questions directly about concerns that they had living in today’s world.
    Tickets were free of charge but admission was limited to people 29 years of age and younger. The audience ranged from toddlers who were accompanied by their parents to young adults. As the hall filled up, a music video of the rap song Karmapa Khyenno played on the screens, and young volunteers draped the stage with hand-drawn flags that were created by children and sent from all over the world. Everything from handprints to aspiration prayers were displayed on the flags.
    His Holiness entered the stage lightly and settled himself in an armchair. The Karmapa reached out to the audience and described himself as a “strange kind of young guy.” He explained that although he was in his twenties, he had assumed responsibilities so young in life and had such varied experiences as he sought to fulfill them that inside he feels much older.
    He called out to the youth to take a stand and address the major challenges of their generation with courage. “In the 21st century, he said, “we youth are living in a time of great pressure. We are pressured to do well in our studies, to be successful in life, and these pressures bear in on us from all directions, since the world today is much smaller. Things are progressing so quickly that it seems like we cannot even keep up with those changes, much less find a chance to rest. If we maintain this pace and continue our current way of life—based so heavily on the enjoyment of consumer products and on external objects—we will definitely use up the world’s resources. So we have a responsibility but also an opportunity to do something to ensure the happiness of future generations.
    “When we talk about changing the future or protecting the world for the future,” he said, “we must understand that the future is not something that only happens tomorrow or some other day or year. The future is starting right now.”
    During the question and answer session, a ten-year-old girl from Berlin asked, “How do I become a Buddha?”
    The Karmapa laughed and shook his head saying that this was the real question. He replied: “What it means to be a Buddha is like a flower blossoming. And it also means waking up and being awake. Becoming a Buddha is not something that happens to us suddenly like having something injected into our blood or modified in our genes to give us superpowers. If you give someone a gift and make them smile, then you have already become a Buddha in a small way, because you knew what to do to make others happy and you did it.”
    A twelve-year old from Berlin asked him, “How do you carry all the responsibility of being a Karmapa? It is more an honor or a burden?”
    He replied, “The name ‘Karmapa’ raises a lot of expectations. People expect the Karmapa to be perfect and never to make any mistakes. That is beyond me. So instead of seeing mu having the name Karmapa as giving me some kind of power or authority, instead I see it as an opportunity, It means I have more opportunities to help others. I tell myself this is a very good opportunity and I must use this as a chance to help others and that makes it seem lighter.”
    Replying to a teenager from Madrid who asked what she could do with her life to help the world, the Karmapa said: “When we look at environmental degradation, we see that what we can do with our life is to work to protect that world’s natural environment. By protecting the environment, you are not just helping one person but all the people who live on this earth.”
    A 26-year-old from Austria asked the 17th Karmapa to describe how he sees the relationship between religion, spirituality and culture. While distinguishing between religion and spirituality, His Holiness said, “I think religion has to do with accepting a system of beliefs and following the tradition or rituals and customs that go with that system. Spirituality does not have to do with customs but with a deeper level of human experience. It is deeply connected to how you experience your own life, and also involves the cultivation of wisdom and compassion. I think all the major religious traditions started as spirituality—as real-life experiences, and not just customs, traditions or belief systems. If we take the Buddha as an example, from his childhood he had big questions about the meaning of his own life and he began to seriously seek out that meaning or that reality. For that purpose, he gave up life as a prince and went to solitary places and was constantly thinking over that question. In the end, he finally found the answer, and he really appreciated that answer and was satisfied with the answer that he found. After that, many people just followed that system or idea without ever really having that experience of discovery or encounter with that truth. That is why I think there is a danger for religious followers. Actually religious practitioners should have real experience rather than just adopting beliefs or knowledge. But to find that answer is not easy, so maybe some people end up taking the easy way. That is why I think spirituality is more effective than just religious belief or faith.”
    Responding to one young woman’s question about gratitude, the Gyalwang Karmapa said, “If you are born in a developed country and a well-off family, you have access to many facilities and educational opportunities, it is important to cultivate a sense of appreciation and gratitude. You should know that there are many children around the world with no chance to go to school, even without enough food, clean water or access to medical care. When you think of this, and become aware of how relatively well-off you are, you recognize how fortunate you are. But rather than letting that sense of being fortunate make you proud, it should remind you that you have a responsibility to help those who do not have the same opportunities. Gratitude makes your mind more peaceful and more humble and inspires you to do something for those with fewer opportunities than you.”
    A 23-year-old woman from Austria explained that her grandmother was old and sick. She asked how to help her grandmother as she came closer and closer to dying.
    “The most important thing,” the Karmapa said, “is to accept death. As human beings, we are unrealistically selfish and want to defy nature. We want never to grow old and die. But once we are born, it is natural that we will die one day. If you do not accept this, it just brings more suffering. And anyway it will happen. It is much less troublesome if you accept it.
    But we need training or exercise to help us accept death. There are lots of ways, and one is to consider one day as one whole life. When you wake up you can think that getting up from bed is like being born, and at the end of the day when you go to sleep is like dying. If you develop a habit of doing this, then you will naturally accept your final death, since you will know that it has been happening in a sense every day and you will know that it is not a final end. This is a way of training so that you do not have fear or worry about death. You can learn to see that it is just like going to sleep, and waking up to another life.”
    The session concluded with several performances, beginning with a song by Kesang Marstrand from her latest CD. Born to a Tibetan father and European mother, Kesang accompanied herself on guitar and filled the hall with her exquisite voice and haunting lyrics.
    With palpable reverence and emotion, Lobsang Dargye, a Tibetan singer living in Potsdam, Germany, stated that Tibetans see the 17th Karmapa as a special protector of the Tibetan people and a place of refuge for them, and explained that the Tibetan words of the song he would sing expressed precisely that sentiment. Other performances included a monologue in German using sock puppets by Captain Peng.
    In their closing comments, one of the young organizers of the event requested His Holiness the Karmapa to come to Berlin again and again, so that more and more walls of ignorance could fall. Following a group photo with the young people which the Karmapa stage-managed himself with a great deal of laughter, he left the hall slowly, pausing to connect silently with many of the young people now glowing from their encounter with this messenger of responsibility and hope.

    more pics on flickr

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  • 06/19/14--09:40: Tibetan Buddhist Center

  • Title:  Tibetan Buddhist Center 
    Artist: 17th Gyalwang Karmapa
    Language: Tibetan

    Source: https://www.facebook.com/133222110105264/photos/a.203250753102399.46755.133222110105264/662361190524684/?type=1&theater

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    Die Zeit, 12.6.14, Petra Pinzler und Thomas E. Schmidt -

    Ein junger Tibeter in Mönchsrobe begeistert den Westen. Er trägt den Titel Karmapa und könnte die Zukunfte des Buddhismus sein. Ein Gespräch mit Orgyen Trinley Dorje
    Vor diesem Sanften Mann fürchten sich die mächtigen Nationen China und Indien – denn als religiöser Lehrer ist er die Hoffnung der jungen Tibeter, und als Wachstumskritiker zieht er bei seinen öffentlichen Reden Tausende Menschen an. Bisher durfte Orgyen Trinle Dorje nicht nach Europa reisen, jetzt war er zum ersten Mal in Berlin. Beim Interview trägt der Karmapa ein weinrotes Mönchsgewand, eine gelbe Schärpe hängt über seinen Schultern, der Kopf ist rasiert. Seine grossen Themen sind Liebe und Mitgefühl, Ökologie sowie Frauenrechte. Er ist ein Star des globalisierten Glaubens, aber tritt wie ein einfacher Mönch auf. Zur Begrüssung in Berlin schüttelt er den Redakteuren die Hand und sagt freundlich “Guten Morgen”. Begleitet wird er von zwei Nonnen, die eine wird für ihn übersetzen. Er versteht zwar Englisch, doch er antwortet lieber auf Tibetisch. Nur manchmal, wenn eine Frage ihn besonders bewegt, reagiert er spontan auf Englisch.
    DIE ZEIT: Euer Heiligkeit, wie fühlt man sich als Auserwählter? Haben Sie gespürt, dass Sie, gerade Sie, der neue Karmapa sind?
    Karmapa: Es war ein sehr seltsames Gefühl. Dass ich mit sieben Jahren plötzlich das Oberhaupt unserer Glaubensgemeinschaft wurde, hat mich und meine Eltern vollkommen überrascht und verwundert. Ich stamme aus einer nomadischen Familie aus dem Osten von Tibet. Meine Familie ist zwar sehr religiös, es hing auch immer ein Bild meines Vorgängers an unserem Altar, aber niemals hatte ich daran gedacht, etwas mit den Sechzehnten Karmapa zu tun zu haben. Ich war damals, als ich erwählt wurde, noch ein Kind und erlebte die neue Situation mit meinem kindlichen Verstand. Ich hoffte vor allem, dass ich viele Spielsachen bekommen und viel Spass haben würde mit neuen Spielkameraden.
    ZEIT: Und, hatten Sie Spass?
    Karmapa: Nein, es war überhaupt nicht lustig.
    ZEIT: Was passierte?
    Karmapa: Ich wurde von Mönchen abgeholt und in ein tibetisches Kloster gebracht, das ich nicht kannte, weit weg von zu Hause, hoch in den Bergen. Ich musste alles, was mir vertraut war, zurücklassen, meine Eltern, meine Freunde, die Heimat. Am Tag meiner Ankunft in Tshurphu erwarteten mich eine Menge Menschen. Im Kloster wurde ich sofort in den vierten Stock gebracht, in den Trakt, der dem Karmapa vorbehalten ist. Auch dort warteten überall Unbekannte. Sie waren viel älter als ich, sie wirkten sehr ernst und beobachteten mich die ganze Zeit. In jener Zeit war ich oft traurig. Denn zuvor konnte ich ja überall frei herumrennen, jetzt musste ich plötzlich still sein und viel lernen. Ich fühlte mich wie in einem Käfig.
    ZEIT: Haben Sie manchmal überlegt, davonzulaufen?
    Karmpapa: Ja, einige Male schon. (Der Karmapa sagt diesen Satz spontan auf Englisch und beginnt so auch die nächste Antwort, bevor er wieder tibetisch spricht.)
    Zeit: Und was hat Sie dazu bewogen, am Ende doch zu bleiben?
    Karmapa: Ich weiss es nicht genau. (er zögert) Es gab ja keinen Ort, an die ich hätte flüchten können. Nach und nach habe ich mich an die Situation gewöhnt. Ausserdem haben mich meine Eltern sehr darin bestärkt, im Kloster zu bleiben und meine Aufgabe aufzunehmen. Sie hielten das für sehr wichtig, und ich bin ihnen dafür dankbar. Nach einer gewissen Zeit spürte ich, dass nicht nur meine Eltern Herzenswärme haben. Es sorgten und kümmerten sich ja auch viele andere Menschen um mich. Nach und nach bekam ich neben meinen leiblichen viele andere Eltern.
    ZEIT: Mit dem Buddhismus verbindet man in den westlichen Kulturen vor allem Friedfertigkeit und Ausgeglichenheit. Besassen Sie diese Eigenschaften, oder mussten Sie sie im Laufe der Zeit erwerben?
    Karmapa: Wissen Sie, ich bin noch nicht sehr alt. Aber ich habe viel erlebt, auch viel Schlechtes, etwa meine überstürzte Flucht aus Tibet in aller Heimlichkeit. Ich bin älter, als meine Lebensjahre es erscheinen lassen. Dass ich das alles überstehen konnte, hat natürlich mit dem Buddhismus zu tun. Ich kann Ihnen aber nicht wirklich erklären, wie das funktioniert. Vielleicht hängt es mit meiner buddhistischen Prägung zusammen. Es hat nichts damit zu tun, dass ich häufig bete. Ich habe den Dharma, die Lehren des Buddha, schon kennengelernt, als ich noch sehr klein war. Ich trage sie im Herzen und im Geist. Sie geben mir Stärke.
    ZEIT: Gibt es etwas, was wir im Westen vom Buddhismus lernen sollten?
    Karmapa: Wenn wir an Religion denken, dann fallen uns oft vor allem Regeln, Rituale und Gewohnheiten ein. Ich glaube aber, dass Spiritualität in unser aller Natur liegt, dass wir ganz spontan über sie verfügen. Sie ist ein tiefes Wissen, das Menschen schon sehr früh erfahren haben, als es noch keine festen religiösen Lehren gab. Alle Religionen wurzeln in diesem Wissen. Über die Zeit hinweg erstarrte die Spiritualität jedoch in Traditionen, und wir haben unseren spontanen Zugang zu ihr verloren. Buddhas wichtigste Lehren haben alle mit dem wirklichen, mit dem tatsächlichen Leben zu tun.
    ZEIT: Wie sollen wir das verstehen?
    Karmapa: Es ist sinnvoll, diese Lehren zu studieren, wenn wir beispielsweise wissen wollen, warum wir anderen Menschen mit Mitgefühl und liebevoller Zugewandheit begegnen sollen. Die wirkliche Motivation für diese Haltung sollte aber aus unserer eigenen Erfahrung kommen. Wenn wir unsere Erfahrungen zur Grundlage unseres Handelns machen, dann merken wir auch, dass wir als Menschen für andere Menschen mitverantwortlich sind. Dass wir unserem Leben einen Sinn geben können. Dass wir Fehler machen, aber aus ihnen lernen können, und dass die Spiritualität uns dabei hilft. Sie macht uns Mut. Statt uns zu fragen, was Buddha uns lehren kann, sollten wir besser fragen: Was kann die Wirklichkeit uns lehren? Buddha hilft uns nur dabei, die Realität zu unserem Lehrer zu machen.
    ZEIT: Aber es gibt doch ganz unterschiedliche Realitäten. Es macht einen riesigen Unterschied, ob man in einem Kloster in Tibet lebt oder in Berlin-Mitte. Haben wir alle Zugang zur Spiritualität – und ist sie immer dieselbe?
    Karmapa: Es stimmt, wir kommen aus ganz unterschiedlichen Kulturen. Wir haben sehr unterschiedliche Erfahrungen gemacht und vertreten verschiedene Meinungen. Deswegen gibt es ja auch unterschiedliche spirituelle Wege und unterschiedliche Religionen. Ich persönlich glaube, dass es nicht gut wäre, wenn es auf der Welt nur eine Religion gäbe. Aber trotz aller Unterschiede gibt es auch Gemeinsamkeiten.
    ZEIT: Welche?
    Karmapa: Die Erfahrungen der Menschen ähneln sich doch insofern, als wir alle glücklich sind und nicht leiden wollen. Und wir wollen geliebt werden. Die Religionen sprechen an, was uns als Menschen vereint. Wir vergessen das bloss immer wieder, weil wir uns zu sehr auf das konzentrieren, was uns unterscheidet. Deswegen trennen Religionen oft mehr, als sie vereinen.
    ZEIT: Heute spitzt sich dieses Problem zu: Die Menschen bekämpfen sich im Namen der Religion.
    Karmapa: Das ist schon sehr lange so. Es ist lächerlich und gefährlich zugleich. Ich bin davon überzeugt, dass es Religionskämpfe in der Vergangenheit noch häufiger gab als heute. Heute ermöglichen die modernen Medien es nur, dass wir mehr davon erfahren. Deswegen ist es umso wichtiger, dass wir offen miteinander umgehen. Wir müssen reden. Es beginnt bereits damit, dass sich Menschen aus unterschiedlichen Kulturen regelmässig und vor allem persönlich treffen. Wissen Sie, das Wort “Religion” wirkt auf mich inzwischen ählich unpersönlich wie “Politik” oder “Business”. Doch in Wahrheit geht es beim Glauben um unsere ganz persönliche Ethik, um unser individuelles Wertesystem.
    Der Karmapa lebt heute in Indien, im indischen Gyuto Kloster in Dharamsala, nicht weit vom Wohnsitz des Dalai Lama entfernt. Offiziell gilt er als Flüchtling, argwöhnisch beäugt von der chinesischen Regierung. Die befürchtet, dass er zum Führer des tibetischen Widerstandes werden könnte. Auch deswegen äussert er sich nicht zu politischen Fragen. Doch er ist aktiv im Umweltschutz, er verwandelt die Klöster seines Ordens nach und nach in kleine Umweltzentren. Dort unterweisen die Mönche und Nonnen seines Ordens die Menschen der oft sehr armen Gegenden nicht mehr nur in religiösen Fragen, sie zeigen ihnen auch, wie sich die Natur mit einfachen Mitteln besser schützen lässt. Der Karmapa selbst ist seit ein paar Jahren überzeugter Vergetarier. Und er setzt sich aktiv dafür ein, dass Frauen im Buddhismus mehr Rechte bekommen.
    ZEIT: Der Buddhismus gehört zu den ältesten Religionen der Welt, und er muss, wie jede Religion, immer aktualisiert werden. Wie sehr sind Sie in Traditionen gefangen, und wie frei sind Sie, moderne Antworten auf moderne Fragen zu geben?
    Karmapa: Wir glauben gern, dass Religion irgendwie altmodisch ist. Aber vielleicht brauchen wir gerade jetzt das alte Wissen. Wir Menschen haben zwar unblaubliche Fortschritte in Bildung, Wissenschaft und Technologie gemacht. Zugleich haben wir uns aber in anderen Bereichen rückwärts bewegt. Denken Sie nur daran, wie wir mit der Umwelt umgehen und wie stark unser Leben heute vom Konsum bestimmt ist. Viele moderne Technologien, all die Handys und Computer sorgen doch nur dafür, dass unsere Wünsche und Begierden immer grösser werden. So werden wir unfrei und laufen in die falsche Richtung. Der Glaube kann uns auf einen anderen Weg führen, zu uns selbst zurück. Wir müssen ihn nur neu und modern ausdrücken. Ich hoffe, dass ich dazu in der Lage bin.
    ZEIT: Sie plädieren eindringlich dafür, dass wir unseren Umgang mit der Natur verändern. Muss ein moderner religiöser Führer heute ein Umweltaktivist sein?
    Karmapa: Das weiss ich nicht. Lassen Sie mich auch diese Frage aus meiner Erfahrung heraus beantworten. Ich komme aus einer sehr entlegenen Gegend in Tibet. Wir leben als Nomaden, im Einklang mit der Natur. In meiner Kindheit habe ich ihre Schönheit unmittelbar erfahren Dieser direkte Kontakt fehlt heute vielen Menschen. Mir liegt die Umwelt aus ganz persönlichen Gründen am Herzen. Ich bin aber auch fest davon überzeugt, dass sie das wichtigste politische Thema des 21. Jahrhunderts ist.
    ZEIT: Die meisten Ökonomen würden sagen, dass Sie als Kind von Nomaden in einem unterentwickelten Land in einer wenig entwickelten Gesellschaft gelebt haben.
    Karmapa: Was heisst denn unterentwickelt? Ich habe ehrlich gesagt Mitleid, wenn ich manche scheinbar “entwickelte” Lebensweise betrachte. Es gibt in der sogenannten Ersten Welt viele Menschen, die angeblich viele Freunde haben, aber keine Zeit mit ihnen verbringen. Sie sehen ihre angeblichen Freunde nie, sie kommunizieren mit ihnen nur über Bildschirme. Sie haben Kontakt zu Dingen, nicht zu anderen Menschen. Bitte verstehen Sie mich nicht falsch. Sicher ist mancher Fortschritt gut. Aber innere Zufriedenheit hängt von etwas anderem ab. Wir müssen die richtige Balance wiederfinden.
    ZEIT: Sie haben in diesem Gespräch oft von Iher “persönlichen’” Ansicht gesprochen. Wie vereinbaren Sie sie mit den Zwängen, die sich aus Ihrer Rolle als spiritueller Führer ergeben? Gibt es da einen Widerspruch?
    Karmapa: Nein. Denn als spiritueller Führer ist es für mich wichtig, authentisch zu bleiben. Der zu sein, der ich bin. Ich will direkt mit Menschen in Kontakt treten, von Herz zu Herz, anstatt ihnen etwas vorzugeben. Manchmal erhalte ich den Ratschlag, weniger offen zu sein, nicht alles direkt auszusprechen, denn es könnte ja missverstanden oder sogar missbraucht werden. Ich möchte aber offen sein, ich möchte Gefühle zeigen.
    ZEIT: Dann lassen Sie uns am Ende über das Glück sprechen. Was macht Sie glücklich?
    Der Karmapa schweigt. Dann atmet er tief aus, reibt sich den Kopf und dann das Herz.
    Karmapa: Das is eine grosse Frage. Ich glaube, das Glück hängt nicht von der Erfüllung unserer Wünsche ab. Ich musste viele Jahre warten, bis ich nach Europa kommen durfte. Jetzt hier zu sein entschädigt mich für viele Opfer, zum Beispiel dafür, meine Familie und Tibet verlassen zu haben. Aber ist das Glück? Früher hatte ich grosse Hoffnungen für mich persönlich und für die Welt. Aber es gehört zum buddhistischen Weg, seine Wünsche zu zügeln Heute versuche ich, weniger Erwartungen an andere heranazutragen und stattdessen ihre Hoffnungen zu erfüllen, ihnen zu zeigen, dass es jemanden gibt, der sie liebt und sich um sie sorgt. Wenn ich merke, dass mir das gelingt: Ja, das macht mich zufrieden und glücklich.
    Der Karmapa
    Er ist 29 Jahre alt und nach dem Dalai Lama der zweithöchste spirituelle Führer im tibetischen Buddhismus. Er wird nicht gewählt, sondern gefunden. Der Karmapa ist das Haupt der Karma-Kagyü-Schule. Seit 900 Jahren gilt jeder in diesem Amt als Reinkarnation seines Vorgängers.
    Der amtierende Karmapa ist der siebzehnte Wiedergeborene. Er wurde durch eine Weissagung seines Vorgängers entdeckt. Da lebte der siebenjährige Orgyen Trinley Dorje noch als Sohn von Nomaden im Osten Tibets. Die Lehrer seines Ordens durften ihn in China nicht unterrichten. Mit vierzehn Jahren floh er über den Himalaya nach Indien, wo er heute in der Nähe des Dalai Lama lebt. Der Karmapa schweigt zur Politik. In den USA, in Südamerika und nun auch in Europa erklärt er die Lehren Buddhas. Ein Streit über die Rechtmässigkeit seiner Inkarnation ist beendet. Die theologischen Autoritäten des Buddhisms erkennnen den Karmapa an.

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    Photo credit: James Gritz 

    Dharamsala:  The 17th Karmapa, the third most important Tibetan religious head, on Tuesday reached Delhi after a fortnight-long religious tour of Germany, one his aides said.

    This was 28-year-old Ogyen Trinley Dorje's first visit to Europe where he met Jewish and Catholic leaders, besides interacting with his followers.

    Throughout his teachings in Germany, the Karmapa reiterated his concern for the environment and his appeal for a world with less greed and more compassion, Karmapa's spokesperson Kunzang Chungyalpa told IANS.

    Stressing on personal responsibility towards the environment, he said: "We should never exploit the world we live in for the purpose of short-term benefits."

    The Karmapa, who now resides in a monastery on the outskirts of Dharamsala where the Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered, left for Germany May 25. He has travelled to the US in 2008, his only visit abroad since he fled Tibet.

    Making headlines after a dramatic flight from Tibet to India in January 2000 when he was just 14-year-old, the Karmapa has emerged as a strong leader and retains a close relationship of mentor and protege with the Dalai Lama.

    The Karmapa is the head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage, which he worked to modernise while remaining faithful to the authentic teachings of the Buddha.

    The Tibetan government-in-exile is based in Dharamsala but not recognised by any country in the world.

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