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    31 January 2015, New Delhi

    This afternoon the Gyalwang Karmapa made his first ever visit to the University of Delhi, where he interacted with students and faculty primarily from the Department of Buddhist Studies and spoke on ‘The Greatness of Small Acts’.
    He was warmly welcomed to the university with a traditional Tibetan white silk scarf and bouquet of flowers by Professor Jain Khurana, Dean of Student Welfare and Professor Hira Paul Gangnegi, Head of the Department of Buddhist Studies.
    The Karmapa appeared relaxed and lighthearted, joking with the students that he didn’t really think he could teach them much.
    “I’ve had several opportunities to meet with students and we’ve had a wonderful chance to share experiences and ideas,” he said. “Sometimes the way I feel after these events is that I have so much to learn from hearing about your experiences and education, that in the end I get more out of it than you do!”
    Over past years the Karmapa has held a series of sustained interactions with university students and youth from different parts of the world to discuss such topics as sustainable development, gender issues and food justice. He is similarly seeking opportunities for such engagements with Indian youth.
    The gathering took place at the university’s state-of-the-art Conference Centre, with the Gyalwang Karmapa seated before the students on an elaborately carved wooden chair in the modern, wood-paneled hall. With a selected audience of postgraduate students in attendance, this created a more intimate atmosphere resembling a masterclass or a close family gathering.
    “Since I have the position of being a religious leader,” the Karmapa began, “most people immediately think I’m going to be speaking about something connected with religion. But that’s not really where my main interest lies. Instead, whether we’re religious people or don’t have faith in any religion, we’re all the same in being human. We’re all the same in experiencing pleasures and pain, and in being sentient beings, and that is what I consider most important.”
    “When we face difficulties and problems,” he continued, “where does our power to deal with them come from? I feel it is from our education and the efforts we ourselves put into it. Only then do we develop the capability to deal with the difficulties of life. But in terms of Buddhist methods, we have the innate potential and ability in our mind. Our virtuous motivation, our love and affection for others, and our altruistic thoughts—such as the wish to benefit others—have all been planted deeply within us. I think the ability comes out of those seeds.
    “Therefore, the powers of virtue are like a seed. From a seed a flower can grow. But when you plant a seed you need to take care of it. You need to provide all that it needs, and remove all the things that would inhibit its growth. It is a question of being patient and diligent in growing the seed. Similarly, we have innate compassion present within our minds and it’s important for us to nurture that so that it does not weaken, but instead actually increases.”
    The Gyalwang Karmapa then described the process that starts with a thought in our mind, which leads us to say things orally. Through that we then express ourselves physically and act with our body. The actions we perform with our body will then have an effect on our human life, and on society. All of this comes about because of the thoughts and motivations in our mind, so we must pay especially close attention to these.
    The Karmapa summarized that when we’re looking at the topic of the greatness of small acts, this is really talking about the greatness and benefits of the motivations that we have in our minds, and how from one small act we can have a great effect.
    Next he fielded around eight questions from the students, preferring to explore some of their own ideas rather than simply continue talking himself. One of the first questions asked whether the Karmapa might reincarnate as a woman in his next life.
    “I’m asked about this frequently, but actually I really don’t think this is such a big question,” he began. “The reason is that for the benefit of sentient beings, bodhisattvas will take birth and emanate many different forms—males, females, or whatever sort of form. It’s possible that a bodhisattva could appear in any sort of form. It doesn’t really matter.
    “But if we look at where this question comes from, it comes from the sexist society we’re in where many people consider men to be superior and women to be inferior. But the way reincarnation works in Buddhism is that of course it can happen. Bodhisattvas can incarnate themselves as men, women, or as anything in order to help sentient beings.
    “Now in terms of there being a female reincarnation of the Karmapa, that’s a difficult question for me to answer right now. The Karmapa is a lineage with a 900-year history and I’m still young. I can’t make all these decisions for the future right now, but of course it’s possible.”
    In response to another question, on how to stay aware of making small, virtuous acts in our busy and hectic lifestyles, the Gyalwang Karmapa replied that we need to learn how to let our minds relax.
    “In the twenty-first century, particularly for urban dwellers, our minds get really hectic and active. We’re unable to let our minds just rest naturally. It’s difficult for us to see the importance of small virtuous acts, or to even experience and feel what we are doing. What is most important for people who live in cities is that we need to learn how to let our minds rest naturally and relax. This is very important.
    “We often talk about meditating by following the breath, watching and meditating upon the in-breath and the out-breath. It’s very beneficial to do this. Normally because our minds are so hectic and harried, we’re unable to really pay attention to our breath and hardly even know that we’re breathing. And yet if our breath suddenly stopped we would die.
    “When we begin to just watch our breath, if we don’t think much about the future or the past, but just pay attention to the breath that we’re breathing right now and relax our mind within that, then only at that point can we really begin to appreciate our breath and see how important and valuable it really is. And, at that point we begin to get an appreciation of how amazing it is that we are alive and that we’re able to breathe. From that we can also see how important the small things in our surroundings are, and we can begin to appreciate and value the importance of small virtuous acts.
    “If we’re walking down the street,” the Karmapa said in response to yet another student, “normally we don’t pay attention to whether we’re stepping on any insects or not. However if we have a virtuous thought and because of that pay attention, for ourselves it’s a small act, but for the insect it’s a matter of life and death. From this perspective our small virtuous act can even become the cause of achieving liberation and omniscience.
    “If we think of doing virtue,” he concluded, “it’s not something that’s not already in our life that we then have to bring in extra from outside. It’s doing these small virtues within our everyday human life.”


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  • 02/12/15--21:44: Mahāmudrā

  • Title:  Mahāmudrā
    Artist: 17th Gyalwang Karmapa
    Language: Tibetan

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    in this video HH 17th Karmapa answers a few questions of youth in 2012, the last question is about Love and relationship and practice, this will start at 37:12 of the video, the following transscript will start on 42:50 :


    We can actually see our romantic relationship themselves as a spiritual practice. We don' t have to view them as two separate things.

    In fact if we can practice the dharma well, we will be able to be a source of true love, but if we can`t practice the dharma well, than we won`t be able to give any genuine love at all. So therefore our romantic relationships are actually a genuine practice of dharma. 

    And they don' t need to be viewed as separate from dharma whatsoever. Because relationships are in essence a relationship between two minds. Whether it is romatic relationships or family relationships, everything happens in terms of working with our minds and the way we respond to the events and other's minds. So it is a mind to mind relationship that we are working with.

    So we can try our best to practice that relationship as a dharma practice, as a practice of understanding our mind better and our working with our minds.

    But sometimes even if we try our best, we still fail in the relationship and it doesn t work. Nevertheless, if we approach it as a practitioner than we definitely must view the relationship as a spiritual training. We shouldn`t view our relationship being separate from the dharma. As a spiritual practitioner if we view our relationships are separate from the dharma, than that is a very strange situation to be in, because than what relevance is the relationship to you?

    We don`t need to be free from attachment also. Some people think that they might be going against buddhist teachings if they are in a relationship because the relationship involves attachment.But actually we don`t need to be free of attachment in the beginning; we can slowly work out developing freedom from attachment.

    And the important point underscoure there is that it is freedom from attachment that produces true love. Often what we think, is that if there is no attachment than there can not be any love. In order for there to be love there has to be attachment. That is the logical form we are setting up for ourselves. 

    But from the buddhist perspective if we free ourselves from attachment thats the the only way that we will be able to provide true love. So therefore the buddhist practice and spiritual excercice that we bring into relationships is gradually freeing ourselves from mundane attachments and offering true love.

    If we are able to do this as an authentic dharma practitioner than our relationships will go well and even thought they might not always work out, than we will be able to say that we had a relationship in which we didn`t harm the other person and that was beneficial for both people.

    by H.H. the 17th Karmapa


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    This is the precious statue of Pema Gyalpo, one of the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. The statue is a terma treasure revealed by the 15th Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje, the father of the second Jamgon Kongtrul, and presented to him. 
    http://www.kagyumonlam.org/English/News/Report/Report_20121230.html )

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    February 13, 2015

    The stupa is peaceful on this clear midmorning. Light falls through the Bodhi Tree, glancing off its shiny leaves and weaving its way through the spread of the ancient branches. Beneath its canopy Thai pilgrims, all dressed in white, follow ocher-robed monks around the stupa, the call and response of their chanting reverberating off the carved stone walls. A few seasoned pilgrims have gathered along the path, having noticed that a red carpet has been laid from the main gate, its triple arch covered in rose buds, down the wide flight of steps, along the marble path and into the temple; another red carpet circles the entire inner circumambulation path; and on the far side, the low stone lotus flowers marking the path of the Buddha have been overlaid with a thirty-foot strip of maroon silk, embroidered in a long row of gold lotuses.
    Slightly after ten, the Gyalwang Karmapa appears at the head of the sacred precinct’s stairs and walks down the red carpet into the main temple to bow at the feet of the golden Buddha. He offers five alms bowls filled with fruits of the season—oranges, pomegranates, grapes—each one decorated by a single pink lotus. The final offering is a new set of golden robes for the golden Buddha, followed by the famous praises of the Buddha, chanted by his entourage and led by the Karmapa. It begins:
      Skilled in means, you took birth in the Shakya clan.
      Though others could not, you vanquished Mara’s forces.
      Your body resplendent as a golden Mount Meru,
      O King of the Shakyas, I prostrate to you.
    The Karmapa then walked around the stupa and back up the red carpet into the reception hall of the Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee. After a few moments, he reemerged and entered the temple grounds one more time to take the long circumambulation around the outside. The wide path behind him is filled with followers who go with him as he exits the grounds and moves along the broad walkway, its pink stone dappled with the shadows of bodhi leaves. Here the crowd following the Karmapa fans out into a more spacious grouping as he moves quickly along to his car waiting at the last steps.


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    The 33rd Kagyu Monlam will be held during the first Tibetan month, the “Month of Miracles,” of the Fire Monkey year, February 2016, in Bodhgaya, India. The Gyalwang Karmapa will teach the chapter on  mandala offerings from The Torch of True Meaning on February 12 and 13 as well as on the Kadampa master Potowa’s Long Soliloquy during the actual Monlam. On February 14, there will be a ceremony to commemorate the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa. The main Kagyu Monlam will be held for seven days from February 16 to 22. There will also be an Ocean of Kagyu Songs ganachakra offering for those who have completed one hundred thousand repetitions of all four special preliminaries. The Monlam will conclude with the Marme Monlam on February 23. For details, see the schedule below.

    Virtue in the Beginning
    Teachings on The Torch of True Meaning
    Dates: February 12-13, 2016
    Location: Monlam Pavilion
    I       8:00–9:00 am         Teachings on mandala offerings from
                                          The Torch of True Meaning
            9:00–9:30 am         Tea Break
            9:30–10:30 am       Accumulation of mandala offerings
    II      2:00–3:00 pm         Teachings on mandala offerings from
                                          The Torch of True Meaning
            3:00–3:30 pm         Tea Break
            3:30–4:30 pm         Accumulation of mandala offerings

    A Commemoration of the Sixteenth Karmapa
    Date: February 14, 2016
    Time: 9:00 am
    Location: Monlam Pavilion
    Examination of Monastic Forms
    Dates: February 12–14, 2016
    Time: 7:00–9:00 pm
    Location: Monlam Pavilion
    Virtue in the Middle: The Kagyu Monlam
    Dates: February 16–22, 2016
    Location: Monlam Pavilion 
    Day 1: Tuesday, February 16
            I       6:00–8:30 am       Mahayana Sojong, Twenty-Branch Monlam
            II      9:00–10:30 am     Teachings on Mind Training: Potowa’s Long Soliloquy
            III    1:30–3:00 pm        The Noble Aspiration for Excellent Conduct,
    Maitreya’s Aspiration,
    Aspiration from The Way of the Bodhisattva
            IV    3:30–5:00 pm        The Twenty-Branch Monlam
    Day 2: Wednesday, February 17
            I       6:00–8:30 am       Mahayana Sojong,The Twenty-Branch Monlam
            II      9:00–10:30 am     Teachings on Mind Training: Potowa’s Long Soliloquy
            III    1:30–3:00 pm        The Noble Aspiration for Excellent Conduct,
    The Sukhavati Prayer “I Prostrate with Respect…”
            IV    3:30–5:00 pm        The Twenty-Branch Monlam
                    7:30 pm                The Ocean of Kagyu Songs Ganachakra Offering
    Day 3: Thursday, February 18
            I       6:00–8:30 am        Mahayana Sojong,The Twenty-Branch Monlam
            II      9:00–10:30 am      Teachings on Mind Training: Potowa’s Long Soliloquy
            III    1:30–3:00 pm         Prayers to Tara and Saraswati
            IV    3:30–5:00 pm         The Twenty-Branch Monlam
    Day 4: Friday, February 19
            I       6:00–8:30 am          Mahayana Sojong,The Twenty-Branch Monlam
            II      9:00–10:30 am        Teachings on Mind Training: Potowa’s Long Soliloquy
            III    1:30–3:00 pm           Prayers to Guru Rinpoche
            IV    3:30–5:00 pm           The Twenty-Branch Monlam
    Day 5: Saturday, February 20
            I       6:00–8:00 am          Mahayana Sojong,The Twenty-Branch Monlam
                    8:00 am                  Kangyur Procession
            II      9:00–10:30 am        Reading the Kangyur
            III    1:30–3:00 pm           Prayers for the Well-Being of Tibet
            IV    3:30–5:00 pm          The Twenty-Branch Monlam
    Day 6: Sunday, February 21
            I       6:00–11:00 am        Mahayana Sojong, Sixteen Arhats Puja
                    7:00 am                  Alms Procession
            III    1:30–3:00 pm          Sutra in Three Sections, Reciting Akshobhya Sutras
            IV    3:30–5:00 pm          The Twenty-Branch Monlam
                    5:00 pm                  Akshobhya Fire Puja
    Day 7: Monday, February 22
            I       6:00–8:30 am          Mahayana Sojong, Medicine Buddha
            II      9:00–10:30 am        Offerings to the Gurus
            III    1:00–2:30 pm           Offerings to the Gurus
            IV    3:00–5:00 pm           Sponsor Appreciation
    Virtue in the End: The Marme Monlam
    Dates: February 23, 2016
    Time: 7:30 pm
    Location: Monlam Pavilion


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    The Gyalwang Karmapa would like to wish all teachers, students and friends around the world a very happy Losar for the new year ahead. Please click the image below for a full size version.

    May the Year of the Wood Sheep bring renewal to this planet,
    and harmony amongst all beings who depend upon it.

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    22 February 2015
    Vajra Vidya, Sarnath
    On 19 February the Gyalwang Karmapa enjoyed a low-key Losar or Tibetan New Year celebration in the sacred place of Bodhgaya. He began the Year of the Wood Sheep with a morning puja, individually blessing all those in attendance, before he joined around 150 close disciples, friends, and locals for a grand Losar lunch offered by Tsurphu Labrang.
    After spending the first day of the New Year in the place where the Buddha attained ultimate awakening, on 20 February, the second day of the new year, the Karmapa followed in the Buddha’s own footsteps after enlightenment and journeyed west to Sarnath, to the place where the Buddha offered a Dharma teaching to his first five disciples and thus turned the wheel of Dharma for the very first time.
    The Karmapa set off from Tergar Monastery in Bodhgaya in the early afternoon and finally reached Vajra Vidya Monastery in Sarnath just as the sun slowly dipped into the horizon, its last rays striking off the curved golden rooftops of the monastery and casting a warm, burnished glow.
    Crowds of devotees and well-wishers lined the road leading to the monastery gates as the day’s heat dissipated into the late afternoon, their arms laden with white silk khatas and sticks of fragrant incense. They included local Tibetan and Himalayan devotees resplendent in pristine new Losar silk chupas, a large group of international disciples who had arrived directly from Bodhgaya just moments before, and still others who spontaneously appeared from the nearby ancient and holy city of Varanasi, with the good fortune to be in the right place at exactly the right moment to meet and greet the Karmapa that day.
    The Gyalwang Karmapa was received joyfully at Vajra Vidya monastery by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, a senior and highly respected Kagyu lineage guru, who is both abbot of the monastery and the Karmapa’s own main tutor.
    The third day of the New Year, 21 February, began with a morning for celebrating the long life of the gurus. A special puja of Amitayus from the Karmapa’s tradition, known as the Long Life Practice Uniting the Three Roots was dedicated to Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche’s long life. It began early in the morning, with the Gyalwang Karmapa arriving around 7.30am to preside. As rays of morning sunshine poured into the shrine room, spontaneously enveloping members of the gathering in haloes of light, Thrangu Rinpoche made tenshuk or extensive long life offerings to the Karmapa. These were then reciprocated by the Tsurphu Labrang, led by Jetsunma Ngodup Pelzom, who offered tenshuk back to Thrangu Rinpoche.
    Later that evening the Gyalwang Karmapa and Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche sat side by side and watched as monks of all ages from Vajra Vidya Monastery staged their annual Losar show. The youngest monks offered joyful song and dance performances while the main act was a play in Tibetan opera style, based on the life of Gyalpo Dimey Kunden, a Tibetan prince renowned for his extraordinary generosity. Under an exquisitely decorated pavilion hanging with silken brocades, the monks donned classical Indian-style costumes of lustrous silks, headpieces, and glittering sequins as they performed this story that demonstrates the deep inner richness of the perfection of generosity. The evening ended with gifts from Tsurphu Labrang distributed to the performers as well as to the talented young monks who had won prizes in lively Losar races and games staged earlier that day.


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    ONE EARLY MORNING [in 1980] His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa generously granted an interview to the readers of Densal. What follows is the text of that interview, word for word, as translated by Ngodup Tsering Burkhar. In it, His Holiness touches on many important aspects of spiritual practice, the Kagyu lineage, and life in the world today for the Dharma practitioner. It is a timely and most valuable teaching for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

    Densal: This is your third tour to America. Do you have any observations you would like to share about it, and about the growth of the Dharma in the United States?

    H.H.: The responsibility of the teacher is to always give the teachings. It doesn't matter that only a short time has passed, or a long time has passed; what matters is that the teachings are continuously given. Sometimes it may seem to be more appropriate to teach because most people are at leisure and have a lot of time, and it appears to be a good time to give teachings. Maybe at other times it may appear that the teachings should not be given because people are busy and perhaps they are not interested. It is important not to discriminate in this way as to time or to place, but to make the teachings constantly available. If only one person is interested, the teaching must be made available. Whether there are just a few people, hundreds of people, or even millions of people interested, the Dharma teaching must go on without any sense of satisfaction or discouragement. The Dharma teaching must continue at all times, transcending the appearances of the time.

    Another situation that might arise is that because of time or what we may have done or accomplished, we feel that maybe now we should stop practicing or listening to teachings. This is not the Dharma path. You keep going. That is the bodhisattva's way. As long as it benefits even one being you have to, without any sense of discouragement, go on.

    If you have 100 percent dedication and confidence in the teachings, then every living situation can be a part of the practice. You can be living the practice instead of just doing it. Regarding the establishment of the Dharma anywhere, it happens as a result of what takes place on an individual basis; it is the practitioner's responsibility. It is understanding the Dharma properly, respecting the truth of Karma, the truth of cause and effect. One respects the truth of the teachings and knows that this is something that one must live up to and preserve. But if beings fail to respect the truth of the teachings, or the truth of cause and effect, which is also the truth of the teachings, then that would not further the establishment of the Dharma.

    Densal: More than anything I think one problem Westerners in the Dharma face is the desire to achieve ultimate spiritual realization in this life, coupled with the fact that they must work full-time in the world at various time-consuming careers. How can one handle this life situation and travel the Mahamudra path effectively? It has been said that action can also be meditation. Could you please clarify this?

    H.H.: We have for many, many lifetimes been caught up in the samsaric existence because of fascination with our habitual patterns, and are compelled for this reason to continue the patterns in the same way that we had in the past. At this time in our lives, as a result of whatever virtuous actions that we have formerly performed, some degree of awakening has arisen. A very precious waking state has come about in our consciousness, and that is our connection with the Dharma.

    Once we are connected with the Dharma in such a way that we have some understanding, we also have some sense of direction as to where we are going. It is like wanting to go to California. You know that there is a particular train, and that train takes you to California. You have that understanding. Then it becomes a matter of individual realization of the need, the urgent need perhaps, to get to California. Then there is boarding the train. It is possible for one to do such a thing, to make the decision, "Yes, this is it, I am going to travel."

    And there is the greater possibility that you will get to California once you have boarded the train. And maybe there are certain possibilities of your not getting there, of something happening on the way. And if something happens on the way, an accident or something, you know that the possibilities of getting to California are still there. You haven't yet reached it, but you have some sense of direction as far as your knowing that it is possible to get there.

    And this is, one could say, like the blessings of the Dharma: that even though one is not able to realize enlightenment in one lifetime, the blessings of the practice and the Dharma are continuous. There is a sense of optimism about the possibilities of getting to California, even though you haven't arrived. That is the same situation that takes place in your Dharma life. The blessings continue, even though you could not attain the experience of enlightenment in this lifetime.

    If you have a proper direction, in the state of the Bardo, there occurs what is like the meeting of the mother and son. It is an opportunity to rely on your own ability to understand and to realize, and utilize the Dharma blessings at that moment in the Bardo in order to recognize the "mother," so to speak. Your experience of clear light takes place. And realization is very much possible. This has been witnessed by the teaching and is guaranteed by the teaching. It is definitely possible for people to experience that sort of thing.

    Densal: Even though people find themselves caught up in a samsaric whirlwind, they can maintain their equanimity and attain the realization in Mahamudra?

    H.H.: Yes, it is possible. It is a matter of confidence in the teachings. If you have 100 percent confidence in the teachings, your realization is not purely dependent on just formal practices. If you have 100 percent dedication and confidence in the teachings, then every living situation can be a part of the practice. You can be living the practice, instead of just doing it. But the more you lack the confidence, the more you will find yourself separated from the Dharma.

    Densal: Part of the training within the Kagyu lineage is the three-year, three-month retreat. At KTD already there is one nun in such a retreat. Does the monastery project include plans for a three-year retreat center here in the U.S.? And could you explain how the three-year retreat relates to the American people, many of whom are oriented toward activity and have difficulty in seeing the practicality of such an undertaking?

    H.H.: Actually the monastery project itself is to facilitate the practice. The purpose of the monastery is to be able to help create a proper environment, to establish a solid, structured environment for the practice of the Dharma. And the practices of the three-year retreat are definitely included. Not only are they included as far as the outer facilities are concerned, but in terms of providing the basic needs. I have in mind much concern as to how that could be worked out.

    Before I leave this country, it is my plan and vision to talk to many people about this, to awaken their interest and make Dharma benefactors aware of the situation. If they could help and support the three-year retreat, it would be very beneficial for them, though they themselves might not be able to do the three-year retreat. They will actually accumulate equal benefit, as much as those who will do the three-year retreat. As far as those who are able to do the retreat are concerned, of course they will have tremendous benefit coming as a result of the practice. And it is also my vision that gradually people will find more time in their lives to do retreat, as we are able to provide the facilities for people to take advantage of. Unlike some time ago, we now see many people trying to make time for the practice, and many are seeing the possibility for making time. There is much more interest.

    I see in the future many people doing these kinds of practices, and they will be given the opportunities to do them. For those who are not able to do it, it is possible for equal experiences to be achieved. The thing is that during the three-year retreat, one does a lot of meditation practices: the fulfillment-stage and development-stage meditation practices, and the recitation of the mantras, and many other things. No matter how ignorant a person is, it is guaranteed that the three-year practice will bring a reasonable experience of the teachings to the mind of the person. The retreat situation involves relating to the preliminary practices as well as the main practices, and when one has that kind of grasp of both the preliminary and the main practices, certain experience is guaranteed. Now, if someone has a greater wisdom and capacity for penetrating the teaching, then even without doing a three-year retreat, it is possible for one to experience definite understanding and realization.

    Densal: Do you see more Westerners being trained as qualified teachers and holders of the lineage?

    H.H.: Yes, I feel it is important that people become able to take care of the Dharma, and are not always in a position of dependence. I am confident that we will be able to produce such teachers, and producing such people is very important.

    Densal: You are the recognized head of an important lineage, the guru to many thousands of people. There are frequently misconceptions about what a spiritual teacher is in this tradition. Could you explain, in your own words, what is the guru?

    H.H.: I will tell you what a guru is not. That is, somebody who is interested in fame, teaching for the sake of notoriety, for the sake of wealth; or one who, when he is in the presence of many people, puts on all the qualities of goodness that might be appropriate for a teacher: wearing the mask of the Dharma, so to speak, using whatever appearances are necessary, but insincerely. The reality is much different. When he is away from a crowd of people, he actually needs as much as anyone else needs, wants as much as anyone else wants, if not more. Discrimination between beings, selfishness, all these negative states are present in him, and have not been transformed. That is, unfortunately, what takes place too frequently these days, and that brings a negative influence to the spiritual path and spiritual friends in general. It fosters a negative view altogether among people who are ignorant as far as who should be regarded a true guru. They might encounter someone who is a true teacher, but they fail to relate to him because of having gone through other experiences of the negative nature I have already explained. Now these days, actually, to encounter a very true guru is difficult.

    So if you encounter a spiritual friend who is a guru, look to see that he is willing to help himself at the same time that he is willing to help you; also, if he is capable of helping you. He should have a desire to help you as much as he helps himself. In times like these, such a one may be considered a spiritual friend. The actual quality of a guru should be a willingness to work for the benefit of others, along with the ability to work for the benefit of others. And there are different levels of gurus, as well. There are different degrees of being able to benefit others, different degrees of having the strength and the wisdom to reach beings. It is difficult, then, to be specific about qualities of gurus, yet we can come to the conclusion that as long as the teacher is selflessly benefiting beings somewhere, that this person may be worthwhile to be recognized as a spiritual friend and as a guru.

    Densal: Your Holiness, do you have any special message you would like to give to your students, disciples, and interested people who will read this newsletter; some advice, perhaps, in these difficult times?

    H.H.: The practice of the Dharma is a matter of serious importance; people have to realize that. It is a precious opportunity that has come about, one that has never come about before. It is very precious because it is so rare. The time in which you can use the opportunity is quite limited, and this makes it even more precious. I would like to repeat that a rare and precious opportunity which has never come before has manifested when you find the Dharma in your life. It is a historic situation, a landmark. But the time to take advantage of this opportunity, again, is limited. Therefore we have to realize the great value of the opportunity. The best way to do this is to engage oneself in the practice of the Dharma as sincerely as possible. Otherwise the opportunity could fade away. There is this danger, most certainly, that one could lose this opportunity. It could become more and more distant, and this would be a very unfortunate situation.

    It is like crystals that are put together with a piece of a diamond in the same container. They are all regarded as the same. They are neglected, dust settles on them, and they cannot be appreciated any more. But if, on the other hand, they are cleaned and the diamond is placed on a gold stand with light shining on it, then you will, of course, be able to appreciate it. You will see very clearly that it is a diamond, and that it is not an ordinary crystal. That degree of understanding and recognition is very important.

    Now, in sincerely practicing and studying the Dharma, whatever particular line of study and practice one is pursuing, it is important to retain respect for other schools and religions. An example can be found in Buddhism itself, where people try to discriminate between Hinayana and Mahayana. That is very much against the Dharma, an entirely wrong view. One must have equal respect for the Hinayana as well as the Mahayana teachings.

    Also respect is necessary for the established religions, the religions that have been prevalent in this country for hundreds of years. These religions have played a significant part in the lives of many people. If one is going to practice some other religion, it must not be in denial of any existing religion. One has freedom of religion, freedom of practice, and so one chooses to practice a particular faith. But that choice must not include rejection, denial, or a sectarian disrespect for other paths. That is not in accordance with the practice of the Dharma.

    Since an individual does have the freedom to choose, however, it is important to commit oneself to a particular spiritual practice and teacher, taking advantage of the teachings and practices that one receives, and being oneself worthy of the teachings through one's continuous practice. There is even the possibility of certain students becoming more realized than their teachers. This can happen. So one can see possibilities and take advantage of them, knowing that one has the ability to actually master the teaching.

    Having a very definite relationship with the teacher, the teaching, and putting effort into studying is essential if one wishes any attainment. It is not done out of or sectarianism. If one goes to a teacher and tries to study and practice a little bit, then goes to another and does the same, one would not experience definite improvement and success. So from that perspective, consistently relating to a particular line of practice and teachings is vital.

    Densal: Do you see this training in an established religion as a good ground foundation for one who then chooses the Buddhist path?

    H.H.: There is a general benefit in all practices as long as they have a religious or spiritual orientation, and as long as the tenets of the tradition are followed. It is in some way or another beneficial. But it is a different path.

    Again, respecting all schools of teachings is important, be it Buddhism or any other. At the same time, you are free to choose. Choose a path with a meaningful experience in mind. For instance, if something tastes sour, you will want to taste its sourness, or if it is sweet or bitter you also will want to be able to taste it. Whatever practice you do, do it to the point of being able to experience its essence. Experiencing is very important. To develop a capacity for experiencing, a relationship with a particular teaching and practice is needed.

    One of the reasons all the criticism comes from people is because they are so impatient and so confused that they go here and there, they try to relate to a teaching, get infatuated and try to do something fast, and they don't get anything reasonably understood, achieve any experience. How could they? How could they experience anything? So they go to another place and spend some time, a short time, and expect that something will happen immediately. If it is a true path and a true teaching, it doesn't come about just like that. It takes time.

    The Mahayana teaching, for instance, is very precious. It takes a lot of output in the way of your sincerity, your commitment, and your genuineness. It doesn't happen instantly. It is not that cheap. So then what happens is you start criticizing this or that particular school, saying that it is not worthwhile, the practice is not good, or the teaching is not good, or whatever. You don't have any ground for criticism. And besides, having such an unhealthy attitude does one no good at all. Such an unhealthy attitude expressed in the open causes a lot of harm not only to yourself but to others. You place obstacles in the path of others who are making attempts to connect themselves to some kind of higher teaching. So that becomes a problem.
    Along with devotion to your study and practice, and sincere openness toward others, there is another attitude to maintain: simply, no political games. That is, not going about with a friendly appearance on the outside, while inside it is something else again. Outwardly and inwardly you must lend whatever friendship and support to others that you are able, and at the same time do your practice. Respect and live your own life, and do your own practice properly. You have to have some confidence and trust in the teaching and a sense of commitment, which is like surrendering to the teaching. That is absolutely important. It does not come in an easy way.

    So what I would like to get across is this: people enter the Mahayana path and expect some instant realization, without having any confidence in the teaching, any respect toward the teaching, or any genuine commitment, and they are under a serious misunderstanding. If your commitment is sincere, and you have genuine confidence and trust, then something can take place in the way of experience. The validity of the teaching is witnessed by thousands of years of practice and continuity.

    If you cannot have trust and confidence, then I can frankly say that you are fooling yourself. You must have a certain amount of patience, a certain amount of confidence. The greater the confidence and trust that you are able to have, the quicker your realization, and within one lifetime you could make a significant achievement and experience a satisfactory realization. It is something that you could feel was worth all the time and energy that you put into it. If you are able to have total trust and confidence and exert yourself, then definitely within one lifetime you could have an extraordinarily meaningful accomplishment. If you are not able to have total trust, but have some, and also do some practice, even then you can achieve something.

    You have heard as well as seen monks who have done some practices, but in their daily life you do not see anything different about them, until they die and sit in meditation for three days after death. If not during one's lifetime, there is a point during the bardo when there occurs a very pure moment. When that very complete, clear moment arises, the ability you have developed may bring the realization of a higher state of mind.

    The third thing that I would like to say is that people have to definitely work and support themselves. When you have the enlightened attitude you have a responsibility to the people around you, to your country. You care about them. You are always with your practice, you are inseparable from it, you seize opportunities to benefit others and you will benefit others in whatever way you can. You have been in this country, you were born in this country. Many people who will read this are from families that have been here for generations. This country has been an important place for you. You have to offer respect for your grandparents, and you must live a decent life, a dignified life that upholds the traditions of your ancestors, that meets the approval of society, your parents, and yourself.

    Also you have to set a decent and dignified example for generations to come. If you are really going to serve this country and help its people, this seems like a reasonable way, rather than belonging to this party and that party, and getting involved in this competition and that competition, and all kinds of politics. As practitioners of the Dharma we don't have to deny politics and reject politics, but we don't have to play those games, either. It is not necessary, it is not important, it is not needed.

    If you are working maybe in a hospital, you can see how you might have the opportunity and responsibility to help people. In the same way, whatever work you have taken, there are definitely people that you can benefit. So you should serve your people, serve your country, not expecting your country to serve you. And that's part of the practice of the Dharma. Not working is not taking responsibility. If you are a practitioner of the Dharma practicing the Mahayana teachings, that means you have something to be proud of, something to be worthy of, something to be decent about.

    But many people go around like some kind of outcast. That is not in accordance with the teaching, to come on like some kind of outcast, in rags, with long hair, unwashed, as if you are a drug addict or something. This is not the proper way to present yourself. You are not maintaining self respect, you are not respecting the Dharma that you are practicing, and you are not creating the proper outlook that the excellent Dharma is worthy of.

    This is the message to the practitioners of the Dharma: that they must be dignified internally as well as externally, and that their internal dignity must reflect outwardly also. We are not drug addicts. Wearing decent clothes, and being a decent human being, and serving your country, your people, serving the Dharma, and also yourself, being a self-respecting person is the Dharma path. How are you to benefit beings by looking as if you are completely discarded from the society? By putting forth that appearance, you are not being responsible or reflecting the enlightened attitude.

    If you are practicing the enlightened attitude, you should naturally be able to attract people so that seeing you, people might think, "Yes, these people definitely seem to be decent people, I think I could relate to them, and could ask something of these people. They might even be able to help me." So that you appear capable of giving help, or at least capable of giving some direction toward help. We are proud of ourselves as examples of the Dharma. If you are going around in rags, not taking care of your body, and going in the world like a misfit, it makes a very bad impression of you, of the Dharma center that you are involved with, and also of you as a person of this country, which means that you bring disrespect and a bad impression to this country and its people.

    These are certain points that before I leave I would like to offer for people to use. I hope that whoever hears these words, whether you are a Dharma practitioner or not, or involved in Buddhism or not, that it will make some sense to you. It comes sincerely and truly, not with any put-on, or masquerade or diplomacy, but truly straight and clean. With integrity and sincerity you can serve beings, and as you work in the Dharma you will serve many beings, and that is the greatness of the Mahayana teaching and practice. You don't have to be a dropout from the community, the society or the family. You are not. You have dignity.

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    His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa has graciously agreed to perform Long-Life Empowerment ceremony as requested by Karmapa Service Society in Queens. The ceremony will be performed in Elite Palace on Monday, April 13, 2015.

    The tickets will be available at our office on Sunday and Satuday, from 9am-4pm. For more detail contact us on:

    917-294-2636  / 646-671-0041
    718-708-1730 / 347-324-7765


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    His Holiness Karmapa will visit the United States in 2015 and that, during this time, he will visit Seattle and reside at Nalanda West from May 5-11, 2015! This opportunity arose due to recent requests to His Holiness by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and due to the past invitations of Nalandabodhi. 

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    His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, will soon be embarking on a limited US tour that will see him visiting at several universities, including California’s Stanford University. This will be His Holiness’s third visit to the States. According to a source involved with the planning of the tour, an East Coast leg with stops in the New York and Boston areas is confirmed, with details forthcoming. We will share all such details when they become available.
    The Karmapa’s talk at Stanford will take place on March 17, 2015 and be called “Caring Connections: Compassion, Technology and the Environment.” Click here for more details and to order tickets.

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    Tuesday, March 17


    Stanford University

    Memorial Auditoriu

    Caring Connections: Compassion, Technology and the Environment.

    Monday, April 13


    Elite Palace

    69-02 Garfield Ave, Woodside, NY 11377

    Long-Life Empowerment 

     May 5-11

    Nalandabodhi Seattle

     (Last updated on Feb 28, 2015)

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    Wonderful News!

    The Gyalwang Karmapa will be giving a teaching on the Four Dharmas of Gampopa and bestowing the Akshobhya empowerment and teaching on April 11-12 in Queens, New York City.

    Limited tickets will be released at 10am, on Monday, March 2, 2015.

    The practice of Akshobhya is especially effective for the two-fold purification of the non-virtue of killing, and the disturbing emotion of anger. The Karmapa strongly encourages the practice of Akshobhya as a means to purify negative thoughts and actions rampant in the present age of degeneration.
    1. Purification of the Non-Virtue of Killing; rapid advancement of technology has led to unprecedented loss of lives – whether through animal husbandry or war and conflict. As a result, the vast accumulation of negative karma is also unparalleled. Buddha Akshobhya’s immense power of purification can remedy the non-virtue of killing.
    2. Purification of the Disturbing Emotion of Anger; one of the five Dhyana Buddhas, Akshobhya, is also known as Mitrugpa in Tibetan, ‘the immovable, stable and changeless Buddha’, who remains undisturbed by anger or hatred. According to the scriptures, while Akshobhya was a Bodhisattva on the path of practice, he vowed, ‘From this moment until Enlightenment, I will not generate anger towards any sentient beings.’ After practicing diligently, he eventually achieved Enlightenment as Buddha Akshobhya. As such, the practice of Akshobhya is particularly forceful for the pacification of anger.
    Buddha Akshobhya promised that the merit gained by reciting a hundred thousand of his long Dharani mantras, and making images of him can be dedicated to both the living and deceased, to secure their release from the lower realms of existence, and bring about rebirth in fortunate circumstances.
    The Gyalwang Karmapa has also commended that this practice is very suitable in the 21 century, at a time when negative forces are increasing in the world.
    Danang Foundation has respectfully requested His Holiness for the Akshobhya empowerment and teachings, in the hope to pacify conflict, natural disasters and diseases, in the world and, principally, in the U.S.. For this special occasion, His Holiness will also give the supreme teachings on the Four Dharmas of Gampopa.
    Details of the empowerment and teachings as follows:
    Date: April 11,2015
    Time: 9:30am – 12pm Four Dharmas of Gampopa
    Venue:  Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel.  135-20 39th Abe. Ballroom, Flushing, NY 11354
    Date: April 12,2015
    Time: 9:30am – 12pm  The practice of Akshobya 3:00pm – 5:30pm Akshobya Empowerment.
    Venue:  Terrace On the Park.  111th Street and 52nd Avenue, Queens, NY 11368
    All Dharma brothers and sisters are highly encouraged to join us for this rare occasion.





    達朗普善基金會 http://www.da-nang.org/index.html

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    KTC-NJ is thrilled to announce that His Holiness the 17th Karmapa is planning his third visit to the United States, and he has agreed at our request to bestow a public teaching and empowerment in South Jersey. Further details will be provided very soon.  On March 4th a dedicated event webpage and online ticket sell will be available here. 


    法王行宮非常榮幸邀請尊貴的 噶瑪巴於第三次訪美時,再度光臨行宮(4月2日-4月6日),並撥冗給予信眾「禪修」的講法和「文殊菩薩」的灌頂。有關法會詳細訊息,網上售票資訊,將於下星期在行宮網站 www.ktcnj.org 登出,敬請隨時上網留意最新法訊。

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    Tuesday, March 17, 2015
    5:00 pm
    Memorial Auditorium (In Memorial Hall) Map
    Sponsored by:
    Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

    The Center for Compassion & Altruism Research & Education (CCARE) is honored to host “Caring Connections: Compassion, Technology and the Environment”, a talk presented by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, which will be followed by a dialogue with CCARE’s Founder and Director, Dr. James Doty.
    About The KarmapaThe Karmapa is the head of the 900 year old Karma Kagyu school, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and guide to millions of Buddhists around the world.
    As a scholar and meditation master, as well as painter, poet, songwriter and playwright, the Gyalwang Karmapa embodies a wide range of the activities that Karmapas have engaged in over the centuries. As an environmental activist, computer enthusiast and world spiritual leader whose teachings are often webcast live, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa has brought the Karmapa lineage’s activities fully into the 21st century.
    Currently 29 years old, the Karmapa resides in his temporary home at Gyuto Monastery in India after making an escape from Tibet in the year 2000.
    To learn more about the Karmapa, please visit his official website at http://kagyuoffice.org/karmapa/
    UPDATE: We have some wonderful news to share that generous donors have offered to cover the cost of this event so that ticket holders may attend this event at no cost. Going forward there will be no charge for tickets.
    For those who have already purchased tickets, a refund will automatically be issued back to the credit card you used for the order in 3-5 business days.  You will also receive an updated email confirmation showing the refund as well as your new free tickets.  If you received your tickets via email please disregard these tickets and look for your new tickets in your inbox in the next 3-5 business days.
    Tuesday, March 17, 2015.
    5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
    Tickets are required and are available at by going to:
    General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
    650.725.2787, ticketorders@stanford.edu
    Visit this website

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    Kunzang Palchen Ling:

    We are extremely delighted to announce the arrival of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa to Kunzang Palchen Ling on Friday morning, April 24, 2015, and invite you to join us in this most auspicious gathering. More details will be shared as they become available. Please visit our Facebook and website periodically for updates.


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    Photo, Sarite Sanders

    Dear Dharma Friend:

    Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) is honored to announce the visit of His Holiness Karmapa to the United States.

    While His Holiness will have many activities during his upcoming US tour this spring, we want you to know about a special one-day KTD event planned for the general public in Kingston, NY on Saturday, April 18. 

    KTD decided not to have a large outdoor tent public event at KTD this year; instead, the public event will be held at the historic Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in nearby Kingston, a spacious comfortable theater that seats 1,500 people.

    So you will want to mark your calendar and order tickets when they go on sale around the middle of March.

    Karmapa Chenno!

    Best wishes,
    Your Dharma Family at KTD

    His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa

    Bestowal of Refuge Vow with Teaching:
    “The Development of Genuine Compassion”

     Saturday, April 18, 2015 at UPAC Theater
    601 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401

    Starting around the middle of March, tickets can be purchased from UPAC box office or Ticketmaster.

    UPAC Box Office: www.bardavon.org Click on “Calendar” then “UPAC events”
    Or call UPAC Box Office (845) 339-6088 Tuesday – Friday 11 am to 5 pm
    The one-day teaching will have two sessions: 10 am – 12 noon and 3 pm – 5 pm

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