Karmapa Service Society, an association founded by members of New York’s Himalayan community, will be hosting His Holiness the Karmapa for a long-life empowerment and blessing on April 13, 2015. They have written in and shared photos of their preparation for this moment of such momentous importance to the Himalayan community in New York.
“We at Karmapa Service Society have been very busy preparing for His Holiness the Karmapa at our center in Jackson Heights, Queens. This is our first large event and even though we are a small group, we are humbled and honored to receive His Holiness. On Sunday, we once again visited the event site and are very excited because we expect it to be a full house.
“Although our KSS members have left our Himalayan homes and moved to the United States, we wish to welcome His Holiness with a traditional ceremony. We want His Holiness and everyone to know that we still keep faith in our tradition and that is why we are preparing a welcome reception with offering tormas and ritual ornaments.
“We are so fortunate to have His Holiness honor us with this visit and hope that many people will receive his blessings through this event. May all beings benefit greatly through our sincere activities!”
His Holiness Karmapa studied the sciences with Daniel Goleman.
April , 2009 - Dharamsala
His Holiness Karmapa studied the sciences with Daniel Goleman.
April , 2009 - Dharamsala
Tergar Community has announced that Dan Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, will be moderating the dialogue between His Holiness the Karmapa, Richard Davidson and Sona Dimidjian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 27.
In under an hour, the seats set aside for the general public for that dialogue have all been issued. The venue seats 800. We are working hard to arrange a webcast so no one is left out.
The talk is entitled “The Heart, the Brain, and Society: Buddhist and Scientific Perspectives On the Cultivation of Well-being” and includes a dialogue with Richard Davidson and Sona Dimidjian.
The following description comes from the website of Tergar- which is co-hosting the events in Madison:
“Is well-being a skill that we can learn, in the same way that we can train our bodies to be healthier and more resilient? If so, how can we build communities that foster wisdom and compassion, rather than competition and conflict? These questions have prompted a groundbreaking dialogue between some of the world’s leading scientists and spiritual leaders.
“Please join us for a rare opportunity to spend the evening with three remarkable individuals who are at the center of this dialogue. His Holiness the 17th Karmapa is the head of one of Tibet’s four main Buddhist lineages and is at the forefront of efforts to raise awareness of gender equality and environmental sustainability in traditional Buddhist communities. Dr. Richard Davidson is a renowned neuroscientist who has pioneered the rigorous scientific study of emotion and meditation. Dr. Sona Dimidjian is at the forefront of efforts to understand women’s mental health issues, and in particular how mindfulness may be used to alleviate depression during and after pregnancy.”
We know that you’re just as thrilled as we are to hear that His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa's will visit to KTC on April 24, 2015. Everyone who is able to attend will receive an extraordinary blessing just by being in his presence.
Right now, we’re in the midst of finalizing the details of His Holiness’ visit. Registration isn’t open yet and tickets are not yet available. Please watch our website homepage www.kagyu.com for registration; we hope to have it up within a couple of days.
Please note that all those wishing to attend the event at KTC must register and must receive a ticket. An email, a telephone call, or verbal communication addressed to KTC staff or lamas will not serve as registration.
All registration will be handled online using PayPal or a credit card. We will not be able to accept registration over the phone or by email. Reservations are on a first-come/first-served basis. Payment in full must be received at the time registration.
If you’re unable to use PayPal or a credit card online, please explain why by contacting us at KarmapaKTC@yahoo.com and we’ll certainly try to do our best to accommodate you.
We ask that you watch our website for updates and carefully read all posts regarding this auspicious event. Should you have questions, please don't hesitate to email KarmapaKTC@gmail.com. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
One final note: We’ll be using a service called Eventbrite for registration. It is possible that email messages from a commercial services such as EventBrite may be automatically filtered out of your inbox as spam or junk mail. Please be sure to check your spam folder or trash before you empty it.
We are extremely happy to announce that TANC members are invited to His Holiness 17th Gyalwa Karmapa's event at the Craneway Pavilion on Thursday, March 19th at 7.30pm. His Holiness will give blessing and teaching for Tibetans, Himalayan and Western followers. Entry is free for Tibetans but Tibetans are highly RECOMMENDED to be TANC members. Community members are highly encouraged to to be there at least an hour early. If you are not a TANC member and need to renew, please contact TANC’s membership coordinator, Yangchen Dolkar at (510) 774-0853.
Ogyen Trinley Dorje to re-unite with students, faculty who studied with him in India
REDLANDS, Calif., March 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- His Holiness the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, will visit the University of Redlandson March 23 and 24 and offer a live-streamed public lecture in his only Southern California stop during his rare two-month trip to the United States.
The Karmapa – a 29-year-old Buddhist spiritual leader who heads the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and guides millions of Buddhists around the world – will accept an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, presented by University President Dr. Ralph W. Kuncl. The Karmapa will then give a free public lecture, "Living Interdependence," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 24in Memorial Chapel.
More than 1,700 people will watch the sold-out ceremony at the University. The lecture also will be live streamed via the Karmapa'swebcast page.
The Karmapa's two-day visit is a reflection of his special connection to the University of Redlands and its students. In 2011 and 2013, two groups of students from Dr. Karen Derris' Johnston Center May term seminars traveled to India to study with the Karmapa. His conversations with Redlands students in 2011 formed the basis of his book, The Heart is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside and Out (Shambala, 2013), which was co-edited by Derris. A second book is forthcoming based on the group that went in 2013 and will also be co-edited by Derris.
"We are honored that His Holiness the Karmapa has chosen to visit the University of Redlands to re-unite with our faculty and students and share his vision of education, social justice, and peace,'' Kuncl said. "His leadership has shaped lives, not only for those of our students and faculty he taught, but for millions worldwide."
University of Redlands Provost Dr. David Fite said, "The University is proud to bestow the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon His Holiness in recognition of his deep commitment to building a compassionate world by illuminating and encouraging the interconnections that unite us across differences of language, culture, religion or worldview. By welcoming two groups of University of Redlands students to learn from him at his temporary home of Gyuto Monastery in India, His Holiness inspired our students to define a meaningful life. He models for us how the efforts of one person to work for environmental protection, gender justice and intentional use of resources in a consumer-driven globalized world inspires our entire University of Redlands community."
Besides receiving the honorary degree and offering the public lecture, the Karmapa will meet with now-Redlands alumni who studied with him, as well as with Redlands educators.
"The Karmapa's visit to the University of Redlands continues the relationships between His Holiness the Karmapa and our students that began when they first studied with him in India,'' Derris said. "His Holiness shared his perspectives on how we can compassion to transform ourselves and the world with compassion. Now, we are given the opportunity to welcome him to our campus to share the ways we educate students to take up that work."
The University will be the Karmapa's second stop on his third U.S. tour starting in mid-March. He will mainly visit universities, and deliver lectures on topics ranging from environmental responsibility to compassionate use of technology to Buddhist perspectives on gender. For more information on the U.S. tour, visitwww.karmapaamerica2015.org.
ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS:The University of Redlands is a private, independent undergraduate and graduate institution located in the historic heart of southernCalifornia near mountains, beaches and desert. Founded in 1907 and situated on one of the most beautiful campuses in the region and state, Redlands is consistently ranked among the best universities in the nation. Redlands offers more than 40 undergraduate majors as well as graduate programs in business, communicative disorders, education, geographic information systems (GIS) and music. The University blends liberal arts and professional education, applied and theoretical study, traditional majors and an alternative degree program. For a select group of highly motivated, self-driven students, the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies allows undergraduates to negotiate their own course of study with a faculty/peer committee and receive narrative evaluations rather than letter grades. Recognized for having one of the highest study abroad participation rates among its peers, Redlands students travel the world, choosing from more than 100 programs. Redlands' Community Service Learning program receives national acclaim each year as students complete over 100,000 hours of public service annually around the world. The new Master of Science in GIS program is an intensive, one-year residential program that draws international acclaim, in part due to the University's close collaboration with Redlands-based Esri, the world's leading GIS company.
We have very exciting news to share. Gyuto Foundation is honored and privileged to announce that His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Orgen Trinley Dorje Rinpoche, will be visiting Gyuto Foundation briefly on Friday, March 20th, 2015 at 9:00 am - 10:30 am. There are no tickets available for this event. Unfortunately, we have very limited space in the prayer hall, which will be reserved for His Holiness' entourage, sangha members, and special guests. However, if space is available, and security and fire codes permit, seats will be granted on a first come, first serve basis. We are expecting at least a few hundred people, so there will also be audio speakers and possibly a video screen available outside in the courtyard.
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, and guide to millions of Buddhists around the world. At the age of fourteen, the Karmapa made a dramatic escape from Tibet and took refuge in India to be near His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his own lineage teachers. Currently 29 years old, he is a globally recognized environmental leader, having created an eco-monastic movement with over 55 monasteries across the Himalayas that act as centers of green activism. He recently announced that he will establish full ordination for women within his lineage, a long-awaited step that will change the future of Tibetan Buddhism. The Karmapa leads a tradition that emphasizes direct realization of the nature of mind through meditation training, while playing a key role in preserving Tibetan religion and culture for a new generation. His latest book, entitled The Heart is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out is based on his interactions with American university students.
Program: Brief blessing for the newly installed Shakyamuni Buddha and Avalokiteshvara Statues. Short talk by His Holiness the Karmapa followed by tea. All guests in the main prayer hall must be seated before His Holiness arrives.
Time: Main prayer hall door will open at 8:30 am andwill be closed at 9:15 am. Program starts at 9:30 am and His Holiness will depart at 10:30 am.
Security Large bags, cameras, and recording equipment will not be permitted in the building. We will not have the ability to store your personal belongings.
Breakfast: Monastery will be providing tea and cookies for all visitors.
Parking: There will be NO parking spaces available on monastery grounds on March 20th. Please carpool or park around Kensington or Arlington Street. Monastery parking spaces will be used for public seating during the event.
Location: Gyuto Foundation, 6401 Bernhard Avenue. East Richmond Heights, CA 94805
Sponsorship, donations and offerings will be most welcome for this event.
The university will honor him in a ceremony on March 24 in which he will be awarded an honorary doctorate degree. The students have also prepared a special musical arrangement of a poem composed by the Karmapa as an ode to Mother Earth, and will perform it as part of the evening’s tribute, which will be capped with an address by His Holiness the Karmapa to the Redlands community.
Redlands set aside tickets for various Buddhist communities across southern California, as this is the lama’s only stop in the region. Tickets for the public sold out in precisely eight minutes, and the remaining seats in this 1,300 auditorium were taken within hours by students and faculty, who are pictured here lining up before the ticket window opened. The event will be webcast live.
The members and supporters of Danang Foundation will be hosting His Holiness the Karmapa for two days of teachings on April 11 on the four Dharmas of Gampopa, and on April 12 for an Akshobhya empowerment and instructions on Akshobhya practice.
Danang reports on the many preparations they have under way: “Danang Foundation is located at two different spaces in the bustling streets of Flushing, New York. Lama Tsewang Rinpoche, founder of Danang, maneuvers his way through the heavy pedestrian traffic of Main Street between the two sites just to check in on the progress.
“The first location, which once used to serve as both office and practice center, is now the Danang Administrative Office. Here, our volunteers and staff have been busy answering calls, preparing signs, texts, cards and translations of the sadhana for the Akshobya teaching and empowerment. Everyone here gets to know each other very well because space is so tight.
“Our practice center is a few blocks away. At this location, volunteers and staff are waiting for the reliquaries to arrive so they can begin the delicate task of making sure hundreds of statues that are being offered for consecration are carefully handled and prepared. They will also be responsible for packaging all the gift bags for the empowerment.
“It has only been a little over a week, but everyone at Danang is strongly motivated to work hard and we have gotten a lot done so far. But obviously, there is still so much more left to do. We still have a month to plan and tighten things up and hope to make it a wonderful experience for both His Holiness and for all the attendees!
KAGYU THUBTEN CHÖLING MONASTERY WELCOMES HIS HOLINESS THE 17TH GYALWANG KARMAPA
For a short teaching and the Medicine Buddha Empowerment
噶舉佛教法林寺 歡迎第十七世大寳法王嘉華 噶瑪巴 精簡開示及藥師佛灌頂
DATE: Friday, April 24, 2015
LOCATION: Kagyu Thubten Chöling 245 Sheafe Road Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
Doors open 11:30 Please arrive before 1:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - Welcome His Holiness Karmapa to KTC
3:00 p.m. – Short teaching followed by bestowal of the Medicine Buddha empowerment The practice of Medicine Buddha is a supreme antidote to illness and obstacles for ourselves and others, and a powerful impetus on the path to full awakening. It is a rare opportunity and blessing to receive this empowerment from His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa.
Tibetan translation into English & Chinese. (For Chinese translation, please bring your smart phone or iPad/tablet with your headsets. Further instructions to follow.)
$200 – reserved seating (in tent only)
$75 – general admission, seating on first come first served basis, and standing room
Pre-registration required. Seating is very limited and tickets are available by advance purchase only. Registration will close when capacity is reached. We sincerely regret that we are unable to accommodate overnight visitors during His Holiness Karmapa’s visit to KTC. Your understanding is appreciated.
NOTE: It is possible that email messages received from EventBrite may automatically go into your spam or junk mail. Please be sure to check those folders as well as your Inbox.
Dharma friends from around the Bay Area converged on the San Francisco airport this afternoon, urgently texting one another to reassure themselves they were all in the right place to greet His Holiness the Karmapa. His flight arrived with a slight delay, which allowed the large numbers of Tibetan as well as international disciples to ensure they were in the right place to greet His Holiness as he was ushered through the terminal towards his vehicle. After the emotional welcome by nearly 200 joyful students, His Holiness the Karmapa entered his car, with a smile and a gentle wave to those standing on the curb bowing and waving.
The party proceeded directly from San Francisco airport to Rosewood Sand Hill in Palo Alto where the traditional welcome with a tea and rice ceremony awaited him. All rose as the His Holiness entered the intimate venue and ascended the throne. The mandala offering was made to the 17th Karmapa by Lama Lodru of Kagyu Droden Kunchab Dharma center of San Francisco. Also making offerings in the procession were a Khenpo from Palpung Lungtok Choeling in nearby San Jose, Lama Tsultrim Allione of Tara Mandala, Dr. James Doty, founder and director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and representatives of the Tibetan Association of Northern California.
After the tea and special rice were offered, marking an auspicious beginning, the reunion adjourned for a few hours break, to resume with an informal reception two hours later.
Although the webcast team had arrived in San Francisco the prior evening, the media team decided to make an impromptu effort to share the occasion with those not physically present. The transmission was successful, and marks what we hope will be a long series of opportunities to bring all along on this journey. Please check the webcast page frequently, as new webcasts will be added wherever conditions permit.
On the first day of his official trip, His Holiness the Karmapa attended a reception in his honor at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Palo Alto, Calfornia, a few hours after the traditional tea-and-rice ceremony at the same venue. In the interim, old Dharma friends reconnected as Western Buddhist teachers and long-time practitioners mingled, basking together in the glow of the moment.
Many familiar faces filled the hall, from teachers Jack Kornfield, Lama Palden Drolma, Lama Surya Das, Lama Tsultrim Allione, Norbu Tenzing and even Michael Imperioli. Representatives of local Tibetan Buddhist centers from all over North America were on hand, including Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, various KTCs, Karma Sonam Dargye Ling in Toronto, Tergar Meditation Center in Minneapolis, Palpung Lungtok Choeling and other centers.The crowd spilled outdoors onto the lawn, and clusters of Tibetans sat on the grass, giving the afternoon the feel of a large family picnic.
Patty Waltcher, who had organized the welcome reception, opened the event by introducing the three board members of Karmapa Foundation, who were all present: Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Eric Colombel, president and founder of Tsadra Foundation and Dekila Chungyalpa, an environmentalist and research scientist at Yale University. She warmly thanked them for all their efforts to make it possible for His Holiness the Karmapa to visit so many universities and Dharma communities on this trip.
As managing director of the tour, Peter Volz offered a brief introduction to the Karmapa and his activities. As soon as he mentioned His Holiness’ plans to establish full ordination for women, the hall burst into applause. Speaking as a father of a college-age child, Peter Volz expressed his concern at the existential crisis of today’s young people, who are overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges facing the world today. He described the urgent need for leadership on social change, and the aim of this trip to help meet that need.
Next to speak was Dekila Chungyalpa, who recalled the aspiration that His Holiness the Karmapa had expressed during his first visit to the USA to spend two weeks a year here, an aspiration that was not coming to fruition. She outlined the stops at universities and spoke of Yale’s plans to award His Holiness its most prestigious award, the Chubb Fellowship, and of the University of Redlands’ plans to grant him an honorary PhD. She noted too the overwhelming interest that has led to seats at university lectures being snatched up within hours or even minutes of opening for ticketing. As an environmentalist she spoke movingly of the impact he had had on conservation in the Himalayas, turning Buddhist monasteries and nunneries into local centers of environmental action and education. She evoked his particular quality as a spiritual leader who inspires transformation that moves from the cushion to permeate society.
Following this, time was allowed for people to mingle, and a long line swiftly developed of people eager for to interact with the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa himself. When all had had their moment with His Holiness, the organizers requested that His Holiness share his thoughts.
He first expressed his sheer joy at having this opportunity to spend two months in the United States. He then spoke of his own experience listening to the plans for him to deliver lectures on so many different topics at the various universities.
“I appreciate their kind words, but all this praise puts me under a lot of pressure and puts me on the spot to say something important,” he said wryly. “I am not sure how I will perform under such pressure, but hopefully it will turn out well.”
He went on to express his gratitude to everyone for showing him such a warm welcome, and singled out those who had exerted such efforts on behalf of this trip. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
“This is the first time I have had such an opportunity to spend such an extensive amount of time in any foreign country,” he observed. “Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks to the Indian Government, and to thank all my supporters and friends in India who helped to make this possible.”
When he learned that he would be able to make this two-month trip, initially he was elated, the 17th Karmapa said. He joked that only later did it sink in just how hectic a pace and complex the logistics would be. “Two months really is a long time,” he said playfully.
“Here we are,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes.”
With a final thanks to all assembled, His Holiness arose and departed. Long after he had left the hall, those gathered lingered on, reluctant to bring the joyful occasion to a close, even knowing that the months ahead hold many more opportunities for closeness and connection.
SOURCE – As part of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa’s teachings on Gampopa’s “Jewel Ornament of Liberation” during the 2nd annual Arya Kshema Winter Gathering for Kagyu Nuns, the 17th Karmapa drops the bomb on meat-eating Vajra practitioners, and states at point blank – the first job in developing compassion is not eating meat.
In terms of eating meat – it’s is said that for beginners for training in compassion, the very first task if we are going to develop actual authentic compassion, the very first task that we need to do it is to not eat meat. This is the first step to start developing compassion.
It is said in the Mahaparinirvana sutra, if the monks, in a time of famine, if they only receive meat in their alms bowls – should they eat it? It is then said, that they may eat it if they are able to see it as their own child’s flesh. Here is it said there is an allowance to eat meat in a time of famine. If it’s saying there is an allowance then, it’s not necessary to say that is prohibited at all other times.
– His Holiness the 17th Karmapa (Ogyen Trinley Dorje)
Recorded at Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya, India. January 8-23, 2015.
The first stage on his official tour of the United States brought His Holiness the Karmapa to Silicon Valley in California. Appropriately enough for a 29-year-old Buddhist leader who does not shy from making effective use of technology to spread the Dharma, the 17th Karmapa spent the day at Googleplex, touring its facilities, taking a ride in its prototype driverless car and giving a talk to Google staff in the afternoon.
His Holiness arrived mid-morning at the sprawling campus of Google’s global headquarters on Mountain View, California, known affectionately as Googleplex. Google often appears at the top of the list of best companies in the world to work for. The company encourages mindfulness practice among its employees, and the initial phase of the tour focused on the company’s extensive wellness services. During his visit to Google, His Holiness the Karmapa was hosted by Chade-Meng Tan, who is Google’s resident champion of personal growth and author of the book Search Inside Yourself. Meng showed His Holiness around Google’s yoga halls, fitness centers and meditation rooms, which employees are encouraged to use at any time, and fielded the Karmapa’s numerous questions about Google’s practices to promote wellbeing among its staff.
The personal tour of Google’s facilities snaked from building to building, past a car outfitted to photograph street level for inclusion in Google Maps. Next, His Holiness arrived at a facility with a wrap-around, multi-screen display of Google Earth. As his host was taking him on a virtual tour of the Grand Canyon, the request was made to view Tibet as well, and His Holiness’ sister and other members of the entourage drew near to watch. As they zoomed from aerial view and came close to ground level, and then wound their way over a pass and into the valley where Lhasa is located, the 17th Karmapa himself took the controls to move around Lhasa.
Following a lunch with key Google staff, the Karmapa was offered the opportunity to ride in Google’s state-of-the-art driverless car. He and his sister accepted the invitation and were given a rare chance to experience this fledgling technology. A Google staffer involved in the Karmapa’s visit to Google commented that when she was putting in the application for him to be able to ride in the Google Self-Driving Car, she was told she might as well not bother, since it had been many months since any applications had been granted. However, she tried anyway, only to receive the enthusiastic response that certainly His Holiness the Karmapa would be most welcome to experience the car.
After half an hour riding around campus in a car with no driver, the vehicle discharged its passengers at their final destination at Googleplex—the hall where His Holiness was to speak to Google staff. The talk was livestreamed to Google offices around the world. Google will upload this talk in the next few weeks to its Talks at Google page on youTube.
Coming soon: A detailed report on His Holiness the Karmapa’s talk at Google and links to the video of his talk.
Lecture:“Caring Connections: Compassion, Technology and the Environment.”
Thursday, March 19
KAGYU DRODEN KUNCHAB
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Gives Blessings and Teachings in San Francisco, CA
English, Spanish and Chinese translation will be provided.
Tuesday, March 24
UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
English, Spanish and Chinese translation will be provided.
Thursday, March 26
Lecture: ”Caring for Life on Earth in the Twenty-first Century” English, Spanish and Chinese translation will be provided.
Wednesday, April 1
Evening Lecture: “A Buddhist Perspective: Gender, the Environment and Activism” English, Spanish and Chinese translation will be provided.
Saturday, April 4
KARMA THEGSUM CHÖLING-NEW JERSEY
Teaching: “Clarifying the Stages of the Meditative Path” English, Spanish and Chinese translation will be provided.
KARMA THEGSUM CHÖLING-NEW JERSEY
Manjushri Empowerment. English, Spanish and Chinese translation will be provided.
4/4 11:30PM~ 4/5 1:30AM
Chubb Fellow Lecture: “Compassion into Action: Buddhism and the Environment” English, Spanish and Chinese translation will be provided.
Monday, April 13
KARMAPA SERVICE SOCIETY
Empowerment for Tibetan and Himalayan Community. English, Spanish and Chinese translation will be provided.
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON
Lecture: “The Heart, the Brain, and Society: Buddhist and Scientific Perspectives on the Cultivation of Well-being.” A Dialogue with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Richard Davidson & Sona Dimidjian English, Spanish and Chinese translation will be provided.
After several hours touring the sprawling campus of Google in Mountain View, California, a state-of-the-artdriverless car delivered His Holinessthe Karmapa to a building where Google staff had assembled for a talk on “Inner Connection and Meditation: Changing the World from the Inside Out.” The talk was structured as a dialogue—or self-styled Fireside Chat—with Chade-Meng Tan, who leads Google’s personal growth and wellness services.
The 17th Karmapa’s talk at Google was prefaced with opening comments by Google’s only Tibetan employee, Sonam, who brought many members of the audience to tears with her personal reflections. After speaking movingly in Tibetan to His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, she translated her comments into English for the audience. “Your presence here is like a dream for me,” she said. “As a young child I remember my parents taking me to your monastery in Rumtek, Sikkim, in India. The event was the famous Kagyu Black Hat dance performed by the monks. For a young child the performance was mesmerizing, with monks wearing all sorts of masks and performing Buddhist ritual dances.
“But what was more memorable for me,” she said, “was when I met your previous incarnation, the 16th Karmapa. I still vividly remember the day. My parents had recently escaped Tibet, as you yourself did when you were fourteen. Amidst all the pain and suffering my parents and their fellow Tibetans had experienced leaving their homeland behind and living as refugees, there was nothing but pure joy and happiness that day. Here I am today, in your presence again.”
The Karmapa himself was then introduced by Lama Surya Das, who spoke passionately about His Holiness the Karmapa as someone who “holds the whole world in his heart.”
When the talk itself commenced, Chade-Meng Tan (more commonly called Meng) set the tone with his own questions, and then opened the floor for questions from audience members, who lined up at a standing microphone in the aisle. The talk was streamed live to Google’s offices around the world, and questions sent in from other offices alternated with questions from the employees attending the talk in person at Googleplex.
Meng opened by asking what it was like to be the Karmapa – what was the best part and the worst part? After describing the experience of being taken from his family at the age of seven as the worst part, he explained what was best as follows: “One really good thing about being Karmapa is the opportunity it has afforded me to recognize the responsibilities I have. I believe everyone has great responsibility toward everyone else and to the planet, but many people do not have the opportunity to be made aware of just how much responsibility they have. We each bear many responsibilities to benefit others as well as the entire environment—the world and all its inhabitants—as best we can. Being in the position of Karmapa has helped me to recognize that responsibility, and that is a very good thing.”
Among the other questions posed was one regarding meditation. His Holiness the Karmapa said, “The 21st century is a time of great material development and improvement on many fronts and we sometimes become overwhelmed by the rapid change taking place all around us. Within this context of such frenetic external change, meditation can help a great deal in finding inner peace within our minds. Meditation can help us stabilize our minds, it can bring peace and it can give us more control over our own minds so that we are not overwhelmed by this continuous change taking place externally.
“Many forms of our happiness these days actually depend on outer things and external objects. One of most important things that meditation does for us is to help us connect with a sense of happiness and satisfaction that is not at all dependent on outer conditions, but is something naturally present within ourselves. For example a lot of meditation techniques focus on phenomena that are immediately present within ourselves. Of course, working with the breath is a very common technique in meditation, and our breath is something that is always with us, for as long as we are alive. Sometimes we do not recognize these precious natural resources that we have with us all the time. Meditation helps us give attention and care to the natural resources that we have, which in turn helps us to relax. From another perspective it helps us engender a natural sense of wonderment, awe or joyfulness about what is precious within us already.
“Meditation is not just about relaxing or helping us de-stress,” he said. “It is something that can help increase our awareness, help us develop more mindfulness and a deeper sense of joy and appreciation.”
Meng followed up by asking whether compassion arises naturally from mindfulness practice or whether it needs additional work.
The 17th Karmapa replied, “Firstly I think that meditation is something that naturally connects us with who we are in an uncontrived way. So much of what we do in life is a contrived attempt to become something else. But meditation brings us back to the natural state of who we are and what we are made of. I think that can become a stepping stone for developing further qualities.
“I mentioned awareness earlier. The awareness we develop through meditation is an awareness of the reality that we all depend upon one another. For example, as we become aware of our breath in meditation, we naturally become aware that it is not an autonomously existing thing. We might develop an appreciation that the air we breathe comes to us from plants and trees and, finally, from our whole green planet. In this way, meditation deepens our appreciation for the interdependent reality of things. We make a much stronger connection with that appreciation, and that becomes the springboard for compassion.”
One employee at the talk described the corporate culture at Google, which values innovation highly and at the same time encourages inner cultivation. He asked whether there was a trade-off between the two.
“Innovation and inner cultivation can be connected,” His Holiness said. “There can be a lot of overlap between innovation and the pure intentions of the path of spirituality. If you look at innovation, you can see that most of the great brilliant ideas occur to people when their minds are relaxed and open. In the same way, the altruistic state of heart occurs when our minds are open and spacious. When we appreciate our interconnectedness, we can further develop our natural altruism, which we might call by the name responsibility.”
Other questions posed to the Karmapa included whether there could ever be an American Milarepa and whether the Karmapa would come back next life as a woman, as well as questions about environmental protection, the practice of inner heat or thum-mo and what we can do to ease the pain of loved ones who face death or are suffering from incurable diseases.
Google will post the talk in its entirety on its youTube page in upcoming weeks. We will add a link here once it has done so.
(March 17, 2015 – Palo Alto, California, USA) His Holiness the 17th Karmapa set foot on an American university campus for the first time today. Setting a pattern for the many university visits planned for his two-month trip around the USA, His Holiness today visited key sites on the Stanford campus, met with students, interacted with faculty—including neuroscientists, psychologists and religious studies professors—and delivered a lecture to a packed auditorium. (Separate reports to follow.)
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has been has been awarded Yale’s prestigious Chubb Fellowshipfor Spring 2015. As the spiritual head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa has emerged as an important leader for our time and has been described as “a world spiritual leader for the 21st century.”
While at Yale, His Holiness the Karmapa will deliver a public address:
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 4:00 pm Woolsey Hall (500 College St) “Compassion in Action—Buddhism and the Environment”
The venue is Yale's beautiful Woolsey Hall, which seats 2,600. Tickets will be available online next week. Details soon.The lecture is free and open to the public.
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Woolsey Hall, photo: Creative Commons
The Chubb Fellowship is designed to foster an interest in public affairs, especially among Yale College students. The selection of His Holiness the Karmapa as a Chubb Fellow resonates well with the Yale Himalaya Initiative’s mandate to bring together members of the Yale community from all parts of the university to converse on matters relating to the Himalayan region.
Previous Chubb Fellows include Nobel Peace Prize laureates Leymah Gbowee and Aung San Suu Kyi, actors such as Shah Rukh Khan and Morgan Freeman, and the current United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.
For more information about His Holiness the Kamapa’s US tour click here.