The final evening of the Delhi teachings saw a festive dinner to celebrate the four days of teachings and express thanks to all who had made the event possible. To the sound of applause, the Gyalwang Karmapa entered the dining hall through the garden door and took his seat at the central table. The Chairperson of the Karmapa Khyenno Foundation (KKF), Lama Dawa, gave heartfelt thanks to all who had helped, starting with His Holiness who bestowed his compassionate blessing, and including all the members of the sixteen Dharma centers who worked very hard night and day and in great harmony, leaving behind a sense of separation between self and other.
A slide show depicted the Dharma activities of KKF, including sponsoring teachings, setting up medical camps, and tree planting. Then a series of classic Chinese figures in brilliant brocades and bright masks moved through the audience to the stage. Of the three old men with long beards, the one carrying a peach represented long life; the one carrying gold, wealth; and a third carrying a curved staff, success and fulfillment. The peach, exchanged for a large white and red-blushed bun was offered to the Karmapa as were the gold and staff.
Lama Dawa also offered to the Karmapa a tray will stacks of note books, representing the 500 copies of the Sutra of Offering Gratitude to Our Parents, which center members had written out. This text was chosen for the classic Dharma activity of copying a sacred text because the Karmapa had often mentioned how he missed his parents after he left Tibet. In another personal touch, three members of the Hong Kong Sanghas told their experiences of meeting the Karmapa. There was also a slide show of the seminar, entitled Compassion in Action, with images of the last four days to remind everyone of the special event.
The Karmapa was then invited to speak, and he told of how he identified with the volunteers and all the work they had done. In Bodhgaya during the Kagyu Monlam, he, too, likes to work with the people who are preparing the events and not just sit on the throne. At the end, the MC, Thomas, asked the Karmapa how the organizers had done, and the Karmapa gave his usual response, “It can always be better.” Thomas replied, “Does that mean you’re giving us another chance next year?” “Oh, you tricked me into that one,” the Karmapa laughed.
His Holiness then gave white scarves and presents to the main organizers, and lights were dimmed for the Lamp Prayer. First the Karmapa lit his lamp of a many-petaled white lotus and everyone else followed with their lotus lamps until the hall was glowing and filled with the prayer that the light of the Dharma spread throughout the world.
Today’s podcast episode is a special two hour event from the Karmapa’s recent trip to Europe.
In this wonderful teaching, the Gyalwang Karmapa discusses how to use meditation to develop inner peace and contentment in a modern, fast-paced world.
In the second session (which starts at the 1 hour mark), the Karmapa goes on to discuss his own life experience as a child in Tibet and, after being recognized as the Karmapa, how he himself has used meditation in his own daily activities and life events.
The session finishes with a wonderful Question and Answer session where the Karmapa touches on many important topics to do with Buddhist practice and modern life in general.
Today the Gyalwang Karmapa gave the opening address for a three-day program, entitled Compassion in Action. It was initiated by a group of Tibetan and Indian social activists, residing in Delhi and nearby, who support human rights and universal responsibility. The event was in celebration of a yearlong journey, beginning with HH the Dalai Lama’s birthday last year, which involved 11 schools and 1000 young people. Through a variety of creative modalities, they explored, shared, and interpreted compassion in action, the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and H.H. the Dalai Lama.
The program was sponsored by Lunar Energy, a group of socially engaged artists, and by Empowering the Vision, whose director Yudron Aukutsang, welcomed His Holiness the Karmapa. She explained that her organization is dedicated to empowering young people and seeks to develop self-reliant and dynamic Tibetans who become contributing members of the global society. The group especially focuses on education and providing career opportunities. She remarked that all those engaged in the project were inspired by the young people’s sincere desire to engage in nonviolence and compassion.
Today’s program began with cultural performances by students from Majnu-ka-Tila’s Tibetan Children’s Village, which were followed by an abridged version of a theater piece, Compassion in Action, by Jaya Iyer, the founder of Lunar Energy.
At the very beginning of his talk, the Gyalwang Karmapa offered his prayers to HH the Dalai Lama on his 81st birthday, wishing for the spiritual leader’s good health and long life, the flourishing of his activities and the fulfillment of all this wishes. Noting that the topic of the talk was a compassionate society, the Karmapa remarked that all people have compassion or empathy; when they see someone suffering, they are concerned and wish to help. Buddhism teaches this and many scientists also subscribe to it.
These days, however, violence seems to abound: we are witness to numerous bomb blasts, mass shootings, wars, and so many violent activities that it can be hard to believe that a natural love and compassion exist in people’s hearts. The Karmapa explained that having this natural capacity is not enough: it must be trained.
It is crucial, he stated, that we understand the interconnected and interdependent world in which we all live. “The information age has given us nonstop news from around the world and brought people closer together,” the Karmapa said, “but people remain self-centered and focused on what they want for themselves. We need to recognize this mindset and pull ourselves out of such a narrow fixation; we must learn to take responsibility for others as well.”
There are many ways to understand self and other, he noted, but what is important here is that we know how dependent our existence is on others. There is not one living being that does not reply upon others. “But usually,” he said, “thinking that we are independent, we experience distance between our self and another; we do not recognize that we are a part of them and they of us.” Therefore, learning to develop a way of thinking imbued with interdependence is very important.
We all have this basic capacity to love others, he emphasized, but how we are brought up and our education influence our mind, so we come to feel and express different levels of love and compassion, and can also switch them on and off. “What we need,” he stated, “is the right way of seeing, an accurate outlook that is based on the way things actually are—mutually dependent one on the other.”
The Karmapa then turned to an analogy. To keep ourselves fit and in good health, we know that we must exercise our body everyday. Likewise, we need to train our minds to bring compassion and love into our hearts. And further, “Compassion is not just a feeling,” the Karmapa explained, “it allows us to face suffering with courage.” He continued, “We need to train our minds in love and compassion, and not just by making some ordinary effort, but engaging intensively in the practice.” In the beginning, we can start with testing it out, seeing how training in love and compassion works for us and then gradually transform our lives into compassionate ones.
The Karmapa concluded his talk reprising his prayers for the long life of HH the Dalai Lama and giving his thanks to all who made the arrangements for today’s program, which was very meaningful. He then consented to answer a few questions from the audience.
The first question came from a teacher who asked about how she could talk with young people about practicing compassion on a day-to-day basis. How do we move toward undoing the fixation on a self? The education system is so driven by competition for good marks and high performance.
The Karmapa responded by speaking of how language skills develop. Everyone has the capacity to speak a language, but if you leave a very young child in a wilderness without human contact, that child will not develop the ability to speak. Similarly, though a child has the natural capacity for compassion, they need to make contact with the language of compassion and loving-kindness. If we can tell stories about compassion and use these words daily as much as possible, this in itself will place habitual patterns deep within the mind of the child, and thee can be transformative. The Karmapa added that children should not be pushed or pressured to be compassionate. The experience should be joyful so that they take to compassion with enthusiasm.
“When I was young,” he said, “my parents talked about compassion, even for small animals and insects, which should not be killed.” We are young, we all have animals that we like and feel close to, so children can begin with feeling love and compassion for them and then expand this to other animals and other children.
The next question was about artists who have conflicts in their lives and who usually borrow their subjects from outside, so they know about suffering and what is happening in society. How can artists find a way to heal themselves through their art?
The Karmapa replied that art in general is a vast subject covering many different topics. Personally, he is engaged in poetry, painting, and theater so he knows a little about these. Many times when we talk about art, he said, we are talking about what we show to others, whether paintings, performance art, or other forms, and we have made a lot of effort so that people might be moved by what we do. Another kind of art, however, is an inner art, which is focused on creating a happy, fulfilled, or beautiful mind. These two different arts should be balanced.
“These days, it is considered important for artists to express emotions though their art,” he noted, “yet I feel that art can also create an inner peace, bringing calm within us. This is very important. Our contemporary world is quite turbulent, which in turn is reflected in our own emotions.” At the same time, however, it is important to bring about inner peace and calmness. If we can do that, then we can also express this inner tranquility through art. So we can do both: create an interior calm and reveal this to others.
The subsequent question concerned the recent violence in the world and how to think about and work with it.
The Karmapa responded that during the sacred time of Ramadan, when people seek to accumulate positive deeds and avoid negative ones, it is heart-wrenching to learn of 120 people killed in Iraq, of murders in Bangladesh—the likes of which had never occurred in its history—and, in particular for people who are religious, the bombing in Medina, a very sacred place in this world. Hearing of these events creates fear, and more than that, a very profound sadness, especially for all of us who follow a religion, to see such horrible acts committed in its name.
As followers of a particular religious tradition, we support that way of faith, and yet it is an open question whether or not we are promulgating the actual message of our founders. It is not easy to convey their message correctly and this applies to all religions. No one is born a terrorist. They become one through the circumstances of this contemporary world and for that we all bear responsibility. Actually, we carry a greater responsibility than before for our ways of thinking and our behavior. And it is certain that we cannot wait around expecting others to start becoming peaceful and compassionate; we must begin with ourselves, each of us must make it our responsibility to work on ourselves to become more compassionate and peaceful.
From the point of view of those who believe that we were created by the Almighty, all of us have been given the special gift of being able to think, the Karmapa said, and therefore, we need to use our thinking power, the power of our own understanding, to see what is right and what is wrong. For example, we all carry responsibility for the environment of our planet, which is something everyone should be thinking about.
The last question asked about the relationship between wisdom and its practical application as bodhicitta in a relative world.
In response, the Karmapa chose to talk about the classic Buddhist teachings of no self (or selflessness) and emptiness. “We need to expand out way of thinking beyond a small narrow self,” he stated, “and see that we are not an single, isolated entity but connected to the whole universe in an interlinked net.” He continued, “When we say ‘no self’ it does not mean that the self is annihilated and no longer exists. What does not exist is an independent self.” In using the term self, we refer to something that is deeply interconnected with the whole universe: what we call “I” or “self” is not independent, but interdependent. When we come to understand this, then emptiness affords us spaciousness and continual opportunities. “Emptiness is not just a philosophical position,” he explained, “but something that reduces our selfish attitude and increases our compassion. It transforms our mind and our way of life.”
On this positive note, the Karmapa closed his presentation. In thanks, he was offered a painting from the exhibition by the organizers, and all the people who had been working on the project for the past year were invited up on stage to have their photograph taken with the Karmapa and receive his blessing.
The second day of the program would see a panel discussion on compassion and social movements, and the third, a panel on compassion and education. Throughout the three days, at the Alliance Française were exhibitions and creative workshops of visual, performance, and literary pieces presented by students from the 11 participating schools.
The Times of India (New Delhi edition) 9 Jul 2016 The 17th Karmapa, looks set to play a bigger role in Tibetan affairs. He spoke to about the future of the Tibetan movement and his expectations of India on the occasion of the Dalai Lama’s 81st birthday earlier this week.
His Holliness Karmapa Rinpoche with former Kalon Mr Tempa Tsering at the launch of a book on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, published by Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama based in New Delhi.(6 July 2016)
What are your thoughts on His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 81st birthday? What does the occasion mean to you and the Tibetan people?
Over the second half of the past century , the Dalai Lama has worked tirelessly for the Tibetan cause, to preserve and promote Tibetan culture.He has also worked for world peace. So his birthday is not about an individual, but a person who made great contributions to peace. Also, earlier, Tibetans were not so united...The Dalai Lama united everyone at a very difficult time.
The Dalai Lama is 81. There will be a post-Dalai Lama situation. How do you see this given how big an influence he has been?
It will be difficult... there will not be one individual like the Dalai Lama. At the same time, Tibetan people have to devise a system, or organisation so as not to depend on one person. So His Holiness has emphasised ensuring representation for all Tibetans. We need a system which can keep the Tibetan people together.
In this context, what will be your role? How can you keep different denominations united?
I am the reincarnation of the Karmapa. This lineage is the highest and oldest in Tibet.But there is no need for any special role for me. Just the tradition of the reincarnation of the Karmapa itself can help me contribute in preserving our culture. I have to be more open and innovative. I should not be regionalistic. How I think will itself be important in terms of new approaches to Tibetan issues. There are allegations that the Karma Kagyu sect has tried to take over monasteries belonging to other sects.Allegations have surfaced Allegations have surfaced over conversion of monasteries, allegedly to Karma Kagyu beliefs, in social media. I tried to verify the claims.Since all this happened in Tibet, investigations are not easy. It turns out that some of the monasteries in question were falling into disuse. The Karma Kagyu stepped in to look after them. But if the other traditions want to take them over, the Karma Kagyu will be more than happy . We have no intention to take over or convert.
What are the reports you receive about conditions in Tibet?
The news is that since 2008, when there was a national uprising, there have been several self-immolations. This is because of frustration of the people. The incorporation of parts of Tibet with Chinese provinces like Sichuan and Yunan has made people unhappy . The denial of religious and cultural rights and discrimination against Tibetans is a burning issue.Indiscreet and reckless exploitation of Tibet's natural resources has affected lives.
Do you think your religious and spiritual journey has progressed far enough to fulfil your role as Karmapa?
The reason I came to India is that it is free and democratic. I have been here for 17 years.The Indian government has given us asylum. But these have been extremely difficult 17 years. There were suspicions and restrictions. I made it clear that I came to study ... but if my presence is a problem, though this is not my intention, then I can go elsewhere.
Is the Indian government giving you the respect you expect?
Some departments are positive about me, some are negative... some negatives are more powerful. But I now see a positive change. I have great expectations. Sometimes, I felt I was losing hope. But I would say things are looking up. The Rumtek monastery in Sikkim holds special significance for you but you cannot go there due to a dispute. Sikkim is a part of India. It is an integral part of India.Rumtek is the seat of my predecessor. Unfortunately , I have not been able to go. But I do understand there is a court case. But the reason why I am not able to travel to Sikkim despite many requests. I do not want get into party politics.
DHARAMSHALA, July 10: The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje may finally grace his rightful seat at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim for the first time in 17 years if an official circular issued by the state government is anything to go by.
A circular issued by the Sikkim Government under the order of the state Governor states that the state has appointed Acharya Tshering Lama of Simick Chandey as the Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Affairs Department for welcoming the spiritual leader in the state. The circular also mentions the young head of Karma Kagyu tradition be accorded a cabinet rank reception.
He is responsible for all the arrangements for the visit and also to make a smooth rightful seating of Karmapa at the monastery.
According to a source, the initiative from the State of Sikkim is a welcoming sign. However, the Karmapa office here has not yet received any confirmation letter from either the Central Tibetan Administration or New Delhi.
The source added that it is just the beginning of a process and it would depend on how and when the appointed official approaches the central government to initiate the process.
The announcement circulating in the social media was made on July 6, coinciding with the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Sikkim government and especially Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling have repeatedly asked the central government to permit Gyalwang Karmapa to visit Rumtek Monastery stating the wish of his followers to see him take his seat there.
Originally built under the guidance of the 12th Karmapa Changchub Dorje in the mid-1700s, Rumtek was rebuilt by the pervious Karmapa after fleeing into exile in 1959. Since, it has been the seat of Karmapa lineage in India.
However, due to the controversy surrounding the real reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpai Dorjee and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the current Karmapa’s escape from Tibet, India has so far prohibited him from visiting Rumtek.
In a recent interview with Times of India, the 31-year old said, “Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim holds special significance for me but I cannot go there due to a dispute. Sikkim is a part of India. It is an integral part of India. Rumtek is the seat of my predecessor. Unfortunately, I have not been able to go. But I do understand there is a court case.”
He also added that he does not understand the reason why he has been denied despite so many requests.
A massive rally, of reportedly over 5000 people, demanding the ascension of 17thKarmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje to his "rightful place" in Rumtek Gumba, Sikkim was taken out yesterday in capital city Gangtok.
The rally, organized by Denzong Lah saw participation of Monks, devotees of 17th Karmapa and also various organizations and politicians from various parties, including former Sikkim CM Shri. Narbahadur Bhandari. The rally was aimed at impressing upon the Government of India, the need to allow Karmapa Ogyen to enter either of the three historic Monasteries in Sikkim - Rumtek, Phudung or Ralang on the auspicious occassion of Drukpa Chesu on August 6th. The rally organizers have also started a relay hunger strike in BL House Gangtok which they have said will continue till the day government agrees to allow Karmapa Ogyen to enter Sikkim.
Images of the rally held in Gangtok on Sunday by monks and devotees requesting the Union government to permit 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee to visit and bless Sikkim. The rally commenced at around 10 am from BL House, Tibet Road an took a round of the town via Nam Nam, Deorali and Zero point before concluding at BL House.
The rally organised by Denjong Monasteries Chogchen was to seek early Sikkim visit of the Karmapa which has been a long pending demand from Sikkim.
The Rally also saw participation of Sangha MLA Sonam Lama, Shyari MLA Kunga Nima Lepcha, former Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari and others.
A SKM release informs that SKM president P.S. Golay could not participate in the rally as he is in Delhi for medical treatment. He has extended his good wishes to the organisers and those who participated in the rally, the SKM release mentions.
Golay has said the SKM is always in support of this demand, said the SKM adding that it has raised the Karmapa demand in Centre. (Text: Dichen Ongmu / Pics: Wang Chen)
Reconnu par le dalaï-lama, le 17e karmapa est l’un des plus importants chefs spirituels tibétains. Après avoir fui son pays natal à l’âge de 14 ans, il est devenu un symbole du Tibet en exil. Ce jeune maître a fait de la protection de l’environnement son combat quotidien. Nous l'avons rencontré pour un entretien exclusif lors de sa toute première visite en France.
DHARAMSHALA, July 11: Boosting the recent initiative taken by the Sikkim government to facilitate the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee’s visit to Rumtek Monastery, thousands of people yesterday took to the streets of Gangtok urging the central government to allow the young head of Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
The rally known as ‘Peace and Aspiration Rally’ reportedly saw around 5,000 people including Tibetans, monks and devotees carrying large portraits of Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, Karmapa’s Dream Flags and Buddhist flags while reciting ‘Karmapa Khyenno’ mantra.
The prominent slogan on the banners were: “It’s time that our dharma guru visit Sikkim now”, “Please allow Karmapa to visit and bless Sikkim” and “Government of India, you have sovereign power to allow Karmapa to visit Sikkim”.
The rally, also participated by former Sikkim CM Narbahadur Bhandari, urged the central government to allow Karmapa to visit his rightful seat at Rumtek, indicating that they would be ‘compelled to undertake revolutionary approaches to democratic traditions’ should the government of India fail to fulfill their demand.
“We the people of Sikkim, in conformity and continuity to our common aspiration and prayers, therefore unanimously resolve that the Government of India must immediately grant permission and necessary clearance to Gyalwang Karmapa to visit and bless Sikkim,” the organizers said in a statement.
It has been over 17 years since he fled into exile and has never set foot in the monastery, which became the seat of Karmapa lineage in India since the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje’s escape in 1959.
The organizers have also initiated a relay hunger strike, which they say would continue until central government agrees to their demand of allowing Gyalwang Karmapa to visit Sikkim.
According to a source, the Shamar Rinpoche-appointed 17th Karmapa Trinlay Thaye Dorjee, one of the claimants to the throne, have raised objection over the Sikkim government’s move.
The Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa. However, the Indian government has still not lifted the restriction it imposed on the young Lama to visit Rumtek.
A GOVERNMENT ORDER BANS ENTRY OF ALL THE THREE CLAIMANTS TO TITLE OF KARMAPA AT THE MONASTERY
DHARAMSHALA: If a recent notification by the Sikkim government is anything to go by, Ogyen Trinley Dorje would finally visit Rumtek Monastery, the seat of Karmapa, the head of Karma Kagyu sect located in north-eastern Himalayan state of India.
In exercise of the power conferred by Section 3(1) of the Sikkim State Public Services Act, 2006, the Pawan Chamling government has appointed Acharya Tshering Lama as the chairman of the ecclesiastical affairs department to welcome Ogyen Dorje, one of the three claimants to claimants to the title of 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, in Sikkim and seat him at Rumtek.
The circular also mentions that the young head of Karma Kagyu tradition be accorded a cabinet rank reception.
Interestingly, the notification overrides the Central government’s order banning any of the three claimants Ogyen Trinely Dorje, Trinely Thaye Dorje and and Dawa Sangpo Dorje.
While Ogyen Dorje lives in Dharamshala, Thaye Dorje resides in New Delhi while Sangpo Dorje in Nepal.
The visit of Ogyen Dorje, speculated to occur in the first week of August for a Buddhist congregation, is also likely to fuel the two-decade old controversy over succession to the leadership of the Karma Kagyu sect- one of the four major schools in Tibetan Buddhism and the richest. The 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje died in 1981, and the controversy over his successor that has raged ever since, also epitomises a struggle for control of assets of Kagyu sect including vajra mukut, a sapphire-studded black crown, housed in the Rumtek.
Matters came to a head in January when Ogyen Trinely, who was installed by the Chinese government at Trushup monastery in Tibet, staged a stunning escape to India.
This started the tussle over the control of the Kagyupa, or the Black Hat between the factions supporting Ogyen Dorje and Thaye Dorje.
On December 9, 2001, the situation reached boiling point when Dawa Sangpo, the third claimant’s attempts to enter Rumtek were thwarted by the Sikkim government.
Since, then, the Sikkim government has written several times and passed resolutions requesting the Centre to allow Dorje to claim the Karmapa throne as its rightful owner
However, not all are ready to believe the fresh move by the Sikkim government.
“This seems yet another attempt to trick the monastic community,” said Sonam Lama, MLA from Sangha seat in Sikkim, India’s only assembly constituency that has no territorial boundaries and is reserved for the Buddhist clergy with only monks and nuns as the electorate. Sonam has been spearheading a campaign requesting the Centre to allow Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Sikkim. “In past over 17 years, the government has made such promises many times and failed them. Nothing concrete has been done to bring His Holiness to Sikkim,” Sonam told Hindustan over phone.
After a massive rally held to request the Union government to allow Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Sikkim, a relay hunger strike is in process at BL House, Tibet Road demanding the Karmapa to be allowed to visit Sikkim.
Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) convener Tseten Tashi Bhutia along with sixteen other monks are on strike. Thousands of monks and devotees had taken to the streets demanding Karmapa be allowed to visit the state on Drukpa Tseshi to be held on August 6. The Denzong Lhadey, a body of monks has meanwhile warned that if the Indian government fails to grant the same, all monks and devotees of the state may be forced to launch a “democratic agitation” and has warned that the government shall be solely responsible for any consequence that may arise out of any future course of action.
GANGTOK, July 11: A day after holding a Gangtok rally demanding the Union government to allow the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Sikkim, monks have started a relay hunger strike here at BL House, Tibet Road seeking a Sikkim visit of their religious leader.
Seventeen monks along with Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee(SIBLAC) convener Tseten Tashi Bhutia are on the relay fast from a temporary shelter outside the BL House starting Monday. The relay hunger strike will continue till Drukpa Tsheshi which falls on August 6, it was informed.
The monks are demanding that the Karmapa is permitted to visit Rumtek, Ralong or Phodong monastery.
“The Karmapa is allowed to visit Mirik close to Sikkim but cannot come to his rightful throne here in Sikkim. We want the Union government to consider allowing him to visit one of three Kagyud monasteries in Sikkim on the holy occasion of Drukpa Tsheshi,” said the SIBLAC convener.
“We also thank Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for leading a delegation to New Delhi recently and submitting the demand on Karmapa to the Union government. We seelk support of all political parties and organizations so that the Karmapa demand is fulfilled,” said Tseten Tashi.
Thursday the 14th of July, 2016, is a special day of Padmasambhava – one of the most important masters in history of Tibetan Buddhism. Also known as Guru Rinpoche, he is regularly referred to as ‘the second Buddha’ such is his importance to buddhists around the world.
According to the Tibetan calendar, today is particularly important as it is the Monkey Year – one that only occurs every 12 years and is strongly associated with Guru Rinpoche.
To celebrate this occasion we have created a special two-part podcast episode. First is a recording of the Gyalwang Karmapa chanting the Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche. After that we bring you a teaching that His Holiness gave on the importance of the Seven Line Prayer and his own particular experience learning and reciting it.
You can get the podcast here on iTunes or simplydownload the episode right here. Please make sure you subscribe in iTunes to be notified of new episodes. Tibetan with English Translation. Painting of Guru Rinpoche by the Gyalwang Karmapa.
His Holiness Karmapa Rinpoche with former Kalon Mr Tempa Tsering at the launch of a book on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, published by Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama based in New Delhi. (Photo courtesy: tibet.net)
(TibetanReview.net, Jul10, 2016) – The 81st birthday Jul 6 of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was marked in India’s capital New Delhi, with the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee and India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs Mr Kiren Rijiju being among the guests. Later in the evening, more than 300 guests attended a dinner reception hosted by the Bureau of HH the Dalai Lama at the Silver Oak, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
In his address, Mr Rijiju praised the Dalai Lama as a global icon of peace and nonviolence and said India was blessed by his benevolent presence in the country.
Others who attended the morning function included Kasur Tempa Tsering, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, New Delhi, who read the Kashag’s statement for the occasion; Kasur Gyari Dolma, Dr NK Trikha, former National Convener of the Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India; and Mr Pankaj Goyal, Core Group member and members of Indian Tibet support groups.
Those who attended the dinner reception included Ambassadors, Indian Government officials, Members of Parliament, Former Indian bureaucrats, servicemen and diplomats, people from the media, Tibet support group members and academics. The main speaker at the event was Ambassador Dalip Mehta, former secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
During the reception, the 17th Karmapa released a book on His Holiness the Dalai Lama published and launched by the Bureau of HH the Dalai Lama.
The hunger strike by monks demanding that the Karmapa be allowed to visit Sikkim reached into its eighth day at the BL House complex. Monks of Ralang, Phodong and Rumtek monasteries have announced that they will intensify their agitation if Karmapa is not allowed to visit the state by 6th August.
The monks stated that not a single representative from the government has bothered to pay a visit to the protest site and instead an effort was made to politicize the issue. They alleged that the recently appointed chairman Acharya Tshering Lama of Ecclesiastical Affairs Department, who was given the responsibility of welcoming Karmapa to Sikkim is doing anti social activities in Karmapa’s monastery visit programme at the village level.
Further, they said that the Sangha MLA was being ignored in the whole process and a divisive campaign was being carried out by the government. The monks also said that they will not be held responsible if any social unrest is caused due to this.
DHARAMSHALA: Earlier today His Holiness 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje graced the ceremony of the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, which is observed in the fifth month of the Tibetan Monkey year.
Emulating a ceremony that used to be observed at Nechung Monastery in Tibet, the energetic oracles in trance made a procession around the Nechung monastery’s main yard along with a statue of Guru Padmasambhava carried on a palanquin.
Chief Justice Commissioner Mr Kargyu Dhondup, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Deputy Speaker of Tibetan Parliament Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, Kalons and Secretaries of different departments of CTA, members of the standing committee of Tibetan Parliament and representatives of the Central Tibetan Administration were present at the ceremony.
His Holiness 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje graced the ceremony of the birth of Guru Padmasambhava at Nechung Monastery on 18 July 2016.
His Holiness 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay and representatives of CTA at invocation of Oracle at Nechung Monastery on 18 July 2016.
The State Oracle Nechung invoked and performed ritual before procession around the monastery on 18 July 2016.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has been residing in the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh after his escape from Tibet (China) in the year 2000 AD. His predecessor, the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa Rangjyung Rigpe Dorje lived and died in Sikkim. Karmapas are the Supreme Head of the Kagyupa Lineage of Lamaism. Due to various circumstances, restrictions have been imposed on His free movement since. However He has been allowed permission to travel across the world, off-late. The Indian government has also permitted him visit several places in India over the years. In the recent years, He was even allowed to visit Mirik in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal State to conduct religious rituals and ceremonies for over a week.
The monks and lay devotees in Sikkim have infinitely been waiting for the arrival of their Dharma Guru since the passing away of the 16th Karmapa in 1981. With the escape of the 17th Karmapa to India in 2000, the ever waning aspiration of the devotees rejuvenated once again. Overwhelming majority of the Sikkimese people acknowledges Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa and have since been representing the Indian government to allow Him to visit Sikkim, at-least once to bless them. The government has also been given prerogative to decide on the location in Sikkim where the Karmapa could be allowed to visit. However, in the garb of security it so far has fallen only on the deaf ear of New Delhi for sixteen-long years despite popular demand.
In 2014, the Sikkim Legislative Assembly passed two historic Resolutions urging the Indian government to grant permission to enable the much awaited visit of the 17th Karmapa to Sikkim to bless the land and its people. Earlier, about 40,000 people came to streets in 2010 with the same demand. Once again in May 2016, the monk community from Sikkim called on a two-day long Peace dharna at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Again, back at home, on June 22, 2016, all the major and minor monasteries of Sikkim held historic meeting at Gangtok and unanimously resolved that the Indian Government must immediately grant permission to His Holiness. With no response from the Indian authority, a massive Rally was held at Gangtok by hundreds and thousands of monks & lay devotees once again on July 10, 2016 with the same demand. Moreover, since July 10, 2016 – Sikkimese monks have begun indefinite Relay-hunger strike at BL House, Gangtok seeking early visit of His Holiness to Sikkim.
It is very condemnable that the religious rights and interests of the people should be encroached or subdued for a long period of sixteen years in the name of security. National security & concern is indeed a matter of utmost concern and there is no compromise on it, we respect this. However, the manager of national security must also be sensitive and considerate to our religious concern at the same time for the Buddha dharma has strongly been guarding the nation’s northern frontier with its message of peace & non-violence. It’s been sixteen frustrating long years now. A generation of Sikkimese have passed away with this simple aspiration of having their Root Lama (Karmapa) at Sikkim before they die. Root Lama is the ultimate sacred guide to any Buddhist. Since the state of tolerance of the Sikkimese devotees has crossed all heights, it can go to any extent in redeeming their simple dharma aspiration of having their precious dharma guru in their own land for few days. Perhaps, this dharma aspiration of the Sikkimese people is not a very big deal if perceptively addressed by the Indian authorities with more human heart.
India has witnessed rampant massacre of Buddhist monks in Arunachal Pradesh in the recent months. Let it not become precedence in this oft-called land of religious tolerance. If the Karmapa can be allowed to Mirik in Darjeeling (hardly one & half hour drive from Sikkim), why can’t he be allowed to Sikkim? What is the variation of security perspective between Sikkim & Mirik? Who is circulating / composing such reports (misreports rather) and analyses or who is influencing or guiding such communications at local level to the authorities? Did the authorities at New Delhi ever authenticate such reports with reality? Can the national security and common aspirations be based on such biased assumptions or reports which are a complete deviation from reality? Let the Karmapa’s visit to Sikkim be more smooth and in accordance to its dharma tradition and lineage and without ill-heart.
If the Indian authority still keeps on denying permission to the Karmapa to visit Sikkim, series of volatile questions arise. Its reluctance to unanimously decide on the matter poses grave question of Sikkim being a part of the Union unlike the way the Union has decisively allowed Him to Himachal Pradesh, Bihar or West Bengal - its other constituent units like that of the Sikkim State. Indian government must maintain complete authority on all matters pertaining to its territory. Moreover, the disinclined approach of the Indian authority is also indicative of its feeble foreign policy wherein it appears to be under duress of some extra-territorial power or unseen factor that apparently is even beyond its sovereign jurisdiction. If so, is India - the largest democracy that helpless? Frustrated Sikkimese devotees now remember and compare that when the 16th Karmapa came to Sikkim in 1956, there was no trouble at all regarding permission, asylum, etc. for then they had their own Chogyal (King) as the Head of the State. They did not move from post to pillar of alien systems as today. It simply was faith and respect that worked then.
We live in an era of instant communications, connections and contacts owing to tremendous technological advancement. At such circumstances, mere physical presence of any individual at any given location, and more so of the stature of a Karmapa who is already delimited by intelligentsia & security beeline on any visits can never have repercussions, if ever. Such conceptions are no more than hallucination at this age. It rather is the intention of the Indian authority that has to be stable, clear and pro-people. The government must realise the fact that the security of the nation depends largely on its people and not necessarily on circumstances or territory.
We, the Sikkimese monks and devotees already have had enough of it in this past sixteen years. In fact, it has been an infinite wait out of the rough and insensitive handling of New Delhi. We have begun Indefinite Relay Hunger Strike since July 10, 2016 at Gangtok as Holy Crusade and will go to any extent in simply having our dharma guru here in Sikkim for few days. Indian government! Aren’t we justified in expressing our simple dharma aspiration?
According to Tibetan tradition, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) was born on a lotus in Dhanakosha Lake on the tenth day of the monkey (fifth) month in Year of the Monkey. This reappears every twelve years in the Tibetan Calendar, and the western year of 2016 is a Fire-Monkey Year. To celebrate this special occasion, Nechung Monastery under the guidance of Nechung Kuten (Oracle) and Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche has organized two celebrations during this month of the monkey. The first took place at Rewalsar (Tso Pema in Tibetan), another lake linked to Guru Rinpoche. Here, on July 13 and 14, 2016, HH the Dalai Lama presided over two days of ceremonies, which included teachings, ritual practice, and a particular focus on the oracles present for the occasion.
Continuing the celebration, HH the Gyalwang Karmapa was invited to preside over ceremonies at Dharamsala’s Nechung Monastery on July 18, 2016. The walls of its warm golden and red-hued temple are covered in large thangkas. For today’s occasion, the monks had set up a shrine filled with copious offerings and a central throne draped with garlands of marigolds for the Karmapa. His throne faced a statue of the Buddha and to the Karmapa’s right, resided a radiant statue of Guru Rinpoche. The Karmapa arrived around 7 o’clock and was welcomed with a formal procession of monks carrying brilliant brocade banners. They were led by Nechung Kuten and Nechung Rinpoche as well as the Vajracharya and Discipline Master of Nechung Monastery.
Entering the main shrine hall, the Karmapa made three bows to the Dalai Lama’s throne and offered a khata as well as making offerings to the statue of Guru Rinpoche. Once seated on his throne, the Karmapa was presented with the traditional offerings for long life—a mandala and the representations of body, speech, and mind—by the two main lamas and the most senior monk of Nechung Monastery. Soon after commenced the ritual of the inner practice of Lama Rigdzin Dung Drub that belongs to the Northern Terma tradition of the Nyingma school. Focused on Guru Rinpoche, this profound text beautifully evokes the primordially pure nature of mind.
During a break, the shrine hall was prepared for the Nechung Kuten to enter trance. In the center of the shrine stage, a wide rug in a tiger skin pattern was laid out and a seat placed upon it for the Nechung Kuten. The Karmapa’s throne was moved to stage right to face the oracle, and monks below formed a semi-circle of musicians with cymbals, thighbone horns, and drums. Two gold and silver long horns (radung) were lifted aloft on a carved frame while the center of the floor was left empty. On stage left sat representatives of the three pillars of the Central Tibetan Administration: the Chief Justice Minister Kagyu Dondrup from the Supreme Justice Commission for the judicial; Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay for the executive; and the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Acharya Yeshe Phuntsok, for the legislative. Also participating were Ministers and Secretaries of different Departments of the CTA, members of the standing committee of the Tibetan Parliament, representatives from the CTA and from diverse NGOs.
The Karmapa entered to take his place, and soon the Nechung Kuten came to the center of the shrine where he was dressed in his ceremonial robes and an immense headdress topped with three plumes of white fur surrounding a radiant jewel fashioned in gold. For this ceremony, the Karmapa wore the bright red hat of a pandita. For a long while the monks were chanting in low voices, occasionally broken by a drumbeat or short roll of the cymbals; finally the Oracle entered into trance and with a bow forward came up to standing. Vocalizing in a high pitch, he moved toward the Karmapa and their heads remained together for a long time as the music continued and the Oracle spoke.
Still in trance the Oracle returned to his seat, and everyone present, beginning with the Sikyong, came for his blessing. After everyone had passed in front of him and received a handful of blessed, orange-colored grains, the Oracle moved outside to the veranda where a large table was filled high with offerings. He sat in front, offered a red and white torma, and then called for the Guru Rinpoche statue to be brought forward. While the Karmapa remained inside on his throne, the Oracle carrying a long incense holder led the statue of Guru Rinpoche in a circumambulation of the temple. When he returned inside, the Oracle offered the Karmapa a long khata and returned to the center of the shrine where the monks carefully removed his headdress and ceremonial robes before carrying him away.
This significant and moving celebration of Guru Rinpoche’s birth concluded with luncheon for everyone present. Afterward the Karmapa went up the steps up to the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives next door to Nechung Monastery and paid one of his many visits before returning to his temporary residence at Gyuto Monastery.
For over twenty years now university students have been coming to Dharamshala under the auspices of the Gurukul program to receive an extended introduction to Tibetan spirituality and culture. They live in nunneries and monasteries as well as meet with Tibetan artists and activists. The students learn how it is and what it takes to leave a homeland, come to a new country, and start from scratch, all the while working for the welfare of the country left behind. They hear about Buddhist philosophy and about the Tibetan government, and NGOs.
They also watched the Lion’s Roar, a film about the Sixteenth Karmapa. On their last day of participating in interactive sessions, the students came to visit the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa and ask him their questions. First His Holiness was requested to relate something of his life story, and then he opened the floor to the students’ queries.
The first one asked: Since the Karmapa was known for supporting the conservation of nature and wildlife, could he give some tips on how to have more love and compassion for them?
His Holiness responded, “I was born in a remote place and lived close to nature, so I could see its beauty. Our life style then was very traditional and we lived in harmony with nature. This chance to be close to nature and experience it firsthand is the reason I felt motivated to protect the environment and its wildlife.”
This kind of childhood experience, he noted, it very precious and important. Many people have been born in the city and continue to live there so they do not have the experience of being in touch with nature. It would be good for them to spend more time out in the natural world.
He further suggested that we should also understand the interdependent relationship between ourselves and nature, and how important it is for us and all living beings. If we can do this, then slowly we will increase our love and gratitude to nature.
One young woman commented, “Before I did not know the physical size of Tibet. I thought it was a small country, but actually it’s really big. I was not aware of all the natural resources in Tibet some of which can be used for many things. Tibet is also the central waterpower in Asia. Now we’re learning how important it is to conserve all these natural resources.” His Holiness agreed with her.
One of the leaders of the group said, “One might feel that Tibetans in exile are quite happy and everything is going well, but we do not see what is going on in Tibet.”
His Holiness responded that there is a big difference between the Tibet he knew when living there and today’s Tibet. Lhasa has become two times bigger than before. “Many friends told me,” he said, “when you visit Lhasa, you get the feeling of being in a modern Chinese city. It does not seem like Tibet. When I heard this, I thought that on one hand maybe it is good, but on the other, people come to see Lhasa because they want to see Tibet not a Chinese city.”
He added that this transformation makes him wonder what other things will change in the future. “Change is happening very quickly,” he remarked, “and as things develop, people have more desires and more money. They want to build bigger houses, more roads, and buy more cars. Lhasa now has lots of traffic jams. Many things have changed. I have the feeling if I could come back to Tibet, I wouldn’t be able to see the natural and pure Tibet I once knew.”
Another student asked why the Tibetans did not use violence, since it’s a question of their survival.
The Karmapa responded that in our contemporary world, violence seems to be nonstop. In the media we can hear bad news every day. “Recently in Afghanistan there was a bomb that killed 80 innocent people. We do not want to see this kind of thing happening.” He continued, “Even when Tibet is in a critical, difficult situation, I think we still have the option of different avenues of approach and different choices. It is not that we have to take a certain position and have only one single choice. I don’t see it like that.”
Another questioner queried: In Tibet there have been 144 instances of self-immolations. In Xinjiang, the people are killing the Chinese. So in one place, they are doing violence to themselves and in another, violence to others. Still in Buddhist philosophy, self-immolations are considered a form of violence. What do you think?
The Karmapa replied that he had already made several appeals to people not to self-immolate. “Maybe I’m the only person saying this,” he remarked, “and I’m a little bit worried, but I can’t bear this, so I must speak. We have high number of people who have self-immolated, but all these deaths have not brought the desired result. Internationally, no country really cares about them, and it is such a waste of this precious life. In general the Tibetan population is small; each and every person is valuable and needs to survive for the cause of Tibet. That is why I have made an appeal several times, saying that this is not a good choice.”
Sometimes the Tibetans in Tibet do not understand the international situation, the Karmapa explained, because they have not received correct information. They have the mistaken idea that if they do something, people outside Tibet will like and support them. Or they think that the international community will take some action or challenge what is happening in Tibet. But this comes close to being just an illusion. They should understand that if they continue the immolations, they are wasting their lives. It is also not good for Tibet or for their family. These are the reasons why I think they should chose another method. There are some people, for example, who are doing a very good job. They are studying, maybe by themselves, and getting a good education, so they can serve their community. We should adopt these more realistic ideas.
The next person asked the Karmapa about his stand on Tibet being autonomous or independent. He replied, “The leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very important. We all need to agree and support his leadership, because everyone can come together under his guidance. Unity has the greatest power. If we become divided into parts, I do not think we will get any result either for independence or the Middle Way. That is why I think the two sides need to understand each other. They cannot just hold on to their own view, but need to take in the larger picture.”
The next question concerned the degradation of the environment and the role of governments.
The Karmapa answered that many governments do not want to believe that the environment is a critical issue. They rely on oil and want to continue their economic development, so they are reluctant to make changes. In the short term, he remarked you can avoid these issues, but in the long term you cannot. “Scientists say that human greed is too powerful, and even if we had 3 or 4 planet earths, it would not be enough. Human greed has no limitation, but our natural resources do. This is the problem.”
“Will you be the next Dalai Lama?” asked the next questioner.
The Karmapa replied that he should create an official document to answer this question as so many people ask it and the media is repeating it, too. “I cannot be the next Dalai Lama,” the Karmapa stated. “The next Dalai Lama will be the Fifteenth Dalai Lama, not me.” He continued, “Also you need to understand that I’ve already become the Karmapa, and being the Karmapa is enough. It is a heavy responsibility and I cannot carry more than that.”
People are also saying, he continued, that he would do the Dalai Lama’s work of benefiting all Tibetans after His Holiness passed away. But there is no need to wait until then for the him to engage in benefiting the Tibetans. “It is not like that,” he explained. “Then it almost becomes like the Chinese who are waiting for His Holiness to pass away, and then they think the whole Tibetan issue will die out. They do not recognize that there are existing Tibetan issues but think it’s only the issue of the Dalai Lama. This is not true. After His Holiness passes away, the situation will be come more difficult, for no one will be able to control it.”
“In my case,” the Karmapa explained, “even if His Holiness passes away, I will serve. It is not because I would receive another position; it is because I am one of the very important lamas in Tibet, maybe the longest reincarnated lama in Tibetan history. That is why I have some responsibility, not just for my own lineage but also for the general welfare of the Tibetan people. I take that on that even now. There is no need to wait until His Holiness passes away to start a program or make plans. I will do that right now.”
In speaking of the future, the Karmapa noted, “We already have political leaders, who are elected by the people. They will take care of the political part of Tibetan life. For the religious part, each lineage has their own leaders, and I do not think someone who is not the Dalai Lama can be the leader for all these spiritual leaders. That is not realistic.”
On a more personal level, the Karmapa said, “Even the fifteenth Dalai Lama could not. It is difficult to earn the kind of respect that is given to the Dalai Lama with all his vast activities. The Fifteenth will be under a lot of pressure, as people will expect so much of him, saying, ‘You should be like the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, who was like this and did that.’ I think it would be very difficult to bear this kind of pressure. The expectation and the reality are very different. I know this from my own experience.”
The following question touched on the Tibetans in exile. Have they done their part for the Tibetan cause?
The Karmapa noted that 2018 is the sixtieth anniversary of the Tibetans being in exile. It is difficult to satisfy all needs, he said, but “I think we have done a lot. For any Tibetan coming from Tibet, we provide an education and a place to stay. Not many refuge communities can provide these facilities. Even so, I think many people are not satisfied, even me. We will do better, but sometimes it’s not easy. India society moves at a slower pace. Some Indian friends tell me that India is like an elephant. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Because elephants move very slowly and they are powerful,’ they replied.”
The Karmapa commented, “I think we Tibetans are moving a bit slowly, too. Tibetans tend to think of themselves as refugees and get stuck there, thinking, ‘We cannot do too much because we are refugees. We have to be satisfied with less.’ Maybe we need to change this kind of attitude, because young people like development and need new things. This why many people have left the Tibetan settlements and moved to different parts of the world. They do not want to stay here. Others are going back to Tibet, and the flow of Tibetans from Tibet has almost been stopped, so it could be that after 10 or 20 years, there will not be much of a refugee community left in India.”
Reprising his thoughts on the slowness of change, the Karmapa observed, “Sometimes I think we should change slowly. Even if the change is a good thing, we may need time. In the past I have encouraged people to stop eating meat, but I do not like to order people to do something. People need to clearly understand the reason why they are doing something; maybe they can come to experience why not eating meat is meaningful and then stop. Otherwise, it is not so meaningful; it is good but not perfect, so slowly is better here.
The last question asked the Karmapa about what inspired him and how he found time to pursue his artistic interests.
The Karmapa responded that some people think since he is the Karmapa, he does many different things. He commented, “If I am diligent enough, maybe I will become better at them. Sometimes I make paintings, poems, dramas, songs, music, or graphic designs. Usually I do not see myself as a high lama like the Karmapa. I see myself as a servant, and that is why I do a lot of things on my own. It is tiring and not easy, but I take this as an opportunity. I do not think that since I received the name of the Karmapa, it means I am a great person. It is not like that. Having this name means that I have the opportunity to serve people. Thank you.”
[During this dialogue, the Karmapa spoke in English, which was lightly edited.]