SILIGURI: As all political outfits and social groups across the spectrum in Sikkim unite over the issue of the 17th Karmapa, it is only a matter of time before the central government comes under enormous pressure to life the ban on his entry into the state. The chief minister, all opposition parties and religious groups have already expressed their desire to see Orgyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, take his seat at the Rumtek monastery, the Dharma Chakra Centre of Kagyu sect of Buddhism which he represents. The Dalai Lama has already endorsed him as the 17th Karmapa. But the Centre’s decision to ban his entry into Sikkim has made the people of the Himalayan state quite restless.
Observers feel that if the issue is not tackled deftly, it may snowball into a major problem that may have far-reaching repercussions.
According to the Kagyu sect of Buddhism, the Karmapa is the head of the sect and is regarded as Living Buddha. The Karmapa’s seat at the Rumtek monastery is lying vacant since the death of the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpey Dorjee, on November 5, 1981.
Leaders of Sikkim, cutting across party lines, and Buddhist monks of the state have come under one common platform to press the Centre to allow Orgyen Trinley Dorje to visit the state. Ogyen Trinley Dorje, recognised as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa by the Dalai Lama, had fled Tibet and reached Dharmasala in Himachal Pradesh in January 2000. He has always remained as a controversial figure because there have been at least three claimants for the post. Buddhists monks across the globe are also divided over the matter and are supporting different claimants, although Orgyen Trinley Dorje, who stays at Dharmasala, has the largest following.
However, the circumstances leading to his recognition, remains a bit controversial. Denjong Lhadey, the association of Buddhist monks of Sikkim, has been organizing a relay hungerstrike in Gangtok for the last 65 days demanding his early entry into Sikkim even if he cannot be allowed to visit Rumtek, which is a matter that is sub-judice for now. On September 10, the Denjong Lhadey had organised a sit-in protest in front of the Raj Bhawan in Gangtok. Earlier, a pro-Karmapa rally held in Gangtok on July 10 was attended by former chief minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari, Sonam Lama, the Sangha legislator, Tsheten Tashi Lepcha, the Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) convener, and Bharat Basnett, the president of Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee, apart from monk heads from various monasteries of Sikkim.
Sonam Lama, the Sangha MLA representing the opposition SKM and leading the movement for the Karmapa’s entry to Sikkim, told HT, “It is due to the non-serious attitude of the state government that the 17th Karmapa is not being able to come to Sikkim.” Sangha is an MLA seat reserved for religious leaders. Lama, who had led a team of Buddhist monks to stage a two-day-long dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, said, “If the Centre cannot allow the 17th Karmapa to enter Rumtek, he should be allowed to come to either Fodong or Ralang monastery.”
Former chief minister Bhandari also blamed the state government for adopting “dual standards” with regard to the Karmapa issue. However, chief minister Pawan Chamling recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and requested him to expedite the process of the Karmapa’s entry into Sikkim.
Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) 17 Sep 2016 HT Correspondent ■ email@example.com
SHIMLA: Living from past 17 years under watchful eyes of Indian security agencies the 17th Karmapa, Oguen Trinley Dorje’s quest for an independent house may end soon, as Central government has agreed to reconsider request of his follower to allow the high ranking Buddhist monk to settle permanently in Himalayan region.
Oguen Trinley Dorje, who head, parallel Kagyu Karma sect of Buddhism currently lives in tightly guarded back yard of Gyotu Tantric Monastery in Dharamshala. The ministry of home affairs apprised the state government that it will examine the request for allowing Oguen to settle down permanently in Dharamshala and its surrounding area. Home ministry deliberated with officials of the state government and reviewed Karmapa’s security arrangement. Oguen Trinley Dorje at the age of 14, in 1999 made a dramatic escape, from Tsurphu monastery in China controlled Tibetan Autonomous Region. The Buddhist monk’s escape had taken the Indian intelligence agencies by surprise. Dorje claimed that he along with his attendants and elder sister Nodup Palzom travelled 1450 km on horseback, train and helicopter to reach Dharamsala.
The Reception Committee of Sikkim to His Holiness The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje led by Acharya Tshering Lama, Chairman of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Government of Sikkim met with his Holiness The 17th Karmapa at Karmapa Monastery in Dharamsala on 19th September 2016.
This is what His Holiness The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje said during the meeting with Reception Committee of Sikkim for His Holiness :
"It has been about 16 years, that I am living in India and I hope every Indian people may know well about me. And in particular as all people of Sikkim, they are doing hard work on the issue to invite me to Sikkim as soon as possible. And that's true that I have a great relationship with Sikkim and Sikkimese People. It's not my present life only but it's a life of previous 16th Karmapa. That is why myself, as once atleast I would really like to visit in Sikkim. After I came in India, I got great opportunities by Indian Government for visit in every part of the India. And now for me, Sikkim is the only place which is left for my visit but I hope that day will come as soon as soon possible through the hard work by Sikkimese people and Sikkim's Government. Therefore, I am expecting that this issue should be sort out in very peaceful way as soon as possible.
As reported earlier a Bhutia Lepcha delegation has been camping at New Delhi meeting various Central government ministers and submitting representations. Both the SKM MLAs are also in national capital. They have called upon Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Law Minister Ravi Kumar Prasad.
Karmapa’s visit to Sikkim, proportionate increase of BL seats in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly if its strength is expanded, early reservation of seats for Limboo Tamang Tribes and restoration of seats of the Sikkimese Nepalese in the SLA are some of their demands.
The Union Home Minister also discussed matters pertaining to the early arrival of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Sikkim. He enquired about the possible locations where His Holiness can visit except Rumtek owing to the existing legal complications. He has further expressed his concerns on the health and physical states of the monks who are sitting at hunger strike at BL House, Gangtok since July 10, 2016 and has requested the monk community to maintain peace and calm.”
But after more than 80 days of dharna and relay hunger strike with no positive results, the protesting monks are now threatening to take to the streets after completion of 100 days. A meeting was called by Denzong Lhadey at Phodong monastery where the monks expressed their anguish over the State government’s indifferent attitude to their dharna. “We will wait till the hunger strike completes 100 days. If the State government fails to bring Karmapa to Sikkim within this time frame than we will come out into the streets,” they informed.
“People of Sikkim have waited for more than 16 years for Karmapa’s arrival. Both the State and Central government have been indifferent in handling the issue. Now we can go to any extent,” they added.
A group of 20 postgraduate students from the psychology department of Ambedkar University Delhi converged in Dharamsala this week for a series of interactions with His Holiness the Karmapa. Their discussions will explore the ways that Buddhism and modern psychology understand and address various human emotions. The emotions to be discussed over the course of the next 11 days were proposed by the psychology students and include: jealousy and envy; love and attachment; greed, desire and contentment; guilt and shame; stress and anxiety; fear, terror and courage; and, faith and hope.
Over the course of their stay in Dharamsala, the group will spend their days immersed in developing presentations for the Karmapa, meeting with His Holiness in his library at Gyuto Monastery, and then reviewing together what they have learned.
The meetings with His Holiness consist of question-and-answer sessions, as well as presentations delivered by teams of three students on modern psychology’s understanding of the various emotions. The presenters are tasked with outlining the ways that each emotion is defined and treated in the various schools of modern psychology. They hold the additional brief of sharing with His Holiness how those emotions look on the ground in their own communities. This acknowledges how emotions, although they form part of a universal human experience, are expressed, valued and experienced in ways that are very much shaped by the individual’s particular gender, religious, caste or class, and cultural contexts.
“This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to hold such a long series of meetings with an Indian student group,” the Karmapa told them during their initial session with him. “For me this is a wonderful occasion, because I can enter into a world that I cannot usually experience, and explore social issues and contexts I am not so familiar with. So for me this is a great opportunity, and I want to express how happy I am to have this time together with you.”
Accompanied by two faculty members from the University, the students are bringing to the conversations a wide mix of personal experiences and social and religious backgrounds. Some had previously pursued careers in law and engineering, while others have already begun working as therapists. Among them are students with Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist backgrounds, and they claim their roots all across India, coming from south, north, northeast and central India.
The programme has been organized and sponsored by Kun Kyong Charitable Trust at the Gyalwang Karmapa’s request. The trust had previously arranged a similar programme to allow Tibetan youth from across India to explore topics of vital interest to their lives, including identity, leadership, and gender issues. Over the past five years, the Karmapa has sought out opportunities for sustained interactions with university students and young professionals from various countries and communities.
The first such sustained interaction with youth was held in 2011 when the Gyalwang Karmapa was 26 years of age, as a credit course for students from the University of Redlands in California, and led to the book The Heart Is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out. A subsequent book, Interconnected: Living Fully in a Global Society, is forthcoming from Wisdom Publications in 2017. A major publisher in Delhi has already arranged to publish a book based on the teachings on emotion being held presently with the students from Ambedkar University.
At his present age of 31, the Karmapa maintains a profound commitment to connecting with youth of his generation to encourage them to take greater responsibility for resolving those issues, and to explore with them wise ways to address major issues facing the 21st-century society. The programme with the Ambedkar University students is held in that spirit, and reflects his conviction that Buddhist teachings can serve as resources for non-Buddhist audiences looking for new ways to address matters of universal concern.
5th October 2016: TCV School observed its Tibet Our Country (TOC) Day on 5th October this year with His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa Urgen Thrinley as the chief guest. To mark the occasion, a grand function was held on the school basketball under a giant makeshift tent attended by the school Director, Principal, staff members, students and other dignitaries. Everybody was clad in pure Tibetan national day coinciding the white Wednesday ( Lhakar).The school Religious teacher led the lifelong prayer and Manjushree prayer in unison. This year, the main theme of TOC was compassion.
During the function, the school Director presented a brief report and introduction to the day. There were few cultural program from the students. A ceremonial sweet rice and butter tea was served during the cultural show. There was also award ceremony for the winners of Olympiad and for the Primary teachers who had participated in the Tibetan in-service training organized jointly by Sherig and TCV School. Three students presented poetry on love and compassion and the Samaritan work done by a group of Suja students.
After that Gyalwa Karmapa Urgen Thrinley Dorjee addressed the gathering. He expressed his great happiness over visiting the school once again after a long gap. He also talked about the good rapport between the school and his monastery. He blessed all those gathered including the people from nearby settlements and monasteries.
In the afternoon, there was Tibetan debate which was attended by the senior students. The speakers were very eloquent and it was appreciated by the whole audience. A special traditional lunch was arranged on the day from the school kitchen. In the evening, an hour long movie on Morality was shown. The movie was directed by Master Phurbu Tsering la, with help from Mr. Jigme Wangdue la, the Head of the Tibetan Department. The movie was attended by the school Director, the Principal and the staff and students. Finally, the school Principal gave a vote of thanks and officially concluded the eventful Tibet Our Country Day. He thanked each and every one who had made this day successful especially the Tibetan Department of the school.
TOC (Tibet Our Country) Day is celebrated all over TCV Schools. The main objective of celebrating this day is to preserve our Tibetan rich culture and tradition among the younger generation who had not seen their country. It was started way back in 1990s and since then all the schools have been arranging various activities and programs. As such it has become one of the major programs in all TCV Schools.
Today His Holiness The Gyalwang Karmapa met with young leaders, ages 22 to 30, from the Spiritual Ecology Youth Fellowship in the United States. They had been chosen for their potential as catalysts for practical change, centered in a spiritual world with sensitivity for the nature. These young people seek to create a future that is not driven by materialism and greed, but rooted in the spiritual values of interconnectedness, service, stewardship, and reverence for nature.
Their first question for His Holiness was asked by a young woman who had gone in a bicycle pilgrimage in several counties, including the US, Canada, and Iceland. She posed to His Holiness the key question that she had asked on her travels: When and how did you first become passionate about environmental issues?
The Karmapa responded by returning to his childhood to identify the source of his connection to the environment. Noting that he had grown up in a remote area of Eastern Tibet, he recalled, “We lived a traditional life style that was close to the natural environment. This is the source of my experience, which makes it easy to recognize how important the environment is.”
He also spoke of the conferences and workshops his environmental organization, Khoryuk, had conducted for nuns and monks, who have the motivation to help, but sometimes do not know how. These seminars give them practical knowledge on what to do and how to manage projects that will help to preserve the environment.
The next question came from a woman whose family had experienced the trauma of the bombing in the Marshall Islands. She wondered about how people in the future will deal with the trauma caused by climate change.
The Karmapa responded, “I think they will need a simple meditation practice. In places like my home in Tibet, people are living a very simple life, which sometimes brings physical hardships but mentally it’s healthy and powerful.” In the world these days, he remarked, many people spend their time focused on the material world, so their inner strength, which allows them to face difficulties, decreases. He suggested, “After a disaster, we could provide a meditation program or psychological support to help people overcome this kind of trauma.”
A young man then asked about China, saying that he had a strong sense that there is an ecological and spiritual awakening occurring in the younger generation. Could His Holiness speak about this?
The Karmapa replied that China has rich cultural and spiritual traditions, but in recent history they have spent time improving their material situation. People were focused on becoming wealthy but internally felt quite empty and lonely. These days people recognize the problem, so increasing numbers of people want to learn about something that goes beyond the world of material wealth. They are searching for internal wealth, which brings true happiness.
Being engaged in environmental protection, he remarked, can bring a connection with spiritual practice. We can feel the interdependent relationship between ourselves and the environment and other living beings. This enables us to recognize a wider sense of who we are. Usually, he explained, “We have a strange idea about ‘me’ and ‘mine’ thinking they are independent and solid. But actually everything is interconnected. Without other species, we cannot survive. That is why I think practical engagement in environmental activity can develop our inner strength.”
The last question asked if there were anything they could share with the nunnery they were soon going to visit.
The Karmapa responded, “Each and every one of you have amazing and special experiences. If you can share these with the nuns, they will be inspired. Sometimes if you’re only talking about science with lots of numbers and information, it’s not enough to move people. Sharing your own experience is the most valuable thing you can give to the nuns.”
With this encouragement to connect on a personal level, the Karmapa’s lively meeting these future leaders came to a close.
The Gyalwang Karmapa was invited to be the chief guest ta the Suja School’s celebration of this special day known as Tibet Our Country. Begun in the 1990s, it is a major event for the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) schools, which honors and supports the preservation of Tibet’s rich and unique culture with a variety of programs and activities that culminate on this day. The students performed traditional music and dance and presented their poetry on the topic of love and compassion, which was the focus of the day.
From the center of the stage, His Holiness spoke to those who had gathered, recalling that he had visited the school many times and that they had a deep relationship. Turning to the theme for the day, the Karmapa noted that scientists state compassion is a quality that all living beings have from birth but, he noted, we must open the door to it. If we do not use and develop this capacity, its power will deteriorate.
The Karmapa drew an analogy to the development of language. We are all born with the potential to speak, but if a young child grows up in a remote area without human contact, this capacity will no be activated and the child will not be able to talk with others. Likewise, if our innate capacity for love and compassion is not nurtured in the right environment, it will not develop. The Karmapa recommended that in addition to being loving themselves, parents should use the words “compassion” and “love” often in the presence of a child and that these reminders would benefit them.
In Tibetan society, the Karmapa noted, “We pay attention to compassion and love. Parents and grandparents recite prayers that include all living beings, vast as the sky, and make wishes that they have happiness and be free of suffering.” Likewise, Tibetans recite the six-syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara, who embodies compassion. “In brief,” he said, “we are a people who have a great interest in compassion and love. The social environment of Tibetan society provides the conditions for their growth.”
But sometimes, he noted, we can talk a lot about compassion and love, but they remain a mere habit or a custom, passed down through the generations without particular attention being paid to them. It is possible that we could often recite the mantra, but there is not much stable power to our practice. Why is this so? If practice is just following some custom, a philosophical position, or an ingrained habit, it will not truly benefit us in our daily lives.
Looking within, we can search for a mental feeling, or an experience, of compassion and love. If see that they are growing, then our practice is effective. If we are inspired to develop them, it will definitely be possible, and then through love and compassion, we can benefit both others and ourselves. The Karmapa counseled that we should turn our attention to developing our meditation and continue our practice throughout our entire life.
In the world these days, he remarked, compassion and loving-kindness, are in decline, so the time has come for us to be concerned and take responsibility to do all we can to help. This era in which we live is filled with immense changes so we cannot sit just on the sidelines and relax. We must become involved while focusing our minds clearly and thinking deeply.
The Karmapa concluded his talk with praise for the principal, staff, and teachers of Suja School. He complemented them for shouldering their responsibilities and working together well and encouraged them to continue: “We can collaborate, mutually benefitting each other, and also put our energy together to help the entire society.” On this positive note, the Karmapa concluded his talk.
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 12: The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, attended the opening event of the ‘Mind and Life’ conference organized by the Dharamshala based Tibetan Medical and Astro. Institute today.
The young Lama, often described by the international media as the “second highest leader” after the Dalai Lama, jested that he had simply come to say “hello” although acknowledging that such events had been helpful to him personally in understanding new concepts and aspects of Buddhist and scientific perceptions.
The young lama expressed that ‘Mind and Life’ initiatives address the increasingly coveted issue of understanding human mind through science as well as Buddhism and that the much needed venture will help to tackle growing issue of mental disorders or disturbances prevalent in modern lives.
“The experts from the East and the West must come together to work out solutions for the modern day issues related to disturbances and disorders arising out of modern dependency on materialism. The two (Buddhism and science) can assist each other in understanding the deeper intricacies of the human mind,” said the Karmapa while also expressing confidence at the fruitful result of the venture for the coming generations.
CTA’s Health Kalon Choekyong Wangchuk who also attended the proceedings opined that the relatively lesser incidences of Tibetans suffering from mental disorders or disturbances accorded by modern life, is due to our knowledge and proximity to Buddhism.
The 4th edition of the conference will feature speakers from the scientific community as well as Buddhist practitioners and participated by students and enthusiasts from all over the world for two days (Oct. 12 and 13).
Today’s podcast episode comes from the Gyalwang Karmapa’s first visit to Paris, France, and is a beautiful teaching on the Four Noble Truths.
This was the very first teaching that the historical Buddha gave and as such it is essential to Buddhists of all traditions, and practitioners of every level. The Karmapa teaches on all of the Noble Truths and discusses how we can overcome different types of suffering.
This episode is two sessions combined into one audio track and thus there is also two question and answer portions where students in the audience ask His Holiness about the refugee crisis in Europe, developing renunciation, and much more.
DHARAMSALA. Oct 12: Men-Tsee-Khang, the Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute’s department of Body, Mind and Life began its 4th International Conference on Body, Mind and Life at Men-Tsee-khang college’s auditorium earlier today.
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje graced the conference as the Chief Guest. Others in attendance for the occasion include Special Guest, Choekyong Wangchuk, Health Kalon (Minister) of Central Tibetan Administration(CTA), Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche and other dignitaries from CTA and Men-Tsee-Khang.
The Chief Guest and the Special Guest launched three books on presentations of 1st ,2nd and 3rd Body, Mind and Life conference at the inaugural function of the conference.
“This conference is what His Holiness the Dalai Lama advocates. The western scholars (modern science) and eastern scholars (Tibetan Medical and astrologers) will exchange and deliberate on their findings and research at the conference and it will surely benefit the entire humanity,” health Kalon said in his address.
“This is a very important conference as it focuses on inner peace and happiness of human being. I urge the western and eastern scholars to have successful discussions and deliberations at the conference,” His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje remarked.
“My observation after witnessing several conferences and meetings is that many a times we drift away from the actual topic or the subject, be it the speaker or the questioner. This is something we should do away with,” the Karmapa concluded.
Eight speakers, two each from the field of Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan medicine, Tibetan astrology and modern science will address at the conference that will be be attended by monks, doctors, astrologers, students and foreigners.
The three-day 4th International Body, Mind and Life conference will be held over Oct 12-14.
I was saddened to hear of the passing away this week of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who had been a guide and a source of hope and stability to the people of Thailand for more than seventy years.
During his reign he played a crucial role in encouraging and defending the development of democracy, while striving to preserve the ancient Buddhist traditions of his kingdom. He committed his life to working for the well-being of Thailand, and the outpouring of grief witnessed across the Thai nation following his passing indicates the deep love and respect in which he was held by his people.
At this time of mourning, I offer my heartfelt condolences and prayers to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and other members of the royal family, and to all the people of Thailand. I pray that those who are now full of sorrow will feel comforted and that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s vision and hopes for Thailand and the Thai people may continue to be fulfilled.
17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Dharamsala, India 15th October, 2016
DHARAMSHALA: The Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) school began its 56th founding anniversary celebrations today at a ceremony held at Upper TCV school, Dharamshala.
The first of three day celebration was graced by His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the chief guest. Other distinguished guests of the occasion were the Kalon of Department of Religion and Culture Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok, as Officiating Sikyong, Speaker of 16th Tibetan Parliament Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, members of the Kashag, Secretaries and officials of Central Tibetan Administration, representatives of various NGOs, TCV 20 Years Service Award Recipients, TCV Alumni class of 1991 Batch and long time supporters and donors of TCV.
More than a thousand Tibetans gathered at the school to witness the opening ceremony. The three-day celebration includes athletics meet, art exhibitions, debates and cultural shows.
The theme of this year’s celebration has been dedicated to the ‘Unity of the three provinces of Tibet’ and reinforcement of Tibetan values and culture based on the unity.
In his inaugural speech, His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche asserted strong concern on endurance of Tibetan identity and cultural nourishment of young Tibetan children. “Inevitably the most important duty of each Tibetan, in the face of the ever changing time and events, is to be mindful that one’s action contribute in ensuring the survival of Tibetan identity and dignity, and not otherwise. Secondly, the school administrators, teachers and parents as the guardians of Tibetan culture, must assert the traditional Tibetan knowledge and values to the young and new generations of Tibet.”
His Holiness advised the young students to imbibe the ethical, traditional and cultural values advocated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to remember the old generation of Tibetans whose sacrifices and hard work has preserved the true essence of the Tibetan movement.
Officiating Sikyong, Kalon Ven Karma Gelek emphasised Central Tibetan Administration’s steadfast commitment to promote unity and to tackle trivial social frictions that undermine the unity and integrity of the six million Tibetans. “It is undeniably the lifeline of the Tibetan movement. Unity is required by all units that constitute our society, which includes the educational institutions, cultural and religious centres and all organisations. The Tibetan movement can only be driven with the collective thoughts and actions of all of us, and its imperative that we do away with our personal and regional biases to move forward.”
Calling to mind the wisdom and noble thoughts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Kalon remarked upon secular education as advocated by His Holiness. “The idea of incorporating secularism in the education system is befitting to today’s world of conflicts and crisis. His Holiness’ teachings of non-violence and oneness of humanity is increasingly gaining relevance and it is high time for his followers, to deliberate his noble thoughts and guidance in actions in our daily lives.”
Kalon Karma Gelek Yuthok noted the successful implementation of the Basic Education Policy in the Tibetan school and lauded the efforts of the teachers and administrators in generating an environment that is effectively conducive for learning the traditional education as well as the modern.
Speaker of 16th Tibetan Parliament Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, in his address, paid respect and gratitude to the late Mrs Tsering Dolma Takla, Ama Jestun Pema and all the former and current members of TCV for their tireless efforts in educating thousands of Tibetan children since its inception in 1960.
The newly elected President of TCV Mr Thupten Dorjee thanked the distinguished guests for gracing the occasion while reflecting on the TCV’s mission and commitment to bring quality education to the Tibetan youth so that they can confidently meet the global challenges of the 21st century.
The celebration was marked with students contingent march pass, cultural performances and calisthenics display. The inter-house athletics meet will be held tomorrow followed by a TCV alumni of 1991 batch gathering on the third day.
TCV is the largest residential school of the exiled Tibetan community. It was founded in 1960 as a nursery with 51 children. TCV has become an integrated educational community for Tibetan children in exile, as well as for hundreds of those escaping from Tibet each year. With established branches in India extending from Ladakh in the North to Bylakuppe in the South, TCV has over 15,000 children under its care. It is a registered, nonprofit charitable organisation with headquarter based at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, North India.
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 24: The foremost Tibetan school in exile, the Tibetan Children’s Village yesterday kicked off the commemorations of the 56th founding anniversary with cultural programs, display of performances by the students as well as the congregation of noted dignitaries who took part in the event. The theme of the 2016 edition of the TCV ‘Linka’ (picnic) as it is referred to as was ‘unity among the people of Tibet’ in its collective struggle.
The chief guest, Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, presided over the first day of the three day anniversary celebrations. The head of the kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism emphasized the revitalization of the Tibetan identity and it’s furtherance through the Tibetan children who he said represent the coming generations. “The most important duty of each Tibetan, in the face of the ever changing time and events, is to be mindful that one’s action contribute in ensuring the survival of Tibetan identity and dignity. Secondly, the school administrators, teachers and parents as the guardians of Tibetan culture, must assert the traditional Tibetan knowledge and values to the young and new generations of Tibet.”
The young lama also said that the younger generation of Tibetans should bear in mind the foundation of the exile community which was the culmination of efforts by the older generation Tibetans.
Minister for Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration Ven. Karma Gelek Yuthok spoke on the need for unity amongst the Tibetan people to propel collective efforts towards the Tibetan cause and to not stray from the cause by deviating into internal feuds accorded by secondary differences within the community. He said, “Unity is required by all units that constitute our society, which includes the educational institutions, cultural and religious centres and all organizations. The Tibetan movement can only be driven with the collective thoughts and actions of all of us, and it is imperative that we do away with our personal and regional biases to move forward.”
“The idea of incorporating secularism in the education system is befitting to today’s world of conflicts and crisis. His Holiness’ teachings of non-violence and oneness of humanity is increasingly gaining relevance and it is high time for his followers, to deliberate his noble thoughts and guidance in actions in our daily lives,” the minister said on the holistic education of younger generation of Tibetans.
The highlight of this year’s celebration is the inter school athletics meet on Monday, contested amongst the TCV schools in Himachal Pradesh state.
Speaker of TPiE Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, members of the Kashag, Secretaries and officials of Central Tibetan Administration, representatives of various NGOs, recipients of the TCV 20 Years Service Award, TCV Alumni- class of 1991 and long time supporters and donors of TCV were present among guests.
TCV Schools is considered an important institution in the Tibetan exile community, founded in 1960 as a humble nursery with only 51 children, and has since grown to support and educate Tibetan children in exile. Today, TCV has over 15,000 children under its care in contrast to the 51 children when it was first established by the sister of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the late Tsering Dolma 56 years ago.
October 10, 2016 – Tibetan Children’s Village School Upper Dharamshala, India
Recently the Gyalwang Karmapa spent three days at the Tibetan Children’s Village School Upper Dharamsala to make a closer connection with the students and their teachers as well as their way of life and study. As he arrived on the morning of this first day, he was greeted by long lines of teachers and students with their khatas, and escorted to the school’s main hall by officials of the school, including Mr. Ngodup Wangdue, the Director, and Mr. Namdol Tashi, the Principal.
In this hall the first event of the Karmapa’s visit took place—the concluding program of a month-long study of logic in the Tibetan tradition. As the chief guest, the Karmapa addressed the assembly. He first cited HH the Dalai Lama’s counsel that students should focus on Buddhist logic, philosophical systems, and practice, and rejoiced praising the students’ and teachers’ enthusiastic efforts in these areas. The Karmapa noted, “Both inside and outside Tibet, there has been a recent upsurge of interest in debating through valid reasoning.”
The Karmapa then examined briefly the history of rigs lam, the Tibetan word for logic or valid reasoning. “If we look at the old texts,” he explained, “we find rigs lung btang ba, a shortened version of rigs and lung btang ba (to employ reasoning and scripture). Over time this term probably evolved into rigs lam.” He followed this with a quick look at the history of the science of logic or validity.
“It is extremely important to examine closely reasoning and scripture” the Karmapa continued, “by using logic that is based on these two, so that we can eliminate what is not understood by others and their wrong views as well as removing our own wrong views, which we may not be aware of.” He added, “And this subject matter is relevant not only in the context of Buddhism but it applies to linguistics, science, mathematics, and many other areas of inquiry.”
The Karmapa emphasized, “It is through developing the two wings of excellent living traditions and fine modern education that students can soar. This is the goal of our Tibetan Children’s Villages.”
Modern education and sustaining Tibetan traditions are key in these difficult times, he stated and so “We all have to do our utmost with great dedication.” He noted that in Tibet, even through people face great difficulties, they have huge determination and altruism, from which we all could learn. He cautioned Tibetans in India against losing their initial enthusiasm and positive thinking. These are critical and unusual times, he said, and we need to think seriously about them. He concluded by asking people not to let up and continue their efforts to follow in the path of HH the Dalai Lama’s advice.
This afternoon in a more informal setting, the Gyalwang Karmapa met with the foster mothers of TCV Upper Dharamsala. They responsible for the daily care of the students, who live homes of about thirty students each with one foster mother to each home. The Karmapa began his talk with something he said they all would know.
“What people become depends on the social environment of their childhood and especially on the close relationship they have as children with the people who care for them. Whatever habitual patterns are created in their young years and the counseling they receive are probably the most important thing for shaping their thought for the rest of their lives. Therefore, those who act as mothers are essential.
“As humans we usually have a mother and father, but we Tibetans experience the sad situation in which parents and children are separated. Previously, for the sake of their future and to preserve Tibetan culture and Dharma, many parents let go of their children. Not deterred by hardships, many arrived here in India from Tibet. Through the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Children Villages were created.”
The Karmapa then spoke of the goals of the school, which were to use both traditional and modern education to create good people, who were also dignified and well mannered. To bring this about, of course, education is important, but equally important are the foster mothers. They hold a great responsibility, because their way of being and working sets an example for the children.
“Usually, we have a difficult time saying that we will take on a big responsibility,” he said. “If you ask some one if they are prepared, or if they have the courage and time to assume a great responsibility, it will be difficult for them to say, “Yes.” But even if we do not have this capability when we are born, it is possible to develop it through gathering experience so that the scope of our mind increases.
“To use myself as an example, I was recognized as the Karmapa when I was seven years old. At that time, I did not understand who the Karmapa was or what to do after becoming him. In our homeland, people usually had great faith in the Karmapa, which was authentic. In general Tibetans have immense faith in lamas and sometimes think of them as beyond human as if they did not even need to eat.”
He continued, “On the day when they recognized me as the Karmapa, I thought, “I’ll get to play a lot and have many friends to play with. It didn’t occur to me that there would be tremendous problems and difficulties.”
“I left my homeland and came up to Lhasa, and then I traveled to Tsurphu, the seat of the successive Karmapas, about 77 kilometers from Lhasa. Before arriving at the monastery, following tradition, I left the car and mounted a horse. The Sangha lined up along the road and there was a traditional parade with banners and drums resounding. There were crowds of people, and I was riding a horse. It all seemed rather strange and, I thought, ‘This is not going to be a lot of fun,’ because I had never heard such loud drums and the people riding horses were closing in. ‘This is not going to go well,’ I thought. I had that kind of feeling in the beginning, and then gradually, I began to study.”
Turning to the topic of reincarnate lamas in general, the Karmapa remarked, “On the one hand, from their previous lives many reincarnate lamas inherently had special qualities and traits from the time they are born. On the other hand, many lamas, to put it plainly, are given studies and made ready for their role. And they are instructed that they have to become incredibly good.”
In terms of his own studies, the Karmapa noted that as many people who are rather intelligent, his discipline could have been better. Be that as it may, he continued studying as he grew up.
Speaking briefly of past lives, he commented, “Although we do not know who we were in our past life, if in this life we work well, we will have done what we can. If we do not do well, then in our past life if we were a god, it is not all that useful. If we do well, then in our past life if we were a ghost, it does not make any difference.”
Segueing into speaking of a precious human rebirth with resources and leisures, the Karmapa described it is a special human birth, in which we have all the positive conditions needed to benefit others and are free of the opposing ones. “Since we have attained this kind of human rebirth that is useful and beneficial, we must make it meaningful,” he said and commented that this means being able to actively benefit others and ourselves as well.
Returning to the topic of responsibility, the Karmapa mentioned, “Taking on the responsibility of helping others is not at all easy. If we do not have the right capacity for a practice that is supported by love and compassion,” he cautioned, “pleasant words may come from our mouth, but when we are engaged in actual practice, it will be difficult for us. Why is this so? Because the thought to benefit others is not the only one in our minds. We have a whole variety of thoughts and emotions within us. Sometimes we do not know what we should do, so we make many mistakes.
“Recognizing this, we give our power over to what we really need—love and compassion. To them we transfer our control and its authority. If we can do this, then gradually things will go well. Without this, it will not be easy at all.”
He continued, “A large percentage of children who have malaria die. Another executioner in our world could be called our lack of compassion for each other.” The consequence “is that many people die of hunger. Some are all alone without friends, and others live in a situation where they have no refuge or protector. If we humans were concerned about each other and felt mutual sympathy and compassion, we would see less suffering in the world would decrease.”
“We have this capacity for concern and affection from the beginning of our lives,” the Karmapa noted, “however, as we grow up our way of thinking is influenced by our surroundings and the situations we meet, so that slowly we change and become someone without much compassion. Therefore from a very young age, we should make efforts to train this innate capacity for compassion.”
If it is not developed, then there’s a danger of it diminishing or even getting lost, like a child who does not develop its capacity for language if left alone. The Karmapa also gave the example of a retreatant: “Some people stay in silent retreat for a long time with no one around, and when they return to human society, they have a difficult time talking.” So we should nurture a child’s capacity for compassion, he counseled, by often using the words “love” and “compassion” in the course of daily life. “If compassion is developed from a young age, when it comes time to take responsibility, this will not feel like a heavy burden or a hindrance and they will become courageous.
“If we did not have the capacity for love and compassion, and had to take on the great responsibility of benefitting others, it would feel like a heavy load. Other’s problems would seem unbearable and it would be difficult to try and help them. Courage is necessary in order to help others.
“Further, many conditions must to come together,” he continued. “It is not enough to merely have a positive attitude. There are the six perfections, for example, including discipline and patience, which should be developed. Many different conditions must assemble so that afterwards we can truly benefit others.” The Karmapa concluded, “Just a good attitude by itself will not help if it does not actually benefit someone in the way it was intended.”
On a more general level, the Karmapa noted, “For us Buddhists, especially those on the mahayana path, compassion is the root of practice. It is important in the beginning of practice; important while one is continuing to practice; and important at the end when the level of the Buddha is realized. Therefore, it is crucial to develop our practice of compassion.”
Continuing to discuss compassion, the Karmapa stated, “There is a difference between compassion as it is explained in the great texts of Buddhism and compassion as we usually understand it as being affectionate and caring. For example, if we were walking along a road and saw a dog that had been hit by a car and its legs were broken, we would feel compassion for it. This is, of course, compassion but the compassion that is explained in the texts is more active and more dedicated: it involves a greater sacrifice. This is a key point.
“Meditating on compassion in a Buddhist way does not mean that there is a person over here meditating on compassion and some object over there to whom the compassion is directed. It is not that the two are separate so that the one meditating on compassion is in rather good circumstances and the object of their compassion is in terrible circumstances. Thinking, “I’m in a pretty good place,” you say, “Oh, how sad. How pitiful.” This is usually considered compassion.
“Buddhist compassion reduces the distance between the one feeling compassion and the object of compassion. We come to feel that we are actually the person for whom we are feeling compassion. We can enter into the situation of the other person and take it on one hundred percent. When this happens, it is the compassion that the Buddhist texts describe.
“There are other ways of thinking about the practice of compassion in Buddhism,” the Karmapa explained. “We can have the thought, ‘May all living beings be free of suffering.’ ‘I will free them of suffering.’ Or ‘How wonderful it would be if all beings were free of suffering.’ The sum of these practices is that we must have courage, great courage, and say, ‘I will free them from suffering.’ And this is not just making an aspiration as we usually do saying, ‘May they be free of suffering,’ but actually committing to do this, ‘I will find a way.’ So courage and mental strength are needed. If they are present, it can be called “compassion.”
After speaking about the future of the Tibetans, the Karmapa concluded his talk with a counsel to the foster mothers: “In the future we should continually sustain our determination and enthusiasm. It is essential to remind and encourage ourselves.”
Following his talk, the Karmapa visited the Juniors’ classes to observe how the teachers conduct their studies and how the students work in class. After a tour of the school’s library, he returned to his temporary residence at Gyuto Tantric University.
October 11, 2016 – Tibetan Children’s Village Upper Dharamsala, India
The Gyalwang Karmapa began his second day at TCV by circumambulating the shrine hall while turning the prayer wheels, and then he spoke briefly with the teachers and staff. Afterward he went to visit classrooms for the Middle and Senior students Sometimes the Karmapa stood in the back of the classroom to observe, and at others he stood with the teacher or next to a student watching how they were taking notes or reading their book. In the science lab, the students showed him the projects they had recently completed.
During the afternoon, the Karmapa returned to the main hall to talk to the Middle and Senior students as well as the faculty. Sitting on the stage beneath a large image of the Buddha, the Karmapa recalled that he had come many times this school as well as other TCV schools. This occasion, however, was special since he could spend three consecutive days with them and thanked all who had made it possible.
After mentioning that he felt older than his years due to all the difficult experiences he had known, the Karmapa turned to his childhood: “Until seven years old, I was a child like all of you. I was an ordinary, really normal child.” He related that he was told that there were special signs at his birth, which he himself had not experienced, and that his neighbors in the village believed he was special. His parents had gone to lamas to ask and find out who he was. Then the search party looking for the Karmapa’s reincarnation came to the remote area of his home, known as Lhatok (lha thog).
[In a lighter vein as an aside, he remarked, “Many people do not know where my homeland is. Some think I’m from Amdo, some think I’m from Utsang, and others think I’m from Kham. Actually, this is quite fortunate. When I’m with people from Kham, who think I’m a Khampa, then I speak a little in their language. When I’m with people from Utsang, who think I’m from there, I use some of their words. And when I’m with people from Amdo who think that we share a homeland, I talk a little like them. And so it all turns out quite well.”]
The Karmapa explained that Lhatok was a remote area and history books tell that it once was a rather small kingdom. When the search party came to Lhatok from Lhasa, they did not give any notice of their coming and the Karmapa thought that they must have faced some problems. The search party asked many questions of his father and mother and then returned to Lhasa. The second time the party visited, they declared that he was the Karmapa’s reincarnation. “At that time, my life underwent a powerful change,” the Karmapa recalled. “When we were young children, we would play a game together. I would pretend to be a high lama and the others would pretend to be ordinary people. After I became the Karmapa and people prostrated, it seemed to me that we were still playing that same game.”
Then, as he did for the foster mothers (see the report for the afternoon of October 10th), the Karmapa shared the story of his coming to Tsurphu, his seat near Lhasa, and how the situation was not at all what he had expected. In sum, he said, “I was a normal child who went from being ordinary to growing up as the Karmapa.”
Continuing this line of thought, he said, “Many people think that when one is a high lama like the Karmapa, immediately one is exceptional and very advanced, so one would not need to study much. But it is usually not the case that a tulku will quickly become a special person.” He explained that some tulkus have a sharp intellect from birth and some understand immediately what they are taught. However, most tulkus are made, or to use Dharma terms, their qualities are acquired. One has to make efforts to become an authentic reincarnation.”
“In my case,” the Karmapa explained, “receiving the name Karmapa is nothing astounding. First the name is given, and then in accordance with that name, you are given a very intensive education since people have hope and faith in the Karmapa. You put all your energy into this study and still the teachers say, ‘You have to do better than that. You’re the Karmapa.’ Anyway you look at it, engaging in this kind of study and training is not at all easy.”
The Karmapa then turned to the students’ education and remarked, “You are all here to study and are doing well. It is important that we have hopes and ideas about what we will do in the future and it is good that each one of us has their goals and plans.” We should think far ahead into the future, he counseled, and through a stable hope and trust, engage in our studies.
The Karmapa also encouraged the students: “We Tibetans are a people with a long history. We have a rich culture and an excellent Buddhist philosophical system. Therefore, it is a most valuable and precious activity to study and have a deep interest in our traditions, culture, and sciences.”
The modern world, he commented, is only interested in expansion, and if things continue this way, it will be difficult to think that everything will be all right. Interest in material things has taken over and we live in a world of consumerism. We meet ads at every turn telling us that we must buy this and have that. “Actually,” the Karmapa remarked, “we do not need all these things we are told to buy.” But ads everywhere increase our craving to get and consume things. If this continues without anyone at the helm, he warned, we will be faced with a huge disaster. Scientists today are saying that our planet is not big enough to satisfy all our cravings.
Encouraging everyone to consume less, the Karmapa gave advice on how to shop. Before going to the store, he said, we should think carefully and in detail about what we are going to buy. If it is a watch, then what color? Shape? Size? We should set clearly in our minds how we will use it and what features it should have. Then we should go straight to the store and buy exactly what we set out to purchase. This would be fine. But if we just think, “I’d like to buy something” and wander around different stores, we will wind up buying too much. It is important to make a clear distinction between what we want and what we really need, he stated, and not fool ourselves by confusing the two.
Knowing what to take up and what to give up can be learned through study. “We have to know well,” the Karmapa advised, “what is virtuous and what is not, or what is truly positive and what is actually negative within ourselves. To be able to see this, we need the two eyes of the traditional science of logic and the teachings on discernment bequeathed to us by the traditions of our forefathers.” This traditional education should be combined, he said, with a modern one, which allows us to move in our contemporary society. Both types of education are needed in the same way that we need two hands. With the two eyes of logic and discernment and the two hands of traditional and modern education, he explained, we will have all that we need.
The Karmapa concluded by saying that in order to accomplish their goals for the future, students needed to engage in their education and study well, always developing further. “Please try hard to become a good person who is dignified and well mannered, who has loving-kindness for people, and who embodies the excellent attitude of wishing to benefit others. Thank you.”
The day ended with a lively spelling bee in the main hall. The Karmapa was the Chief Guest, sitting in the center of the audience to watch the ten young contestants.
This afternoon the Gyalwang Karmapa celebrated the final day of his three-day visit to Upper TCV by giving a long-life empowerment, a reading transmission for the Twenty-One Praises of Tara, and an openhearted talk on the situation of the Tibetan community. He began by discussing the general attitude towards long life empowerments.
There are many rituals that deal with prolonging life, he said, such as an empowerment, sadhana, life release, ransoming life, or summoning the life force. “However, in order to have a long life, we need to create both inner and outer positive conditions,” he explained. “We need to look after our physical health. Tibetan medical texts speak at length about the importance of diet, sleep patterns, and exercise. If we pay careful attention to these physical conditions, the texts say, they will become a means to prolong our lives. Further, the inner or mental conditions involve a good intention along with a spacious and a joyful mind.”
“Some years ago in England,” the Karmapa related, “about ten thousand people who had lived to be 100 years or more were asked, ‘To what factor do you attribute your long life?’ Many of them replied, ‘A relaxed and joyful mind.’ So if we wish to have a long life, there are two conditions that must be met: we should take care of our physical health and also keep our minds spacious and joyful. If we are Buddhists, then in addition we receive long-life empowerments and practice long-life sadhanas.”
“Many people think that the ultimate purpose of taking a long-life empowerment is solely to lengthen their lives. But that’s not the case.” The Karmapa then explained the classic categories of the three types of individuals—the lower, middling, and superior— along with their related practices. “No matter which teaching of the Buddha we are practicing, there is not one that is not included in the practices of the three types of individuals. The three types of individuals respectively strive for rebirth in the higher realms, for liberation from samsara, and for omniscience. The first type seeks to obtain the pleasures of the higher realms and practices accordingly. The second type practices to reach the level of liberation or nirvana. And the third type practices to achieve omniscience, the level of buddhahood.
“Therefore, even the lowest level of Buddhist practitioners has a goal related to their next life—a rebirth in the higher realms. Many people, however, receive a long-life empowerment or practice long-life sadhanas while focused merely on this life, wishing to live longer or be free of sickness. Actually this does not fall within a Buddhist framework. Buddhists should to be able to think into the future for the sake of their next lives. If this happens, only then is one a Dharma practitioner and an authentic Buddhist.”
Further the Karmapa explained, “The long life we need is one with an essence that is meaningful. For this to come about, it should not be for ourselves alone, but for all other living beings whose life we respect and value.” He spoke of many people becoming vegetarians through the advice of HH the Dalai Lama and the various movements and organizations that encourage giving up eating meat. “In sum,” the Karmapa said, “being vegetarian is similar to engaging in the practice of life release. Just as we wish for a long life without obstacles and just as we want to avoid harm, so do other living beings. It is important to keep this in mind.” With this, the Karmapa concluded the part of his talk related to the long-life empowerment.
The Karmapa then turned to the situation of the Tibetan people as a whole. Many from the exile community are going abroad, he said, and a few others are returning to Tibet. Added to this is the fact that the number of Tibetans coming from Tibet is far less than before, so that the population of the exile community is decreasing. “For this reason,” he counseled, “we Tibetans have come to a place where we need to reflect deeply about our situation. Especially since, for the present, we are experiencing terrible hardships, unique in all of our Tibetan history.”
“Therefore,” he urged, “we Tibetans must all come together as one. People from the three provinces (Utsang, Amdo, and Kham) should unite. We must develop a loyalty to the Tibetan people as a whole, because we are facing difficulties unlike anything we have known before.” The Karmapa did offer hope in that there is the leadership of HH the Dalai Lama and, also importantly, “the large population of our family of Tibetans in Tibet is filled with altruism and courage, and on this basis, all Tibetans can unite. The three provinces and the main Dharma lineages need not be divided: they can align themselves as one and this would be one of our greatest triumphs.”
He added that it would be difficult for one person to bring this about; it requires all of the Tibetan people working together. “Whatever happens in the future,” he advised, “will depend on the vast basis of the Tibetan people as a whole, so it is extremely important that we all have an attitude of unity firmly rooted in our minds. No matter what happens, we need the strength of a unity that never diminishes as well as determination and a mind that is very stable. If this would happen, only then could we have the hope that in the future, things will go well.”
Up until now, he said, “we have placed all our hope and trust in HH the Dalai Lama. And, to say it without honorifics, we have heaped all the responsibility onto this one person. We think he will look on us with compassion, but what we ourselves should do is not very clear. We place our hope in the future and keep on believing, but we cannot always be together. Now we have arrived at a time in our history when each of us has to become very capable and powerful in what we do. Each one of us has to carry responsibility and think clearly. This point is essential.”
The Karmapa also urged people to reflect on HH the Dalai Lama’s teachings instead of engaging in gossip and worldly talk. We should think about the key points he made. The Karmapa further explained, “When we are practicing, we should also analyze using the many categories that the Buddha explained—the intention of the teachings and its basis or the provisional and the definitive meaning. In this way we will find the authentic and unmistaken mind of the Buddha.” In sum, he said, “All of us have to take responsibility and all of us have to think clearly.”
“If we take Tibetan history as our witness,” the Karmapa noted, “we can see that conflict between the different schools of Buddhism has led only to decline and never to a positive development.” He recalled a prophecy that said the destruction of the Buddha’s teachings would not come from an outside cause, but from internal conflict among those holding the teachings.
He reminded people, “The teachings we Tibetans have today are all Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings.” From the ultimate point of view, the four Tibetan schools of Sakya, Geluk, Kagyu, and Nyingma resemble each other, and there are only some small differences in the language used and the ways view, meditation, and conduct are explained. All the schools teach the view of compassion and emptiness, and there are differences merely in how they are explained and the lineages of the lamas. For all these reasons, he said, “It is critically important that everyone holds mutual respect and a pure view of each other. To summarize, we must connect harmoniously and unite as one.”
In conclusion, the Karmapa said, “I am very happy to have had this occasion to make a Dharma connection with all the teachers, staff, and students of the school and with the local people as well. I give my heartfelt thanks to all those who helped to prepare and organize these three days, and pray that you all will have a long life, be free of illness, and accomplish your goals according to the Dharma.”
This morning the Gyalwang Karmapa was the chief guest of honor at the opening of the Body, Mind and Life Conference, which took place for the fourth time at the Men-Tsee-khang College’s auditorium. Also present were the special guest, the Minister of Health Choekyong Wangchuk from the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche along with many important officials from the CTA and the Men-Tsee-Khang. The conference focused on the pervasive problem of depression, looking at it from the perspective of Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan medicine and astrology as well as modern science.
Recalling that he had benefitted from attending Mind and Life conferences with HH the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa mentioned that he had studied some western psychology. On this basis and he suggested, “It is important for Western psychology and the psychology found in the Buddhist tradition to share their good points and learn from one another. In this way, they both can evolve and gain new understandings.”
Reprising a topic he has often discussed, the Karmapa remarked, “These days the material world has undergone a huge expansion. The resulting distractions that keep us constantly busy plus the unrest they create have done nothing but grow, so many people now have mental problems and illnesses.” Relating his personal experience, the Karmapa remarked, “Since I carry the name of the Karmapa, many people come to see me and mostly they bring their problems.” In a lighter vein he said, “When something bad happens, it seems that they all come directly to me.” They present both physical and mental problems, so he helps them as he can with advice and encouragement. From what he has seen, the Karmapa felt that mental problems would definitely increase in the future.
“In general,” he continued, “western science has its own systems for thinking about mental difficulties and for doing research, and it has accumulated a lot of experience. Nevertheless, with this alone it would be difficult to come to a final conclusion or to take on responsibility. Therefore, we should compare viewpoints on these issues and on what can be done as they are found in Buddhism (or the religious traditions that have spread in the East) and western science. These types of cultural exchanges are extremely important.”
The Karmapa concluded, “In sum, we should discuss these issues while keeping in mind the goal of people’s welfare and their physical and mental well-being.” He offered his thanks to the organizers for inviting him and the aspiration that just as they hoped, their efforts would bear copious fruit.