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    Location of Arunachal Pradesh in India. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

    The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje visited Arunachal Pradesh, which is northeastern state of India, a few days back. He was accompanied by a minister of the Government of India, obviously indicating that the government of India recognizes and respects the position of 17th Karmapa and his importance.
    China, which is now known for maintaining abrasive relationship and overbearing attitude towards several of it’s neighbors, objected to the visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader to Arunachal Pradesh, as China claims that Arunachal Pradesh is part of China.
    China’s false claims
    As in the case of China’s claims in other regions such as South China Sea and Senkaku island, China unjustifiably and unilaterally claims that Arunachal Pradesh in India is southern part of Tibet and belongs to it.
    India has repeatedly rejected China’s claims on Arunachal Pradesh and conveyed it’s protest on various occasions but China has persisted with it’s claim that Arunachal Pradesh is part of Tibet. This is totally unacceptable, since Arunachal Pradesh has been part of India ever since India’s independence and much before that and has not been part of Tibet.
    In any case, China itself has occupied Tibet forcibly, driving many Tibetans out of Tibet and making them seek asylum in other countries and living as refugees for several decades now. The world conscience is disturbed that violence and force appear to have won as China has been occupying Tibet and it’s aggression has appeared to have paid dividend to it. Apart from the fact that China itself is a occupier of Tibet , it’s claim that Arunachal Pradesh is also a part of Tibet amounts to adding insult to injury.
    Massive reception to the Karmapa
    His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh was the first to the area in the past 900 years, since the third Karmapa visited it. During his first visit to Arunachal Pradesh , he toured West Kameng district and preached to the Tibetans at Gyuto Monastery at Tenzingang before leaving for Kalaktang. Massive reception was accorded to the 17th Karmapa and he spoke about the need for love and compassion.
    In a typical arrogant tone that China is now known for, China has given unsolicited advice to India not to” complicate the boundary question”. China’s foreign ministry’s spokesman said with an air of false innocence that “we should ensure peace and stability of border areas and sound and steady development of bilateral relations serves the common interests of the two sides”
    “Superiority complex”
    In the last few decades, it appears that China has developed sort of “superiority complex” in dealing with its neighbors and it is giving an impression that it thinks that due to its massive size, population and economy, the neighbouring countries have no alternative other than bowing to the dictates of China and succumbing to it’s pressure.
    China’s occupation of Tibet several decades back and many countries meekly accepting China’s aggression in Tibet as a fact of life , appears to have given China confidence that it can have it’s way everywhere and at all times. Such attitude of China has already sent alarming signal among its neighbors, who have started thinking that some concerted efforts have to be made to put China in it’s place, so that China would deal with them in an appropriate manner. One only hopes that China would read the signal properly and reshape its policies which appear to be expansionism in style and substance.
    Can be a turning point
    Modi government should be congratulated for standing up to China and permitting the visit of 17th Karmapa to Arunachal Pradesh and also sending a minister to accompany 17th Karmapa. This is a bold attempt by government of India to call the bluff of China and emphatically rejecting it’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh.
    India’s rebuff to China by encouraging the visit of 17th Karmapa to Arunachal Pradesh can be a turning point.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR


    N. S. Venkataraman
    N. S. Venkataraman
    N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.


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    6 Dec 2016

    Naresh K Thakur

    Naresh.kumar4@hindustantimes.com



    Photo by Kunjang Tenzing

    DHARAMSHALA : For more than a decade since his stunning escape from the Chinese-controlled Tibet, Ogeyn Trinley Dorje, has been seen in less reverential terms by the government.


    He has lived under the watchful eyes of Indian intelligence agencies and his movement was restricted around his exile home in Dharamshala.

    However, Dorje, the 17th reincarnation of Karmapa Lama, the head of powerful Karma Kagyu sect, has been comparatively liberated of all those restraints as India’s policy with regards to the 31-year-old spiritual leader is undergoing a paradigm transition. The government of India allowing Dorje to visit the border area Twang in Arunachal Pradesh is a sign of this policy shift. According to the reports, the schedule was enabled after the cabinet committee on security chaired by PM Narendra Modi reviewed the directive on his movement within India.




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    December 9, 2016


     
    Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay addressing the prayer ceremony presided by Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche at Sherbaling monastery in Bir, Himachal Pradesh. From left: Justice Commissioner Mr Ngawang Choedak, Tai Situ Rinpoche, Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche and Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel of the Tibetan Parliament.

    BIR, HP: Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel and Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok of the Tibetan Parliament today attended a special prayer ceremony to mark the auspicious tenth-day of Guru Padmasambhava Gran Puja and Vajra Nyitham (Lama Dance).


    The prayer ceremony was held at Palpung Sherabling monastery based in Upper Bhattu near Bir Tibetan Settlement in Himachal Pradesh. The prayer ceremony was presided over by 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche Ogyen Trinley Dorje.


    Other dignitaries at the ceremony include members of the Tibetan Parliament, Tibetan Justice Commissioners, heads of various Kagyu traditions and representatives from Tibetan governmental and non-governmental organisations.


    Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche, in his address, expressed his pleasure at being able to attend the special prayer for Guru Rinpoche with Tai Situ Rinpoche. “After 16 long years, I got an opportunity to celebrate great Palpung Guru Rinpoche’s auspicious tenth-day ceremony with 12th Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche. So it is a really lucky day for me,” Rinpoche said.


    Rinpoche further urged the public to follow His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s guidance and unite our efforts to restore the rich religious and cultural heritage of Tibet. He also explained the importance of Guru Rinpoche in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.


    Addressing the gathering, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay spoke about the rich ancient knowledge of India particularly the Nalanda School of thought that has been preserved by Tibetan Buddhists over the centuries.


    He also expressed his personal good fortune for receiving the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the auspicious Guru Rinpoche tenth-day ceremony at Rewalsar in September this year.


    He also said that his first swearing-in ceremony as Kalon Tripa was intentionally marked to coincide with the tenth-day of the Tibetan lunar calendar, to symbolise the auspiciousness of the day.


    Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, paid tributes to the great sages of India including Guru Rinpoche for bringing Buddhism to Tibet. He said that the rich Tibetan Buddhist culture has its roots in India and applauded Sherabling monastery for preserving the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in its purest form.


    He also lauded Palpung Sherabling monastery for its emphasis on education and rigorous study of the Tibetan Buddhist texts to advance the Dharma.


    The highlight of the prayer ceremony was the Vajra Nyitham (Lama Dance) that is performed by the monks of the monastery.


    At least a thousand people including Tibetans and other Buddhist devotees attended the prayer ceremony.


    Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel of the Tibetan Parliament at the special prayer ceremony of Guru Rinpoche at Sherabling monastery, Bir.





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    Tawang monastery or Tawang Gompa in Arunachal Pradesh is home to more than 500 monks.
    The crown of Buddhism in Arunachal Pradesh, it forms the core of Lamaistic faith of the Mahayana school of Buddhism, making it the largest monastery of India and the second-largest in Asia.



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    9 DECEMBER 2016



    India is pushing its diplomatic boundaries with China. Last month, the Indian government allowed US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, to visit Tawang, which China claims as “disputed” territory. While China protested, India recently allowed Urgyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, to visit Arunachal Pradesh and address a public gathering at Mon. The Karmapa’s visit was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). And it couldn’t have been more “official” as minister of state for Home Kiren Rijiju tweeted his pictures with the Karmapa, who fled hina 17 years ago. Even as China urged India not to “complicate the boundary dispute”, India has cleared Dalai Lama’s visit to the eastern border state in March 2017.



    http://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/deep-throat/298227

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    December 8, 2016 – Upper Bhattu, Baijnath, HP, India


    Since arriving in India in 2000, the Gyalwang Karmapa had waited almost 17 years to visit Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche at his nearby monastery of Palpung Sherabling. To celebrate this special occasion, crowds had gathered in a festive mood from all parts of the Himalayan region and from abroad.
    The day before His Holiness arrived, the monastery was astir with preparations. Diamond-shaped images of the 16 auspicious symbols and substances lined in bright colors the first part of the monastery road. In the middle of the road close to the main shrine hall, devotees were painting a welcome of the 8 auspicious symbols in brilliant white. The shrine hall was filled with lay people making stately flower arrangements of fragrant lilies while the monks were setting up the sound system, video camera, and the huge LED screen on the veranda outside so that those sitting in the courtyard could see the events inside. Suspended around the courtyard from its third story were immense thangkas depicting Vajradhara, the founding forefathers of the Karma Kagyu, and the sixteen previous Karmapas.
    Early on the day itself, a wide red carpet was laid over the eight auspicious symbols. Mounds of fresh flowers in white, orange, and deep maroon were being arranged in a Dharma wheel in front of the east door and in triangular patterns along the red path, leading up the stairs and into the main shrine hall. At the end of the path awaited an impressive golden throne, set in front of a two-story high statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha.
    As the Karmapa’s cavalcade approached the celebratory gate nearest the monastery, two young women held the customary offerings of tsampa and chang while standing in front of a large gathering of local people. After a brief pause to receive their welcome, the Karmapa’s motorcade continued to the place where the eight auspicious symbols began. Here the Karmapa waited inside his vehicle as it was circumambulated by a formal procession: brocade banners and pendants glinted in the morning sun and the music of tall drums and jalings filled the air as well as a leitmotif of bells and hand drums played by 16 offering goddesses. When they passed, the Karmapa descended from his vehicle and walked behind eight tulkus (reincarnate lamas) who carried incense and guided him down to the monastery where Tai Situ Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche, and Garwang Rinpoche awaited the Karmapa near the east door.
    They accompanied him along the path into the shrine room, where the Karmapa made three bows and then walked with Situ Rinpoche to light a generous butter lamp in front of Maitreya Buddha. Once the Karmapa had sat on his throne, the three main reincarnate lamas—Situ Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche, and Garwang Rinpoche—took their seats followed by the remaining eight tulkus: from Sherabling itself came Pungri Tulku, Shagam Tulku, Tulku Monlam Rigse, Tulku Damcho Norbu, and Tulku Trinley Dondrup, and from outside came Gyalpo Tulku, Drikung Gyalse Tulku, and Tana Tulku. To celebrate this brilliant occasion, the 16 offering goddesses danced, moving gracefully in the center aisle.
    After a welcome speech, Khenpo Thupten Karma gave a half-hour talk from memory on the five perfect conditions—the time, place, teacher, teaching, and retinue. Mingyur Rinpoche gave the mandala offering and Situ Rinpoche offered the Karmapa the representations of body, speech, mind, qualities, and activity. For those who had been at Tsurphu, the Karmapa’s seat in Tibet, during his enthronement in 1992, the scene was very familiar, only then Situ Rinpoche had also offered, and the Karmapa had received, the eight auspicious symbols and eight auspicious substances one by one. After the Karmapa given long scarves to Mingyur Rinpoche and Garwang Rinpoche, tea and rice were served to everyone and prayers for the Karmapa’s long life were recited.
    Khenpo Gyaltsen Phuntsok gave the history of the relationship between the Gyalwang Karmapa’s lineage and that of Tai Situ Rinpoche. The Khenpo traced their connection back to the first Situ Rinpoche, who was a disciple of the 5th Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa (1384-1415), and brought their relationship through the centuries to the 16th Karmapa Rigpe Dorje (1924-1981). He discovered and enthroned the present 12th Situ Rinpoche, who in turn found and enthroned the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. One of Khenpo’s concluding citations was taken from Chokgyur Lingpa’s predictions, foretelling that the 17th Karmapa would have a close relationship with Situ Rinpoche. At the end of his talk, the morning’s merit was dedicated, and everyone was invited for lunch.
    The afternoon saw the performance of Vajra Nyitham (‘cham or vajra dancing) in the courtyard covered in a tent of rainbow colors. The Karmapa, Situ Rinpoche, and Garwang Rinpoche presided in a windowed balcony above the open space while Mingyur Rinpoche sat on the side with the Dorje Lopon, three chant masters, and musicians. In an unusual personal note, all the performing monks were called out by name, and this first time they danced without masks so it was possible to observe their concentration as they engaged in this moving meditation.
    To alternating cymbals and chanting, the monks turned in smooth circles and leaps that seemed to be lifted by the sound. Bringing in the blessings and sending them out, they danced without a break for over three hours, lead by the champon (head of the dance) who showed what emptiness is like in motion.
    The atmosphere also had its informal side as tea and Tibetan kapse (fried biscuits) were served. Leaning over to his left side, the Karmapa sometimes chatted with Situ Rinpoche and at other times leaned out the window to see everyone more clearly. The Karmapa himself was trained in vajra dance at Tsurphu where he had performed, and then in recent years he took the role of Guru Rinpoche during the vajra dances in Bodhgaya. The day came to a close as the last dancer spun a circle and climbed up the stairs to disappear behind the floating yellow curtains.
    2016.12.8 The Historic Visit of the Gyalwang Karmapa to Palpung Sherabling Monastery

    http://kagyuoffice.org/the-historic-visit-of-the-gyalwang-karmapa-to-palpung-sherabling-monastery/

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    SE Report

    GANGTOK, December 13: Sangha MLA Sonam Lama led a delegation of monks from Phodong and Ralong Monasteries to a meeting with Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju regarding the visit of the Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorji’s visit to Sikkim. Lama said he discussed the issue today and would hold detailed discussion with the minister and other officials in New Delhi tomorrow.

    Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has also invited the Karmapa to visit Sikkim on the occasion of Kagyed Chaam to bless devotees at Phodong Monastery and Ralong Monastery on December 26 and 27 respectively.

    Chamling in his letter to the Karmapa’s office said the devotees in Sikkim have been eagerly waiting for his visit.The State government has left no stone unturned in pursuing the matter of the Karmapa’s safe entry to Sikkim. We are certain that our request will be considered positively as assured by the government of India, a few months ago,” said Chamling in his letter.

    Meanwhile, sources privy to the Karmapa’s office at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh told SIKKIM EXPRESS that no such decision regarding the visit has been taken till now. The Karmapa had visited Arunachal Pradesh last week.








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    December 14, 2016



    DHARAMSHALA: Gyalwang Karmapa Ogen Trinley Dorjee Rinpoche paid a visit to The Tibet Museum today to grace the inauguration of a new photo exhibition titled ‘Grasslands’. The exhibition features compilation of images of Tibetan grasslands and pastoral nomads captured by ace photographer Kunchok Gyaltsen.


    Mr Sonam Norbu Dagpo and Ms Tenzin Dhardon Sharling, the two Secretaries of the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) attended the inauguration along with Mr Tashi Phuntsok, Director of Tibet Museum and its staff.


    In his inaugural remarks, Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche recalled his childhood in a nomadic family and lauded the photographer for his earnest efforts to capture the essence of Tibet through photography. He also emphasised the importance of safeguarding Tibet’s fragile ecology for the benefit of all sentient beings. “As a child in a nomad family in Tibet, I remember the lush green pastures and grasslands that i used to play on. In those days, pollution was at a minimum and the plastic bags and bottles that have become a common sight now were a rarity,” Rinpoche said.


    “However, according to reports, these grasslands and pastures have become a victim to environmental pollution caused both as a result of changing lifestyles and irresponsibility on the part of individuals.Therefore, its important to exert every effort that we can to protect the environment. We may feel that a single person’s actions and efforts may not have a significant impact but remember that our collective effort will be crucial to retain the purity of Tibet’s environment in its natural state,” Rinpoche added.


    Secretary Sonam Norbu Dagpo, spoke about the deteriorating environmental situation of the Tibetan plateau including the desertification of the rich and verdant grasslands of Tibet. “Tibet is the roof of the world and the water tower of Asia as it’s the source of the major rivers of Asia. However, the environmental situation inside Tibet has been degrading under the Chinese government’s failed policies. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to do something to safeguard Tibet’s environment,” he said.


    Photographer Kunchok Gyaltsen said that the idea behind the photo exhibition was to effectively portray the lives and the unique lifestyles of the people who are still inside Tibet so that others may be touched and get inspired to go and see the situation themselves.


    The introductory remarks of the inaugural ceremony was delivered by Mr Tashi Phuntsok and the vote of thanks by Ms Lhamo Tsering, staff of Tibet Museum.


    ‘Grassland’ is an initiative by the photographer to portray the endangered situation of Tibetan religion, language, environment and customs through the agency of photography. The exhibition will be open to visitors for the next three months.



    2016.12.14 Gyalwang Karmapa Inaugurates ‘Grassland – A Photo Exhibition’ at Tibet Museumhttp://tibet.net/2016/12/gyalwang-karmapa-rinpoche-inaugurates-grassland-a-photo-exhibition-at-tibet-museum/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CTA-FlashNews+%28Central+Tibetan+Administration+%C2%BB+Flash+News%29#

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    Wednesday, 14 December 2016 15:46 Molly Lortie, Tibet Post International





    Dharamshala — Gyalwang Karmapa Ogen Trinley Dorjee Rinpoche visited The Tibet Museum on December 14th to inaugurate a new photo exhibition titled ‘Grasslands’. The exhibition features compilation of images of Tibetan grasslands and pastoral nomads captured by professional photographer Kunchok Gyaltsen.
    Mr Sonam Norbu Dagpo and Ms Tenzin Dhardon Sharling, the two Secretaries of the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) attended the inauguration along with Mr Tashi Phuntsok, Director of Tibet Museum and its staff.

    In his inaugural remarks, Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche recalled his childhood in a nomadic family and lauded the photographer for his earnest efforts to capture the essence of Tibet through photography. He also emphasised the importance of safeguarding Tibet’s fragile ecology for the benefit of all sentient beings. “As a child in a nomad family in Tibet, I remember the lush green pastures and grasslands that I used to play on. In those days, pollution was at a minimum and the plastic bags and bottles that have become a common sight now were a rarity.

    “However, according to reports, these grasslands and pastures have become a victim to environmental pollution caused both as a result of changing lifestyles and irresponsibility on the part of individuals.Therefore, its important to exert every effort that we can to protect the environment. We may feel that a single person’s actions and efforts may not have a significant impact but remember that our collective effort will be crucial to retain the purity of Tibet’s environment in its natural state,” Rinpoche added.

    Secretary Sonam Norbu Dagpo, spoke about the deteriorating environmental situation of the Tibetan plateau including the desertification of the rich and verdant grasslands of Tibet. “Tibet is the roof of the world and the water tower of Asia as it’s the source of the major rivers of Asia. However, the environmental situation inside Tibet has been degrading under the Chinese government’s failed policies. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to do something to safeguard Tibet’s environment,” he said.

    Photographer Kunchok Gyaltsen explained the idea behind the photo exhibition, stating that his goal was to effectively portray the lives and the unique lifestyles of the people who are still inside Tibet so that others may be touched and inspired to go and see the situation themselves.

    ‘Grassland’ is an initiative by the photographer to portray the endangered situation of Tibetan religion, language, environment and customs through the agency of photography. The exhibition will be open to visitors for the next three months.

    2016.12.14 Gyalwang Karmapa Inaugurates ‘Grassland – A Photo Exhibition’ at Tibet Museumhttp://www.thetibetpost.com/en/news/exile/5330-gyalwang-karmapa-inaugurates-grassland-exhibit-at-tibet-museum

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    Youth Folio is a weekly newsmagazine programme focusing on North East India.It is telecast at 7.30 pm on DD ( NE) Episode 586 includes feature on 17th Karmapa Urgyen Trinley Dorje's visit to Arunachal Pradesh and his exclusive interview, MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju's interview.


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    December 9, 2106 – Upper Bhattu, Baijnath, HP, India


    In the early hours of this Guru Rinpoche day, the Sangha gathered at 2am in the shrine hall to practice the Eight Chapters of the Tenth Day. “The Tenth Day” refers the month’s tenth day devoted to Guru Rinpoche, and “Eight Chapters” refers to the stages of practice, such as the preliminaries, offerings, mantra recitation, and so forth. In the Tibetan calendar, this year is the fire Monkey Year and considered very auspicious since Guru Rinpoche was born in a Monkey Year.
    This terma, or rediscovered, text comes from the nyingma master Guru Chöwang. It was brought to Palpung Monastery, Situ Rinpoche’s seat in Tibet, in 1740 and reinstituted three years ago here at Sherabling in India. Guru Chöwang’s terma is also performed at Tsurphu Monastery, the Karmapa’s seat in Tibet, and at his monastery in Rumtek, Sikkim as well as recently at the Kagyu Monlam in Bodh Gaya during January 2014, when the Karmapa himself presided and performed the role of Guru Rinpoche. For this ceremony in Bodh Gaya, Situ Rinpoche had kindly loaned his stunning appliqué thangka of Guru Rinpoche with his eight manifestations, which today hangs on the west side of the courtyard at Sherabling.
    After the monks had recited the practice for three hours, they paused just before the prayers for auspiciousness and left to prepare for the vajra dance. Beginning at 6am, they performed wearing stunning robes of rich brocades and imposing masks. The first dance brought a powerful Mahakala and fierce protectors to set the stage for vanquishing negative spirits and their dark energy. The 16 offering goddesses appeared again followed by the sprightly skeleton spirits leaping and bounding while the multicolored ribbons of their skirts floated in the air. Finally surrounded by fifty other dancers, the main one with his flashing blue sword cut to pieces the torma (a sculpted offering) representing all negativity.
    Following several more dances, the ceremony finished around 10am when the special guests arrived, including the Gyalwang Karmapa as well as rinpoches and lamas from India and abroad and government officials. They were all seated on the veranda of the monastery overlooking the courtyard. The Karmapa was welcomed with extensive praise, rich in the metaphors of the Indian poetic tradition. This was followed with praises of Situ Rinpoche and Garwang Rinpoche as well as Sikyong Lobsang Sangye. An introduction to the 10th day practice explained the importance of the vajra dance as an integral part of mental and physical training. Guru Rinpoche was introduced as the embodiment of all the buddhas, the fully awakened one who had brought to perfection the creative and completion stages of meditation. Following on this was a brief history of the Guru Chöwang’s Guru Rinpoche practice.
    Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche was the next speaker, and he began with a praise of the Buddha and then the Karmapa as the one of great activity and the very embodiment of compassion. Bowing with respect in his body speech, and mind, he said how joyful he was that the Karmapa had come. Turning to history, Situ Rinpoche related that when he was five years old in 1959, he had escaped to India, and at the same time, HH the Dalai Lama and many Tibetans had sought refuge in the Noble Land as well. From that time to the present day, the Indian government and its people had looked after the Tibetan refugees with unsurpassable care and kindness.
    Situ Rinpoche also thanked the thousands who had come for the occasion—Sikyong Lobsang Sangye, the representatives of the Ganden Phodrang, representatives from India’s Union and State Governments, the reincarnate lamas, the spiritual friends, the monks and nuns, and all the lay people from India and abroad. Situ Rinpoche remarked that it was the fruition of their karma, their pure samayas (spiritual commitments), and their aspiration prayers that had brought them here for this special occasion.
    Turning to the Dharma, Situ Rinpoche explained that the essential point is this: Just like us, every last living being wishes for happiness and seeks to avoid suffering. Sacred science and philosophy can develop this idea in many ways, but it is critical that we personally recognize its truth and actually engage in practice. If not, then there is a danger of becoming the mere foam of Dharma, a mass of vacuous bubbles.
    Situ Rinpoche thanked the Indian and State Governments, the Ganden Phodrang, the Central Tibetan Administration, and the Tsurphu Ladrang for making the Karmapa’s visit possible. The Karmapa has come for a very special day, Situ Rinpoche noted, the 10th day of the 10th month in the Monkey Year when the ceremonies encompass vajra dance as well. Further, the Karmapa himself is an emanation of Guru Rinpoche, forever inseparable from him. This is affirmed, Situ Rinpoche stated, in the words of the Buddha, in rediscovered texts, and in the pure visions of realized beings.
    So this time is extraordinary—a day of great good fortune and of great blessing. Giving rise to utterly pure bodhichitta, he counseled, we should pray to Guru Rinpoche and to the Gyalwang Karmapa. If our bodhicitta, the foundation of all Dharma, arises purely, and if we have genuine faith and devotion, their blessings will surely enter into us.
    In conclusion, Situ Rinpoche expressed his gratitude that the Karmapa could come and solicited him that for the benefit of all living beings and for the prosperity of the teachings in general and in particular that he engage in his awakened activity, which transcends the limits of our ordinary understanding. Situ Rinpoche made the aspiration that the Karmapa’s activity be pervasive as space and that his life and deeds be indestructible like a vajra, unchanging like a mystic cross, and unvanquished like a victory banner. He supplicated that in order to benefit all those to be trained on the path that the Karmapa hold them with his loving compassion and remain inseparable from them until they reach full and perfect awakening.
    In closing, Situ Rinpoche transposed the words of the 8th Karmapa (from his Four Session Guru Yoga) and related them to the 17th Ogyen Trinley Dorje:
      All victors in one, Karmapa KHYENNO.
      All buddhas in one, Karmapa KHYENNO.
      All sugatas in one, Karmapa KHYENNO.
      All-knowing one, Karmapa KHYENNO.
    After a brief address by one of the Khenpos, the Sikyong Lobsang Sangay spoke, beginning in a lighter vein by saying that he had wondered what to talk about. He doesn’t know Dharma well, so he had to skip that topic. He could talk about politics but this is a Dharma event, so that is not appropriate. He could, however, speak of how fortunate he felt to hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama teach at the Tso Pema (Rewalsar), a place sacred to Guru Rinpoche, and also how lucky he was to meet His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa on this special Guru Rinpoche day of ceremonies and vajra dance.
    Lobsang Sangay also spoke of Nalanda University in India, and how today’s scholars explain that its destruction was a great loss for the whole world and especially for India whose economy and power diminished. Fortunately, however, Tibetan translators for years had taken great risks and undergone untold hardship (most perished before returning) to study at Nalanda. They brought their knowledge and texts back home, so that most of Buddhism and its Nalanda tradition, too, was preserved in the Land of Snows. During this and the last centuries, this transmission also allowed Tibetan Buddhism to spread throughout the world. Lobsang Sangay noted in passing that one aspect of Tibetan Buddhism that has elicited special interest among scientists, and many others, is the profound psychology found within the Buddhist tradition. The Sikyong concluded with a prayer for the Tibetans and for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
    Afterward, the Gyalwang Karmapa began his address with the same traditional praise of the Buddha as Situ Rinpoche had recited, and then he invoked Guru Rinpoche, with the famous four lines beginning, “Great Indian pandita so kind to Tibet, Padma Jungne, your form’s beyond birth and death.” The Karmapa then spoke of the almost seventeen years he had waited to come to Palpung Sherabling. In 2000 he arrived in India and has been staying a short distance away in Gyuto Monastery, just one and a half hours drive from Sherabling.
    In the beginning, he related, there were plans for him to come and spend time at Sherabling, and even a number of preparations, such as several welcome gates, had been made, but in the end he could not travel. Several other attempts were made but they brought no results. Finally this year he could come on this auspicious day, which is devoted to his practice and the vajra dances. CHECK His visit was made possible through the continued and intense efforts of some people, he said, and also due to the fact that the Union Government had shifted its stance in allowing Situ Rinpoche to travel abroad and the Karmapa to journey in Arunachal Pradesh and to be at Sherabling today. These all are signs that the truth is slowly surfacing. END
    The Karmapa recalled that from a young age he had a special faith in Guru Rinpoche, and so for him this day is one of a perfect time—the great occasion of the tenth day devoted to Guru Rinpoche in the Monkey Year—and a perfect place—the great monastic seat of Sherabling. When these perfections are brought up, the Karmapa noted, it is often in an attempt to make a big impression, but here on this day, they are really true for him. If you think about the present situation, he said, there’s no need to explain—they naturally arise in your mind.
    The Karmapa closed with prayers for all forms of life to have well being and happiness, for the teachings to spread, for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all the nonsectarian holders of the teachings. In particular, he prayed for the people in Tibet and wished for the long life of Situ Rinpoche and the success of study and practice at Sherabling. That the monastery’s staff is performing their tasks exceptionally well is obvious to everyone here, he noted, as we have been enjoying the manifest results of their endeavors. The Karmapa encouraged everyone to continue working for the benefit of the teachings and carrying out their teacher’s requests.
    The Karmapa remarked that before coming to Sherabling, many people had asked him, “Are you really going?” “You could not really blame them,” he said, “I myself could not really believe it. It is like a dream.” As the morning’s ceremony came to an end, Situ Rinpoche offered the Karmapa a radiant statue of Guru Rinpoche.
    After lunch the vajra dances began with lively dancers clad in Chinese costumes and the sound of loud, popping firecrackers filled the air. Two snow lions came prancing in to be followed by a Taoist old man and a green long-life bird with flapping wigs and bobbing tail feathers. Finally a formal procession introduced a standing Guru Padmasambhava, tall and majestic, whose golden face and bright robes caught the light of the afternoon sun. A group of monks moved the statue around the courtyard and brought it to rest under the immense thangka of Guru Rinpoche. While his seven other manifestations took their places on either side of him, a wide shrine with tormas, lamps, and bouquets of flowers was arranged in front of them.
    In a modern touch, five nuns danced the graceful heroines (dpa’ mo) carrying hand drums and curved sticks, their light steps and subtle dance punctuated by song. During their performance, beginning with the Tsurphu Labrang, the many representatives of monasteries, sponsors, and other lay people made their offerings to Guru Rinpoche and then wrapped long ceremonial scarves around the heads of the seven manifestations and all the dancers. By the end of the afternoon, they were covered in a sea of white.
    After each of the seven manifestations had performed, the procession led by Guru Rinpoche left the courtyard, which was then transformed by a large platform of mats for martial arts. In a nonstop pace, groups of monks dressed in pants, simple shirts, and belts performed Tai chi, forms of karate, and acrobatic flips while individual performers amazed with their agility and speed. The various fast-paced actions flowed one upon the other without break. Impressive was their total focus, fluid coordination, and the complete giving of themselves to movement.
    After a break, the main dancer returned in a fierce blue mask followed by some fifty others who descended the steps in seemingly endless waves to circle the perimeter of the courtyard. Tormas were given to all the dancers as a final gesture of dispersing obstacles. With this gift of removing negative energy and allowing goodness to flourish, the magnificent dances came to an end. The monks returned to the shrine room and recited the prayers for auspiciousness, spreading to the ends of the universe the benefits of the entire day’s practice.

    2016.12.9 Guru Rinpoche and the Gyalwang Karmapa Are Celebrated at Palpung Sherabling

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    December, 10, 2016 – Sherabling Monastery, Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh, India


    Today’s events took place in the vast shrine hall of the new shedra (monastic college) at Sherabling, where the Karmapa’s throne has been set before a radiant statue of the Buddha in preparation for the empowerment he will bestow today. The hall is bright with light that streams in through side windows and illuminates the thangkas of the Golden Garland hung on either side of the central aisle. Down this path His Holiness entered in a formal procession and took his seat in front of the altar specially set up for the empowerment. Here he preformed the preparations and then took his seat on the throne. After a formal mandala offering by Mingyur Rinpoche, the Karmapa began the empowerment, and finishing the preliminaries, he paused to give a talk.
    Warmly greeting everyone present for the occasion, the Karmapa then spoke about the initiation he would give. “For an auspicious beginning, I will bestow the empowerment of the five deities of Gyalwa Gyatso with the great master of meditation Karma Pakshi as the sovereign of the mandala inseparable from the yidam deity. I felt that this has an extraordinary and special blessing and thought it would be good to give this empowerment here today.”
    “In general,” the Karmapa explained, “at the time of an empowerment, many factors should be present. The one giving the empowerment should have gathered many positive conditions and so should those receiving it. Like this, if both the lama and the disciples are authentic, then no matter which empowerment that matures is given or which commentary that liberates is explained, they all will be in accord with reality and lead to fruition as that reality.”
    He continued, “The one bestowing the empowerment today has no special qualities of knowledge, love, or power; however, it is possible that he has the blessing of the lama’s lineage. Since the bodhichitta of the buddhas and their heirs does not fluctuate over time, if disciples have faith, pure vision, and devotion, there is the opportunity, or the hope that blessings will enter into them.” And so the Karmapa said he would pray and give rise to great inspiration and asked that the disciples strive to generate faith, pure vision, and devotion. “If in this way we receive an empowerment,’ the Karmapa stated, “a special auspicious connection and powerful blessing will surely happen.”
    Speaking of the difficulties in the spiritual world, the Karmapa encouraged everyone present to recognize how fortunate they are now and to take advantage of this situation. “If you really want to receive empowerments, instructions, and the blessings of an authentic lineage, now is the time to do so. This is obvious to everyone. We should rely on a lama with the thought, ‘Present here is a lama who is like a wish-fulfilling jewel, extremely difficult to find, and endowed with precious understanding.’ As I have often said, it is important that we accomplish whatever such a lama says.
    “This is especially true if it is someone like Chamgon Vajradhara (Tai Situ Rinpoche), who as we all know, has worked tirelessly for the sake of the Buddha’s teaching in general and the Karma Kamtsang in particular. His kindness and compassion are inconceivable. They extend not only to his main seat of Palpung and its branches but also to the whole practice lineage of the Karma Kamtsang, and moreover, to all of the Kagyu lineage, and even beyond to the entirety of the Buddha’s teachings. Therefore, it is extremely important that remembering this vast kindness, we pray for the long life of the lama. If the lama’s life is long, his enlightened activity can expand its range and become increasingly vast.”
    The Karmapa advised, “Since the length of a lama’s life depends on the attitude and behavior of the disciples, their mindset and conduct should be in line with the intention and thought of the lama, and their efforts should be in tune with his directives. This is what actually constitutes the authentic supplication for the lama to live long. Otherwise, even if you arrange for an extensive longevity ceremony with abundant offerings, when you do not actually accomplish the lama’s requests and, more importantly, when you do not practice exactly according the lama’s instructions, that longevity ceremony will be just a false show.”
    “Once someone said to me,” the Karmapa recalled, ‘During longevity ceremonies for Tibetan lamas, lots of offerings are made.’ And this person found it quite strange. Why? Because people think that if they make offerings to the lamas, they will stay a long time, and if they do not, the lamas will depart. If you make as large an offering as possible, the lamas will be pleased, thinking, ‘Oh, today I received lots of gifts, so I think I’ll stay around.” It needless to say how strange this attitude appears.
    “Nevertheless, as mentioned before, an authentic request to lamas to live a long life is very important. For the lamas to live long and their activity to expand, what is most important? It is not rituals and ceremonies to turn away obstacles but the fulfilling of the lamas’ wishes, and further, engaging in the practice of Dharma just as they taught it. What I consider the most important is that through the three aspects of shedra studies, retreat and ritual practice, and serving on the monastery’s staff, people engage in holding, preserving, and spreading the teachings of the Buddha.
    “Now we have here in India the main seat of Palpung and its branches, which are extensive and beautifully developed. In Tibet as well, there are the main seat of Palpung monastery and its many branches. These have their extensive sections of the sangha focused on practice, the shedra on textual studies, the monks’ residential colleges, and so forth. What is the most important for all of these? There are three things: 1. To continuously align our heart/mind with the traditions just as they have been transmitted; 2. to maintain good discipline; and 3. to spend our time in study, practice, and Dharma activity. It is important to be involved in all three.”
    Turning first to the importance of harmonious relationships, the Karmapa said, “It is high time that we in the Karma Kamtsang tradition learn our lessons from the immediate, unfortunate past. Belonging to the Karma Kamtsang tradition, we are also holders of the Buddha’s teachings, so there’s no need to speak of how important it is to be in harmony with each other. Whether one considers the secular or religious world, it is critical that the famous four traditions in our Land of Snow (Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Geluk) plus the fifth of the Jonang as well as the Yungdrung Bon maintain harmonious relations. Within these traditions, our karmic fortune has brought us into the position of holding the lineage of the peerless Dakpo Kagyu, stemming from Dakpo Lhaje (Gampopa) and extending down through the generations of the four elder and eight younger lineages.
    “In addition to keeping positive relations with each other, he noted, we should also train in having a pure vision of each other.” To underline his point, the Karmapa referred to two quotes that predicted how the teachings of the Buddha would decline and disappear. The past Buddha Kashyapa said that the Buddha’s teachings would disintegrate through the great laziness of the fully ordained monks. Our teacher the Buddha Shakyamni predicted that the teachings could not be conquered or destroyed by outer forces such as other religions; they would founder on the rock of inside fighting and quarrelling with one another. The teachings would be brought down by hatred, attachment, and partisanship.
    Whether an individual becomes a destroyer of the teachings or not, he said, usually depends on their way of thinking, talking, and gesturing. In general, when someone is not conscientious or careful, they say whatever thought pops up in their mind. “Especially in this age of the Internet,” the Karmapa noted, “we say immediately whatever occurs to us, and soon it is all over the world. It is certain that this will lead to great turmoil.
    “This need for harmonious relationships applies to all the individuals who hold the teachings, “he explained, “Whether one holds monastic vows or female or male lay vows, all are holders of the teachings in that they are practitioners of the Buddha’s Dharma.” This being the case, the Karmapa advised, “If you cannot support and spread the teachings, you should at least commit to, or take responsibility for not allowing even one small act to diminish them. Ito state it concisely, the basis of practicing and preserving the Dharma is that we have minds that are in harmony.”
    The second point is maintaining good discipline. “If you are an ordained member of the Sangha,” the Karmapa explained, “you have these special vows. If you are a male or female lay practitioner, you have the novice vows. If you are a mantrayana practitioner, you have that discipline to follow.” His Holiness remarked, “These days some people think it is very difficult to take monk’s vows, so they will become instead a ngakpa (mantrayana practitioner). But if you really think about it, being a ngakpa is more difficult than taking a monk’s vows. During his life the glorious lord Atisha did not break or impair any of his monk’s vows. He said that he broke a few times the root bodhisattva vows, and that like a rainfall, he broke the mantrayana vows every day. To take an example, Delhi has a lot of pollution. If you polish a mirror clean and set it out in a corner of the city, in a short while, it will turn dark with dust. Like this, it is said that the mantrayana vows are extremely difficult to keep. It is not easy to be a ngakpa and it is not easy to be a monk.”
    His Holiness continued, “If you are a householder, you cannot just hang out, let your mind go, and not make any effort at all. In sum, the specific groups have their vows and samayas (vajrayana commitments) to keep, and they should do their utmost to do so; however, to systematically maintain them in good order as described in the texts is not easy. Since people have their individual ways of being and live in a variety of environments, it will be difficult to maintain the vows just as they are described in the texts; however, it is critically important to practice as much as one can.”
    “Finally,” the Karmapa counseled, “we should spend our time in listening, reflecting, and meditating on the teachings. How do we hold, preserve, and spread the teaching from the perspective of someone in the shedra, in retreat, or practicing rituals in the shrine hall? The teachings as scripture are preserved and spread through listening and reflecting. The teachings as realization are held, preserved, and spread through the practice of meditation and retreat.”
    The Karmapa then added an important point. “Further the wheel of activity and work is vital. In the Sutra of the Ten Wheels of Kstitigarbha, it is said that those who participate in the wheel of activity and work are the ones who provide the necessities of living to support others—those who listen and reflect on the texts they read and those who work with samadhi to give up what should be given up. The people belonging to this third wheel do the important daily work of holding and preserving the teachings.
    “Previously it was said the first two wheels of reading and abandoning were the teachings of the Buddha and that the wheel of activity and work was not. When this was made known, the general secretaries and the stewards in some of the monasteries were very disappointed, as it seemed tha the work they were doing was not Dharma work. But here in the Sutra of the Ten Wheels of Kstitigarbha, it is clear that this work is supported in the teachings of the Buddha.”
    The Karmapa summarized, saying “What is most important is listening, reflecting, and meditating on the teachings as an integrated whole and not in isolation. Dakpo Rinpoche (Gampopa) said that beginners should vigorously study and listen to the teachings. Once they gain stability, they should devote themselves to meditation. Following his advice, listening, reflecting, and meditating are practiced successively in the mind stream of one individual; it is not the case that one person listens and studies and another meditates. Nothing good will come by dividing people in this way.
    “In general, ‘those who read’ refers to those in shedra who listen and study—this is their work. Those who are in retreat should not think that they do not have to listen and reflect. It is not like that. The retreatants should practice listening, reflecting, and meditating in connection with each other and the shedra students should do the same.
    “Our lineage in particular is one of meditation practice, descending from the noble ones, Marpa, Milarepa, and Gampopa. Not letting it deteriorate, we should hold this wondrous lineage of our forbearers, illustrated by their life stories that relate their practice of meditation, their perseverance in it, their turning away from samsara, and their devotion to their lamas.”
    In conclusion, the Karma advised, “Speaking from the perspective of a holder of the practice lineage, there is one thing that is the most important. There are new shedras being built and the old ones are expanding, and this is all to the good. One can understand the purpose of building shedras as providing an education through listening and reflecting; at the end of this, we practice in retreat so that at the end of our lives, when we are on the verge of dying, we can face death without fear or anxiety. It is critical that we become able to do this. If it were not possible, that would be a disgrace to the practice lineage. Therefore, I request that everyone give rise to excellent bodhichitta.”
    Lightheartedly, His Holiness remarked at the end of his advice, “If I talk much more, I’ll turn into a lecturer and not one who came to give you an empowerment.”
    After he had finished the main part of the empowerment, the Karmapa was offered a damascene, five-tiered mandala by Mingyur Rinpoche who, as the Karmapa, was wearing the Gampopa hat. While Tai Situ Rinpoche made offerings, his attendant stood on the side and respectfully held up Situ Rinpoche’s famous red crown. For a long time, offerings flowed up the main aisle and past the Karmapa.
    When the offerings were finished, the Karmapa concluded the central part of the ceremony and descended the throne to give a direct blessing to each of the over 5,000 people who had gathered. Continually ringing a bell in his left hand, he placed a torma on the heads of everyone inside the hall, and then left through the front door where a golden umbrella, its fringes rippling in a gentle wind, was waiting to shield him from the late morning sun. Outside thousands waited behind flags in repeating sets of three—the five-colored Buddhist flag, the yellow and blue curves of Karmapa’s flag, and Situ Rinpoche’s light blue flag. To the sound of jalings, the Karmapa passed up and down the rows, blessing all the people, many of whom had came from the Himalayan region.
    Once back inside, the Karmapa again took a seat in front of the special altar to finish the empowerment. As he rose and walked before the five statues on the spacious altar—Marpa, Manjushri, the Buddha, Guru Rinpoche, and Situ Rinpoche—in powerful grace, he blessed each of them with grains of golden rice.
    The afternoon’s events, taking place again in the shedra shrine hall with the presence of His Holiness, showcased the wide range of studies that take place at Sherabling. A talk on the Four Dharmas of Gampopa by a shedra khenpo began the series, which was followed by a dialogue on Tibetan medicine, a debate on Madhyamaka philosophy, a discussion of Situ Panchen’s famous grammar, nuns debating on the collected topics, a talk on the vajrayana, monks debating the collected topics, and the history of astrology.
    After dinner, people made their way to the monastery courtyard through scattered drops of rain that would turn into a steady pour and continue for hours giving the first winter snow to the mountains behind the monastery. In the covered courtyard, a stage had been set up with klieg lights and a central photo of the Karmapa, who was actually sitting across from it with Situ Rinpoche in the windowed balcony.
    The evening saw dances and music from Tibet and the Himalayan region, performed by the young students of the Palpung Riglam Kyedtsal School. Beautifully trained by a teacher from Delhi and professionally costumed, the students showed a grace and joy in their movements that was beyond their years. In two interludes, dohas composed by Situ Rinpoche were sung to the accompaniment of a harmonium and another man offered a melodic praise of the Karmapa. The evening came to a close with a face-paced, boot-stomping finale that filled the stage with multicolored, whirling scarves. It was a joyous end to a very full day.
    2016.12.10 大寶法王噶瑪巴在智慧林給予蓮師灌頂 Karmapa Bestows the Empowerment of Guru Rinpoche at Palpung Sherabling monastery

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    13th – 19th February, 2017


    All lay practitioners attending the 34th Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya are encouraged to receive the Mahayana Sojong vows each day.

    In accordance with tradition, lay practitioners who receive the Mahayana Sojong vows, both men and women, should dress completely in white during this time, as a sign of purification



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    Commitment Requirement

    The purpose of this empowerment is to fulfil the practice requirements of both Guru Yoga, the fourth uncommon preliminary practice in the Karma Kamtsang, and the Eighth Karmapa’s “Four Session Guru Yoga”.

    Therefore, recipients of this empowerment will need to make the commitment to recite the “Four Session Guru Yoga” at least once a day for the rest of their lives. Unless you are prepared to keep this commitment, you should not attend the empowerment.

    Arrangements for Webcasting  During this Event
    • The Chakrasamvara empowerment (7-8 February, 2017) will not be webcast.
    • The first two days of the pre-Monlam teachings (9-10 February, 2017) on the Guru Yoga section of “The Torch of True Meaning”, will be webcast. 
    • The transmission and explanation of the Eighth Karmapa’s “Four Session Guru Yoga”, which will be given on the third day of the pre-Monlam teachings (11 February, 2017) will not be webcast.


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    ANI SHERAB


    Excerpts from a two-session event entitled “A Call to Compassionate Action,” organized by the Nalandabodhi community, headed by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, and translated by Mitra Tyler Dewar 2015.




    _
    Learning about the emptiness of the self is actually learning about the totality of who we are, because when we examine who we really are beyond our assumptions, we then begin to discover all of the other things that we depend on to be ourselves. And when we discover all those other things that we are depending on to be ourselves, we develop a further sense of gratitude towards the kindness that we were receiving from those things in order to exist. And when this understanding becomes complete, then I think we have full understanding of who we really are.

    I think understanding emptiness in this way is really the first step in developing compassion, because it involves understanding the full reality of who we are. If we understand emptiness in this way, then we know who we really are, and then we take the second step, which is to try to benefit others, try to extend compassion to others. But if we didn’t understand emptiness and tried to take that second step saying: “I want to benefit others, I want to extend compassion to others”, without knowing who or what the “I” is, then it’s really difficult to take that step in a genuine way. 

    _
    So, when we break through our self-fixation in this way, then we are truly ready to take the second step of cultivating loving kindness and compassion. The reason why we say this is because once we understand the emptiness that is the true nature of reality, then we can truly understand the sentient beings, who haven’t realized that true nature yet. Previous to our realizing emptiness we can’t really understand other sentient beings, because we are trapped in the same wrong views that they are trapped in. 

    _
    This is the way in which we try to become an activist of compassion, otherwise known as a bodhisattva, or someone who does compassion by understanding the reality of emptiness or interdependence; the reality of how everything is connected to each other.

    _
    We can think of the heart breaking images that we sometimes learn about, the heart breaking stories of children being left alone... We can also witness the example of some countries that are beautiful countries filled with well being and joy and elegance, but then be set by the condition of intense warfare, and due to that intense warfare what was once a beautiful and abundant place becomes a place filled with suffering, as if it’s a city of the Lord of Death. This is a very clear example that we see quite a lot in the world today, of the result of having a lack of compassion.

    Having a lack of compassion is actually a very frightening thing. Recently in the world we have seen very frightening events, such as the earthquake in Nepal. When we see these terrible images of destruction and harm, we become very frightened. But even more frightening than that, even more frightening than any natural disaster, is the situation of human beings lacking a heart of love.

    We can just look at how many people died in World War II due to aggression, which was the result of lack of compassion on the part of individual human beings. How many millions of people died in that war? It seems that it’s very rare for a natural disaster to produce that many deaths.

    So if lacking in love is as dangerous as has been described, then we can come to really appreciate having love in our hearts, having love in our minds.

    _
    Many people come to me and express their concern about not being able to help others. They say things like: “I’d really like to help others in a vast way, in a meaningful way, but I don’t have any power and ability to help others in this way. So, please, look upon me with compassion and pray for me that I will become a billionaire or a millionaire, and then I will be able to help many sentient beings.” Or they say: “Please pray for me that I gain a lot of power and authority and then I will be able to benefit many sentient beings.” But if I had the ability to turn someone into a millionaire I would turn myself into one! But it hasn’t worked so far.

    But benefiting others really isn’t that simple. Someone might have a wish to become a billionaire or millionaire in order to benefit others, but there is actually no certainty that you will benefit others just through becoming a billionaire or millionaire. Some people might set out through the intention to benefit others through becoming a billionaire or millionaire, but once they have achieved that state then they forget about the aspiration they made! So, one can’t be so sure that that’s the way to benefit others.

    On the contrary, I think the real genuine way to go about benefiting others is to dedicate one’s body, speech and mind toward the benefit of living beings. To increase our expressions of love and the positive qualities connected to love in our body, speech and mind, so that our activities of body, speech and mind become activities for the benefit of sentient beings. I think this is really the root of accomplishing vast benefit for others. If we don’t try to transform ourselves in this way and rather regard benefiting others as just getting something that is outside of ourselves, then that won’t become a genuine path of benefiting others.

    __
    I think in general there still seems to be a sense that there is too much distance between what we say and what we do.... in traditional language this means taking the separation away between the dharma and the person. We don’t want the dharma and the person to be two separate things, but we want them to merge together. And in another way you could describe this as lack of separation between the action and the performer of the action. So as short of a distance we can make between the action and the performer of the action, then I think to that degree we will truly come to understand reality and manifest genuinely positive results.



    Read more: “Compassion Itself Is an Action”: Karmapa in Dialogue with Young Activists



    https://www.facebook.com/notes/ani-sherab/understanding-emptiness-as-a-means-to-compassion-by-hh-karmapa/10205905737721111

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    The following publications will be available at the 34th Kagyu Monlam.

    Four-Session Guru Yoga Practice Text by the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje
    This text will be available with phonetics and translation in ten languages: English, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

    A Collection of Commentaries on the Four-Session Guru Yoga 
    Compiled by 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

    Guru yoga is essential for the realization of mahamudra, and in the Karma Kagyu lineage, the primary guru yoga practiced is the Four-Session Guru Yoga by the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje. This volume presents newly rediscovered instructions for this practice by the Fifth Shamar Könchok Yenlak and the Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje along with the more well-known commentaries by Karma Chakme, Karmay Khenchen Rinchen Dargye, and the Fifteenth Karmapa Khakhyap Dorje. These texts give clear guidance that, when accompanied by instruction from a qualified master, will help practitioners develop the profound realization of devotion mahamudra.
    This book is available in English and Chinese only. 

    Kagyu Monlam Book

    Hindi and Nepali editions of this book, which contains the prayers used during the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, will be on sale for the first time this year. The Kagyu Monlam Book is already available in English, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Tibetan and Vietnamese.






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    This week’s podcast episode is a short teaching from the Gyalwang Karmapa on the relationship between Buddhism and science as well as a Q&A session on this and other topics.
    The recording took place on the Gyalwang Karmapa’s previous visit to Switzerland where he gave teachings, empowerments and was able to visit many Tibetan communities. In it he discusses the importance of Buddhist and scientific investigation, and how these two different but related fields can benefit our own lives and society in general.
    In the Q&A portion of this episode His Holiness covers topics such as Tonglen meditation, how people from different religions can live in harmonious families, and many more.
    You can get the podcast here on iTunes or simply download the episode right here. Please make sure you subscribe in iTunes to be notified of new episodes.
    Karmapa speaks in Tibetan with an English translator.


    http://kagyuoffice.org/the-relationship-between-buddhism-and-science-podcast-episode-012/

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    The Grand Sacred Celebration of Guru Padmasambhava at Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat which took place on the 10th day of the 10th month in the Fire Monkey Year coincided with the first visit of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje after nearly seventeen years since His Holiness arrived to India.
    The long awaiting hope of Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa and the Sangha of Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat for the Karmapa to visit was finally fulfilled by the blessing of His Holiness the Dalia Lama, Government of India and the administration of Tibetan Government-in-Exile at Dharamsala.
    Day 1: 8 December 2016

    On the 8th of December, the first welcoming party headed by Very Venerable Gyalton Rinpoche arrived at Gyuto Monastery to escort His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa and his entourage to Palpung Sherabling.
    The second welcoming party headed by Venerable Pongri Tulku welcomed His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa in Baijnath and joined His Holiness and the entourage en route to Palpung Sherabling.
    The main reception at Palpung Sherabling Monastic Institution was designed to be the traditional welcome ceremony with all elaborate and auspicious decorations. Upon the arrival of His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa received him at the main gate. They exchanged the scarves in the most auspicious traditional way. Led by Very Venerable Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche in a traditional fashion, Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa escorted His Holiness to the main shrine.
    Upon proceeding to the main shrine, His Holiness made three prostrations towards the main statue of Lord Maitreya. In front of the relic stupas of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa to the right and of His Holiness the 11th Tai Situ Pema Wangchog Gyalpo to the left, the Karmapa lit butter lamps and then resided on the dharma throne in the front center.
    The welcome speech and the introduction of the program was conducted by Kyorpon Dawa Tsering. As the monks started chanting the seven branch prayers, an elaborate mandala offering was made by Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa joined by Very Venerable Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. Meanwhile, Khenpo Thubten Karma read the Auspicious Five Perfect Conditions and the traditional tea and rice were served. A brief introduction on the relation between the black and red crown lineage was made by Khenpo Gyaltsen Phuntsok. The morning welcome ceremony was concluded with dedication prayers.
    Then His Holiness was invited to his residence and lunch was served at the private dining room for His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa and Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa only so the two can spend time in the utmost joyful way.
    In the afternoon, His Holiness and Guru Vajradhara were invited to the decorated balcony above the performance stage to watch the continuation of the preliminary VAJRA Nyitham (Cham) where the performers wore no masks. Both of them retired for the day after dinner at the private dining room.
    Day 2: 9 December 2016

    In the early morning of the second day, His Holiness and Guru Vajradhara were invited back to the decorated balcony to preside the actual VAJRA Nyitham with masks. At 10:30 AM, Special Guest the Prime Minister of Tibetan Government-in-Exile at Dharamasala (Central Tibetan Administration), Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay arrived with the Chairman of Tibetan-Parliament-in-Exile, Venerable Khenpo Sonam Tenphel. They were invited to the Audience Hall where Guru Vajradhara received them with the traditional tea and rice welcome ceremony at the presence of His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa.
    At 10:55 AM, after the special guests proceeded to the special area of the veranda overlooking the monastery courtyard, the actual function started. On this very special day, the Chief Guest was His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa and the Special Guest was Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay. Other honorable guests included the Chairman of the Tibetan-Parliament-in-Exile (Parliament of Central Tibetan Administration), the Chief Justice Commissioner of Central Tibetan Administration, the Private Secretary of Ganden Phodrang, members from the Parliament and Secretariat of Central Tibetan Administration joined by many other distinguished guests. Representatives from many Kagyupa monasteries from India, Bhutan and Nepal joined this special occasion including representatives from Rumtek Monastic Seat of His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, His Eminence Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche from Zurmang Monastic Seat of Zurmang in India, representatives from Jamgon Kongtrul Labrang and many Rinpoches and Lamas from near and far. Representatives from various Palpung centers also participated in this special event.
    The welcome speech and the introduction of the ceremony were conducted by Khenpo Karma Dakpa. The introduction of Fire Male Monkey Year Tsechu (Guru Padmasambhava) and its related Vajra Nyitham (Cham) of Palpung tradition was made by Khenpo Pema.
    The most profound and significant addresses were delivered subsequently by Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa, the Chairman of Parliament of Central Tibetan Administration, Venerable Khenpo Sonam Tenphel and the Prime Minister of Central Tibetan Administration, His Excellency Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Singay. The last and most touching historical address was conducted by His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa. The morning program was concluded with vote of thanks by Khenpo Jamyang Lodoe. VIP guests were served lunch with the presence of His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa and Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa.
    In the afternoon, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa, His Eminence Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay and Venerable Khenpo Sonam Tenphel were invited back to special area of the decorated veranda. All dignitaries and distinguished guests also took their respective seats. Around two thousand devotees shared the blessing of the Grand Procession and Vajra Nyitham of Eight Manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava. During the Vajra Nyitham (Cham) of Protector Shingkyong, His Holiness Gyalwang Kara gave special blessing, prayers and sent a scarf to offer to the protector.
    After the day-long ceremony, an evening dinner was organized for all Tulkus, Khenpos and Lamas representing the various monasteries from India, Bhutan and Nepal to join His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa and Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa. All representatives felt so much blessing in the presence of both His Holiness and Guru Vajradhara.
    Day 3: 10 December 2016

    On the third day, Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa proceeded to Palpung Lung-Rig Jampal Ling, Palpung Sherabling Institute of Higher Buddhist Studies in advance to receive His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa. Elaborately decorated procession was performed by Shedra to welcome His Holiness.
    His Holiness decided to walk from the main monastery to Shedra and on the way he blessed all the stupas and the surrounding establishments such as the medical clinic and the old fox home.
    Upon his arrival to Shedra, Guru Vajradhara welcomed His Holiness by offering a traditional scarf and escorted him to the main shrine. His Holiness prostrated three times towards the main shrine, lit butter lamps and started the preparation of Karma Pakshi Empowerment.
    After the preparation, His Holiness sat on the throne and conducted Karma Pakshi Empowerment. Meanwhile the traditional tea and rice were served. His Holiness offered empowerment blessing to Guru Vajradhara and Guru Vajradhara offered an elaborate mandala followed by Very Venerable Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Tulkus, Khenpos and the representatives of Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat where they presented detailed offerings.
    Lopon Karma Sonam read the explanation of mandala offerings and His Holiness kindly blessed each and every one of thousands of devotees with the vase empowerment of Karma Pakshi.
    Lunch was served at the private dining hall at Shedra for His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa, His Eminence Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche and His Eminence Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.
    The afternoon session took place at the main shrine of Shedra with the presence of His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Situpa and full audiences. Elaborate demonstrations from various fields of studies were performed by students from Tsogdra, Shedra, nuns from Palpung Nunnery, Rigney Lobling, and Drarig Tsuklak such as Four Dharma of Gampopa, debates and discussions of various topics, Tibetan Medicine and astrology, etc.
    In the evening, cultural dance and music were performed by sangha students of Palpung Riglam Kyedtsal school. Arts from various Himalaya rejoin traditions such as India, Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal were demostrated. School Principal Lama Karma Tobgyal conducted a welcome speech with sincerity describing the reason why they offered a cultural performance by young Sangha of Palpung Riglam Kyedtsal school in front of His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa and Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa.
    Day 4: 11 December 2016

    On the morning of 4th day, His Holiness graciously walked around and blessed the entire mandala of Palpung Sherabling Monastic Institution including Tibetan medicinal garden, Buddhist Institute, the golden relic stupa of the 8th Tai Situpa, Riglam Kyedtsal school, the shrine of a gen song Dongtrug with Kunrig Lhakhang and Shangpa Retreat Center.
    His Holiness then a paid special visit to Naro Retreat Center for monks and Naro Retreat Center for nuns where he gave profound instructions of practices of Shamata and Guru devotion. He also blessed all retreatants to have smooth and fruitful practice.
    Lunch was served at the main monastery only for His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa and Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa. Again the two spent their time in the utmost priceless way.
    In the afternoon, Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Situpa escorted His Holiness to the car. His Holiness returned to Gyuto Monastery.
    The four-day visit of His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa to Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat of Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa left an unforgettable memory in the heart of every sincere follower of Buddhism. The event will certainly be engraved in the glorious history of Kagyupa.

    2016.12.8-11 法王噶瑪巴歷史性的參訪金剛持慈尊廣定大司徒巴八蚌智慧林法座 Historical Visit of 17th His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa  to Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat of Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa

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    Natural disasters, war, political upheavals and the worsening environmental crisis made 2016 a difficult and disturbing year for many people. At the beginning of this new year of 2017, I think it is important to remember once more that we live in an interconnected world. This is based on common sense. If we examine our own lives carefully, we will quickly realise that since before we were born our very existence has depended on the kindness and hard work of others. When we forget this, we can make great mistakes and create many problems, and this leads to an increase in suffering for both ourselves and others.
    Likewise, when we seek happiness, it should not be just for ourselves. The self that wishes only for its own happiness is mistaken. From the Buddhist point of view, that self does not even exist in the way we think it does. Seeing ourselves as the centre of the universe is like being trapped inside a prison of our own making. It has a negative, distorting effect on all our relationships. But if we think carefully about how things really exist, we come to understand that essentially there is no difference between ourselves and others. They are a part of us, and we are a part of them.
    The Buddha taught that ultimately, the only true and lasting happiness in this world comes from changing our focus from ourselves to others. When we sincerely wish and work for the happiness and benefit of others, we create our own happiness and make our lives truly meaningful.
    Shantideva expressed this very well in the Way of the Bodhisattva:
    May I become at all times, both now and forever: a protector for those without protection; a guide for those who have lost their way; a ship for those with oceans to cross; a bridge for those with rivers to cross; a sanctuary for those in danger; a lamp for those without light; a place of refuge for those who lack shelter; and a servant to all in need.
    I pray that in the year ahead, whatever challenges arise, we will find the courage to face them and that through our efforts happiness, peace and well-being will increase in every corner of the world.


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