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- 04/12/17--10:45: An Amazing Story: Finding the Reincarnation of Tenga Rinpoche
- 04/13/17--23:13: How to Train Your Mind Throughout the Day (Podcast Episode #013)
- 03/21/17--10:56: 8th Khoryug Conference
- 04/19/17--04:07: LONDON TEACHINGS TICKET ALERT
- 04/27/17--05:15: Updated Schedule of Winter Dharma Activities (2017.4.27)
- 04/10/17--04:36: The 17th Karmapa to visit Canada early this Summer
- 04/29/17--09:53: New venue and more tickets available for the London Teachings
- 04/30/17--00:01: His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa's very first visit to Canada
- 04/30/17--23:49: Karmapa, youth and interdependence (Book Review) - Maeeshat
- 05/03/17--20:49: The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa’s Dharma Activities in Vancouver
- 05/05/17--01:22: SEE, FEEL, LIVE - The Speaking Tree (TOI)
- 05/11/17--08:48: Live Webcast Announcement: Gyalwang Karmapa's UK Tour 2017
Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
March 21, 2017
Ever since he passed away on March 30, 2012, finding Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche’s reincarnation (yangsi) has been awaited with great hope and deep devotion, especially in the Karma Kamtsang lineage. Before founding Benchen Monastery in Nepal, he was the ritual master for HH the Sixteenth Karmapa and famous for his detailed knowledge of vajrayana ceremonies and practice. When traveling in Germany, the Gyalwang Karmapa spoke about Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche on August 30, 2015: “While here in Germany, I had the opportunity to meet briefly with many students of Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche and share some remarks with them. It has been a while now since he passed away but during all this time, his students and I myself have been continually remembering Rinpoche. This recollection has caused our faith, devotion, and love for him to continue flourishing.
“Before Rinpoche passed away, he spoke a few words to me about his future reincarnation. Therefore, I have a great hope and prayer that we will soon meet with his yangsi. So my main words of encouragement for the disciples of Tenga Rinpoche and those connected to Akong Rinpoche as well is to let your minds be at ease and relax. Continue sustaining the enlightened activities of your teachers and I think this will be enough.”
Half a year later, on February 22, 2016, during the closing ceremony for the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, His Holiness the Karmapa made a thrilling announcement: during the Tseringma puja conducted at the Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering for nuns, he felt great devotion for Tenga Rinpoche and had a “thought or minor vision of where he might be.” He said he would keep these details quiet until he was able to share them with HE Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche but that he hoped Tenga Rinpoche would be able to return soon.
The Letter of Prediction, Remarkably Accurate
Two days later on February 24, 2016, His Holiness presented the first prediction letter about Tenga Rinpoche to Drubwang Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche. In this special document, His Holiness gave the names of the parents and a clear description of the landscape in which they lived. Also on February 24, His Holiness and Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche together selected the members of the all-important search party, which included the General Secretary Tempa Yarphel, the Junior General Secretary Tashi Öser, Khenpo Wusung, and the Dorje Lopön Tsultrim Rabten. Afterward His Holiness said that the four members should come in the evening and that he would send a qualified person with them for the search.
When they all had gathered, the Karmapa said that Khenpo Garwang would be helping them, so there were now five people on the team. Khenpo joined as a representative of HH the Karmapa and the Tsurphu Labrang. His Holiness said that Khenpo Garwang is brilliant and has the awareness of nine people. Throughout the search, the party could always seek his counsel. Khenpo Garwang then requested the Karmapa directly, “I do need a map of the yangsi’s birthplace. It will be difficult without one.” His Holiness said playfully, “OK. I’ll pretend that I know something,” and asked for paper. He talked as he drew: “There’s a mountain here, it looks a bit like this. And there are houses. Then there’s a river going along something like that. It’s not too big.” In the end he drew a picture that turned out to be clear as a photograph, showing the layout of the land with a river flowing through it and the design of the houses, some with flat roofs and others with peaked ones, and one house was set directly beneath the mountain.
In further conversation His Holiness said there were 32 to 40 households in the area. (It turned out later that an NGO had tallied the households in this spread out village and there were exactly forty.) He also stated there would be four and a half people in the family. Responding to a query, the Karmapa replied that the “half” could refer to a child in the mother’s womb. When General Secretary asked how old the yangsi would be, the Karmapa answered, “It seems that he is three or four.” The prediction letter had said the yangsi’s home was near a blessed mountain called Gangpung Gyen (Gangs phung rgyan, Manaslu in Nepali), the eighth highest mountain in the world. Khenpo Wusung wondered which village it might be, as there were so many in that area. The Karmapa replied that it was the first village down from the Tibetan border, which turned out to be Samdo.
The First Search
His Holiness then encouraged them, “It is good to search for the yangsi right away,” so the following day they all went back to Nepal and left for Nubri, a high mountain valley in northern Nepal on the border with Tibet. Since Nubri is a six-day trek from Kathmandu, they took a helicopter to fly through the deep valleys and high mountains up to the northern border. As they approached their final destination with Manaslu looming in the sky before them, the search party was astonished to see that the details of His Holiness’ drawing matched the landscape they had entered.
Once they had landed and settled in, for six days the search party looked everywhere in the Samdo area of Nubri. They went from house to house as Khenpo Garwang said to each of the families they met, “We are looking for a very bright child. If it could study, this child would bring a great benefit to everyone. There are four children like this and we have found one each in India, Bhutan, and Sikkim. Now we have come here looking for the fourth one, born in the Year of the Horse. Do you know of a child like this from Samdo?” But the search party could not find a child of three or four years, who had parents with names matching those in the letter of prediction. The party reported back to His Holiness that they did not find a child matching his description. The next day the Karmapa requested the search party to come back to India, so sadly they had to return empty-handed to Tergar Monastery in Bodh Gaya.
During the time of this first search, the yangsi’s father, Tsering Wangdu, was on pilgrimage to Yaksha Ngakpo, a site sacred to Guru Rinpoche in Kavre, Nepal, not far from the famous stupa of Namo Buddha. Someone from Nubri called to let him know that a search party was looking for a tulku, and then for him, something quite strange happened, as his heart started thumping in his chest, and he felt stunned as if he had been struck by lightning.
Taking the Next Steps
In Bodh Gaya, the search team had an audience with His Holiness. After noting that they had been unsuccessful, the Karmapa paused for a moment and then said that it would be best if the Benchen Monastery could host the forthcoming three days of Tseringma puja. The ceremonies would take place at Thrangu Rinpoche’s Vajra Vidya Institute in Sarnath and should be celebrated as elaborately as possible. His Holiness asked, “ Can you arrange this?” And Tempa Yarphel replied, “Yes, of course, Your Holiness. No problem whatsoever.” The Karmapa then clarified that the senior Benchen monks should be present and that he would invite the senior monks from Rumtek Monastery, including the dorje lopön (ritual master), the umdze (chant master), the chötrimpa (discipline master), and so forth. The practice would be led by the umdze from Rumtek and the dorje lopön from Benchen.
The second time that His Holiness gave them information about the yangsi was during these ceremonies at Vajra Vidya Institute. The Karmapa arrived here on March 20, 2016 from Bodh Gaya, and on March 21, 2016, he began the three days of pujas in the radiant shrine hall of the Institute. Two special altars had been beautifully arranged by the Karmapa himself: one for the Guru Yoga of Karma Pakshi in the morning and another for the practice of the Five Tseringma sisters in the afternoon. Said to reside in the Himalayas, the five sisters are protectors of the Kagyu lineage, and the central Tseringma is also a lineage holder of Milarepa’s Dharma teachings. In particular, Tseringma is considered the special spirit that has dominion over the area of Nubri. These two practices of Karma Pakshi and Tseringma are the same ones that the Karmapa led in Bodh Gaya during the annual nuns’ gathering. In Sarnath, the rituals were augmented with copious offerings and continued for three days, finishing on the auspicious full moon of the second Tibetan month.
The Karmapa had remarked about these special pujas, “At this time perhaps I will see the yangsi more clearly.” On the third day of the practices, March 23, 2016, as he left the shrine hall, His Holiness gave Tempa Yarphel a folded paper. When he opened it, he discovered the drawing of a house with a large boulder and an indication of the direction in which the door faced. Written at the top was “Year of the Horse.” During an audience on the evening of that day, the search party requested further advice and clarification from His Holiness. The Karmapa told them that they did not know how to search in Samdo: “It could be that the mother went as a bride to another village or that the father went as a groom elsewhere. They will probably have a child. Look for them.”
A Second Venture to Nubri
The search party returned to Samdo in Nubri, and this time Khenpo Garwang asked the head of the village and the resident lama, Lama Orgyen, to call a big meeting with the local villagers. Under a clear mountain sky, they all gathered and Khenpo Garwang asked about family members who had moved to other places and who had children. The villagers were very cooperative and even called abroad to relatives in Europe, America, and Australia to see if they had such a child but they only found a young girl born in the Year of the Horse, not a young boy.
Three days passed by, and then late in the day around 5:30, the General Secretary felt like having something to drink, so he walked over to a small shop where a woman was selling tea, coffee, and some snacks. He bought a cup of coffee and while he was drinking it, as is the custom in remote mountain areas, the owner struck up a conversation. (He later discovered that she was a sister of Lama Orgyen and named Sithar.) “Well, did you find the child?”
“No,” the General Secretary sighed, “We’ve looked everywhere and could not find him.”
She asked him, “Did you know that my older sister’s daughter has a boy born in the Year of the Horse?”
“Where is she?” the General Secretary quickly questioned.
“My sister’s daughter moved to Rö as a bride.“
“Where is this place?”
“Oh, you walk down the mountain about three or four hours and you’ll get there.”
The General Secretary was as surprised as he was elated. He paid for his coffee, leaving it half finished, and went as quickly as he could to find the search party in their guesthouse. Khenpo Garwang remarked, “That’s quite strange. We had so many meetings and no one mentioned this child. Let’s go tomorrow morning as early as possible. Since Lama Orgyen is a respected person and a relative of the boy, it would be good to invite him to come with us.”
As Lama Orgyen was staying close by, the search party went right away to see him and Khenpo Garwang asked, “Did your sister’s daughter go as a bride to Rö?”
“Yes, and my sister passed away quite some time ago,” he replied.
“Her daughter has a boy, isn’t it?”
“Could he have been born in the Year of the Horse?”
“Well, it’s possible. I’ll call her.”
Lama Orgyen made a phone call to the yangsi’s mother and he found out that, indeed, the boy was born in the Horse Year. Lama Orgyen was also reminded that he was the one who had made an astrological chart for the infant after his birth. The lama happily agreed to join search party on their trip to Rö.
A Young Boy Makes an Impression
With joy and anticipation, the search party traveled on the very next day to meet his sister’s grandson. After their trek down the rocky mountain valley, the search party at last came to the house, which was known as the New House in Rö of Nubri (Nub ri ros khang gsar). When the General Secretary saw the yangsi, he thought, “This child’s eyes have a special brilliance.”
The parent’s names turned out to be just as the prediction letter had indicated: the father was named Tsering Wangdu, (though he was usually called Wangdu), and he was known as Orgyen Pasang Wangpo when he was a monk for four years at Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s Monastery in Swyambhunath which is now under Mingyur Rinpoche’s guidance and called Tergar Ösel Ling. The yangsi’s mother was called Dawa Putri, and when she was a nun at Penor Rinpoche’s nunnery in southern India for about six years, she was known as Tsultrim Chödrön. She has two older sisters and three younger brothers. It also turned out that the mother of both Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Mingyur Rinpoche came from Rö.
While she was pregnant, Dawa Putri dreamed of her oldest sister’s house, located high up on the valley side with stairs like a ladder climbing up to the front door. In her dream, an old lama dressed in bright, red robes came down the stairs and walked straight to the gate of the parent’s old house with the boulder. The lama said to the mother, “Your child will be born as a tulku. You should perform chabtor (offerings for hungry ghosts),” and then he faded away. The mother, however, did not make the offerings, dismissing the dream as something illusory and not really important. She explained that people in the area were always having dreams, so they do not put much store in them.
A Reincarnation Comes into the World
For three days while Dawa Putri was having some labor pains that came and went, there was a light snowfall, and then on the night the yangsi was born, a huge snowstorm blanketed the entire area, coating the mountains in brilliant white. The parents asked their local lama from Rö, Lopön Gyurme, the meaning of this immense storm. Was it a good or bad sign? He said that it could be a good sign as snow often means that good things will happen in the area. And it could be a bad sign, as the massive snow made it difficult for the livestock in the area, and indeed, their yaks and dzo had a hard time. The family felt that it was definitely an unusual event.
The yangsi was born on the 23rd day of the tenth Tibetan month in the Year of the Horse (December 14, 2014) at 11:30 pm. The previous Tenga Rinpoche had passed away in the early hours of March 30, 2012, so he did not wait long to take rebirth, just as the Karmapa had predicted. The boy was named Nyima Döndrup, and soon after his birth, Dawa Putri’s paternal aunt (her father’s younger sister) came to visit. When she learned that at the baby’s birth, the umbilical cord was wrapped counterclockwise around his neck and that he had a red spot between his eyebrows, the aunt remarked, “You must take special care of this child.” (This is often said to parents before their child is identified as a reincarnation.) Among the father’s nieces and nephews, there were twelve girls and only three boys, so the aunt was very happy and had great hopes for this child.
About two days after the child was born, his great uncle, Lama Orgyen came to visit and pronounced, “He is a being with great good fortune.” Following the custom of the Nubri area, he advised them, “You must perform smoke offerings for his long life.” So they hoisted a colorful flag on their roof and did smoke pujas (bsang) on the 3rd, 13th, and 23rd of the Tibetan month.
For around a month after his birth, the yangsi’s nostrils were blocked, so a phone call was made to the mother’s brother Yönten Namgyal who was studying at Benchen shedra. What should they do? He went to ask Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche who gave him saffron to burn as a smoke offering (bsang rdzas) to clear away hindrances (sgrib sang), saying, “Burn this for him and he’ll be fine.” So Yönten Namgyal sent this saffron up to the family in Nubri and after bathing the child, they burned a little of it every day, letting the smoke rise gently over the yangsi’s face and in about two months he was cured.
As the child grew, the qualities of his character became clearer. He liked to be with other children, and when he went outside to play with them, sometimes they hit him, but he never retaliated. He was also kind to beggars. In their area, two or three times a year, poor people come from India seeking charity. Most of the local people in Nubri ignore them or chase them away, and usually there are no beggars around. When the yangsi sees them at their door, he says, “These are my bhai (Nepali for brother). Give them food.” If the mother hasn’t prepared anything to eat at that time, they look around for what might be available like tsampa (roasted barley flour) and give them that.
Other traces of Tenga Rinpoche also appeared. The previous incarnation loved malas and had a box full of them in his room, often changing the one he was using. When the yangsi would meet old men and women counting mani mantras on their malas, he would grasp onto them. Once there was an older man who had come to help at their house, and one day he couldn’t find his mala. It turned out that the child had walked away with it.
The Pieces Beginning to Form an Image
When Khenpo Garwang and the search party arrived at their home, the yangsi went to the door to see who was there. When he saw Khenpo Garwang, he said, “Tashi Delekla” (a polite way of saying “Hello, welcome”) though the yangsi had never spoken any Tibetan before. It was the first time he had ever said these words. The search party took many photos, and while they were visiting, the young boy took ahold of his mother’s chupa several times, saying something to her in the local Nubri dialect. When Tempa Yarphel asked Khenpo Wusung for a translation, it came out as a traditional gesture of welcome, “Pour them some tea.” At that time, the yangsi did not speak much and was just a year and three months old.
Previously, when the party had asked the Karmapa about the prediction letter and the number of family members, he had said that there could be four and a half, clarifying that “half” might mean that the mother was pregnant. When the party queried her, however, the mother said her periods were regular, so she was not pregnant at that time. Yet there were four members in the family: the two parents, the yangsi, and his sister Kelsang Chökyi who was two years older.
The General Secretary further asked the parents about the boulder that was in the Karmapa’s drawing. They replied that it was a major part of the lower floor in their old house, forming its back left corner with two walls extending out from either side. This boulder was broken into pieces and recycled when they built their new home, they said. It was here that the yangsi was born but the letter of prediction had been written while they were still living in their old house with the boulder. Many tourists come to Manaslu, and thinking they could generate some income through a guesthouse, the parents had completely rebuilt their home and added extra rooms, creating a house in an L-shape. The houses in the area have their own special names, and theirs is the New House in Rö of Nubri (Nubri ros khang pa gsar).
While staying in Rö, Khenpo Garwang contacted His Holiness to give him a detailed report, including the fact that the “half” family member was missing. After three days, His Holiness responded and asked Khenpo Garwang to return to Bodh Gaya and the other members of the search party to return to Kathmandu. Once back in India, Khenpo Garwang went over all the details with His Holiness and showed him the photographs of the family, their dwelling, and the stunning landscape, but at this point, the Karmapa stated that he did not have anything to say about Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche’s reincarnation.
Tseringma Comes in to Play
Meanwhile in Kathmandu, the General Secretary spoke with Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche to let him know that he was going to Bodh Gaya to spend Gutor (days of Mahakala practice before the New Year) and Losar (New Year) of 2017 at Tergar Monastery with the Karmapa. “What shall I say to His Holiness about the yangsi?” he asked. Nyenpa Rinpoche replied, “Don’t say anything at all about the yangsi. It’s best to keep quiet. His Holiness knows who you are. If he wishes to say something, he will. If not, then come back.”
So the General Secretary Tempa Yarphel followed his plans and went to Bodh Gaya for Gutor and Losar. Afterward, on March 2, the morning of the Marme Monlam and the last day of the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, he and some friends had the opportunity to have an audience with His Holiness and took photos with him. After the friends left, the Karmapa told Tempa Yarphel to come inside his quarters and gave him the following instructions: “There are many monks from Benchen here for the Kagyu Monlam and they should all return home. The search party should come here during the Nuns’ Winter Gathering at the time of the Tseringma practice.”
Following this advice, the Benchen monks returned to Nepal, and four members of the party came back to Bodh Gaya for the three days of Tseringma practice. On March 11, the third day of the pujas, His Holiness was writing down something during the chanting. At the end, he called the General Secretary up to the throne. Giving him the paper enveloped in a khata, the Karmapa said, “This was not written following my own thoughts. I wrote it directly as it clearly appeared. After the puja finishes, tell the search party to come to see me and I’ll give you an explanation.” When they met with him, the Karmapa told them that the paper held his new verses for them to chant as they went on their way to find the yangsi. His Holiness then urged them, “Go right away to Nepal and look for a child born in the Year of the Horse at the Boudhanath Stupa. You’ll find him there.”
Meanwhile back in Rö, there had been a light snowfall before the Tseringma practice had begun in Bodh Gaya. However, when the actual practice took place from March 9 to 11, 2107, snow came in a huge and steady downfall for the three full days. Over four feet of snow stacked up around the yangsi’s house before the radiant sun came out and melted it away. This amount of snow was very unusual, as it was the beginning of spring when it does not snow so much in the mountains. During these three days in Bodh Gaya, the weather was uncommonly clear and cool. The father mentioned that it was this auspicious snowstorm and the one at the yangsi’s birth that had confirmed his trust in the Karmapa.
With the Karmapa’s encouragement, the search party sped back to Nepal and spent days around the revered stupa looking for the young boy. Crowds of people from Nubri were circumambulating the glistening white dome of the stupa and walking through the narrow side streets. The search party found many children born in the Year of the Horse, but the parent’s names and the number of children in the family did not match. Nevertheless, all of these names were reported back to His Holiness. Then as the search party watched the webcast from Bodh Gaya on March 14, they heard the Karmapa conclude the day’s teachings on Gampopa with amazing news: "You might remember, it was a year or two ago during the Nuns’ Winter Dharma Gathering, that we started looking for the reincarnation of Bokar Rinpoche. We searched for, found, and brought him here during the Nuns’ Winter Dharma Gathering. And so now if all the external and internal conditions work out properly, if there are the proper signs and so forth, we do have the hope that we will be able to look for and recognize the reincarnation of the Lord of Refuge Tenga Rinpoche, and bring him here to this fourth Nuns’ Winter Dharma Gathering. It is not certain that this will happen. Nothing is definite, yet it is quite possible that it might occur. In case it does, we may well have to extend this gathering for about two days.” Many other people heard this webcast as well and began calling Tempa Yarphel, “Did you find him?” they asked. “No” was the reply. “You have to use all the skillful means you can muster,” they worried. “We need a reincarnation right away!”
The Race to Nubri and Bodh Gaya
On March 17, His Holiness sent a message to Khenpo Garwang stating that Benchen Monastery should perform Tara puja throughout the night in order to remove obstacles.
Finally, on March 19th at 9:00 pm in the evening, Khenpo Garwang received a sudden message from the Karmapa: “Bring this child from Rö quickly to Bodh Gaya by the evening of March 20 or the morning of March 21.” The search party had been on an edge trying to find the yangsi in Boudha, and now they had to turn around and somehow bring him all the way from the northern mountains of Nepal to Bodh Gaya in the south of India’s Bihar State in 24 to 36 hours if not sooner.
Fortunately, Tashi Öser had a good connection with an important person in Nepal who helped him reserve a helicopter for the next day at 8 am. Since the helicopter could not carry many people, they sent Khenpo Garwang, Tashi Öser, and the mother’s younger brother, Yönten Namgyal (known by his nickname Babu), who was a monk at the Benchen monastic college. In this way, during the hurried trip to India, there would be someone familiar to a young boy who had never been far out of his village, and everyone could be more at ease. Earlier this day, a foot of snow had fallen in Nubri but since tourists had flown in, people had shoveled the snow off the helipad, and it was easy for the search party to land and the family to fly away with them.
When the helicopter landed in Kathmandu, a jeep was waiting at the airport to take everyone straight away to India. It was the first time that the yangsi had seen a car. They drove all night and arrived at 5 am on the morning of March 21. When the General Secretary, accompanied by Sherab Wangchuk and Jimba Lodro, arrived at Tergar around 8:30 am, they looked quite tired yet joyous at the same time. After meeting the family at the airport, they had also learned that Dawa Putri was five months pregnant, thus fulfilling the Karmapa’s prediction that the family would have four and a half members.
The Yangsi Appears in Bodh Gaya
No one at Tergar Monastery was giving any definite information about the yangsi, yet the main shrine hall was filled with a quiet excitement and people were dressed up in their best clothes. To the right of Karmapa’s throne was a smaller one covered in golden and red brocade with two chairs set next to it. Ayang Rinpoche had also come and was seated to the Karmapa’s left. His Holiness had overseen all the details of the ceremony from the text to be chanted to the order of the procession with the yangsi. At 9:30 am His Holiness entered and took his seat to preside over the practice, the main one being the Supplication to the Sixteen Arhats, who are dedicated to preserving the teachings.
When it came to the section of inviting the arhats to be present, the puja was paused and through the main vermillion doors of the shrine hall came a procession led by the General Secretary carrying a long incense holder, followed by the Junior Secretary Tashi Öser, Khenpo Garwang, the yangsi in a golden chupa with his parents, and Yönten Namgyal. They were accompanied by Gyaltsen Sonam from the Tsurphu Administration. The parents placed their child on the carpet in front of the Karmapa, who was wearing his black crown, and after they had bowed deeply, the yangsi was brought up next to the Karmapa and looked directly into his eyes for a long time.
The young boy was then placed on his throne while the parents sat next to him and he continued to turn and gaze at the Karmapa and the new people around him. During this time, above his eyebrows came a second set of red brows like a naro (the Tibetan vowel that looks like two wings), more sweeping upward above his right eyebrow and less above the left. They were quite clear during the ceremony and for some time afterward.
People remarked at how composed the boy was for such a young child since in western terms he is only two years and some three months old. By Tibetan counting, in this late March of 2017, the yangsi is four years old since he was born in the tenth month, and whenever Losar (the New Year) comes around, everyone is considered a year older no matter when they were born. So at two months old, the yangsi was already considered to be a one-year old. Then two years passed, making him three, and this year Losar just happened on February 27th, so he turned four in the Tibetan world.
For his long and fruitful life, many offerings were made to the yangsi of the representations of body, speech, and mind. All the while the child, just over two years old, sat calmly on his throne, looking with great simplicity and clarity at what was happening and the numerous people who came before him with their gifts and long white scarves. Many people remarked on how unusual this composure was for a very young child from a remote region, who was now the focus of a grand ceremony and crowds of people. His radiant presence filled the hearts of everyone, as it will continue to do during his many years to come.
This account is based on interviews with the General Secretary Tempa Yarphel of Benchen Monastery, conducted on March 24, and 25, 2017 in Bodh Gaya, India and on interviews with the yangsi’s parents on March 26 and 27, 2017. The General Secretary and Tashi Sautter also helped with the editing of the text, which was written by Michele Martin after conducting the interviews. May this contribute to the long life and flourishing activity of this wonderful reincarnation.
Tickets for the London teachings of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje will go on sale this SATURDAY 22nd APRIL at 9AM GMT via eventbrite:
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The teachings schedule can be found here:
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Purple: £50 per day accessible seating
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His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, will bestow a Long Life Empowerment on Saturday 27th May in the afternoon. For further information and to purchase tickets please click here:
If you have any further questions, please contact the organisers of this event: www.bccuk.co.uk
PLEASE NOTE: THE VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS THE 17TH GYALWANG KARMAPA WILL BE FINALISED AND CONFIRMED ONLY AFTER OBTAINING ALL THE NECESSARY CLEARANCES FROM THE RELEVANT AUTHORITIES.
Gyalwang Karmapa UK Visit 2017
Apr 20, 2017
Hindustan Times, Rumtek, Sikkim
|Buddhist monks and residents during a rally in Gangtok. (Picture courtesy: Wang Chen)|
Marriages, they say, are made in heaven. But ever since Thinley Thaye Dorje abandoned his monkhood to marry his childhood friend last month, the much-publicised wedding plunged the normally idyllic state of Sikkim bordering China into rare disquiet.
Dorje is one of the three claimants to the position of Karmapa — the religious head of the Tibetan Buddhist sect of Karma Kagyu. An official anointment of a Karmapa has been long held up over differences between India and China, already at loggerheads over festering border disputes and diplomatic tensions.
But Dorje’s marriage has emboldened supporters of one of his rival claimants to raise the pitch and demand that New Delhi recognise Ugyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa.
For the past nine months, monks of the famous Rumtek monastery, 24km from Sikkim’s capital Gangtok, have been holding a relay hunger strike in support of Trinley Dorje. Thaye Dorje’s marriage has now prompted them to hold protest marches as well.
To maintain order, both the Dorjes are barred from visiting the monastery, which is being guarded by armed personnel of the Indo-Tibetan border force.
The recently married Dorje who lives in New Delhi has not given up on his claim. “...My decision to marry will have a positive impact not only for me, but also for the (Karmapa) lineage,” he was quoted as saying in a statement after his marriage.
But the clamour for recognising the other Dorje has only grown.
“We now want the Centre to treat Ugyen Trinley as the 17th Karmapa and be allowed to visit the sect’s two other monasteries in Ralang in south Sikkim and Phoodong in north Sikkim,” insisted Sonam Lama, the only legislator in the Sikkim assembly representing the community of revered monks.
“Previous state governments did not pursue with the government of India the people’s demand of allowing Ugyen Trinley to Rumtek. Now we have renewed our demand with both the state and the Centre,” said Lama, who is leading the hunger strike.
Both India and China want a pliant Karmapa as whoever occupies the position considered next only to that of the Dalai Lama will wield tremendous influence over Tibetans on either side of the border.
Ugyen Trinley, who fled China in 1999 at the age of 14, enjoys greater support, but New Delhi eyes him with suspicion. Indian authorities are particularly worried as to the real reasons behind his escape from Lhasa, pointed out a retired top Sikkim police officer.
“Central intelligence agencies have been watchful of Ugyen Trinley, who they believe is Beijing anointed. They also are wary of allowing him to visit Rumtek since it would give legitimacy to one claimant,” the official explained.
Unable to visit Rumtek, the temporal seat of the Karma Kagyu sect, Ugyen Trinley has made the Gyuto monastery near Dharamsala his home.
“Bringing the 17th Karmapa to Sikkim has become an emotive issue,” pointed out Karma Tempo Gyaltsen, spokesperson of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front and a legal advisor to chief minister Pawan Chamling.
The 16th Karmapa died in 1981 and a consensus on appointing his successor has eluded since then.
Patience has begun to run out and monks across Sikkim are hitting the streets. “There is a consensus among a large section of Buddhist followers here over the selection of Ugyen Trinley and the chief minister himself met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to request him to allow the Karmapa to visit Rumtek,” Gyaltsen said.
“With Thaye Dorje abandoning monkhood, it is only a matter of time before he (Ugyen Trinley) is allowed to visit and claim his rightful place on the Karmapa throne at Rumtek,” he added.
But that is easier said than done since there is also a third claimant — Dawa Sangpo Dorje who lives in a monastery in Damthang in south Sikkim.
“No political party can decide who the Karmapa is,” Sangpo Dorje said. “The claim to the title can be resolved only by conducting a test of the claimants’ spiritual knowledge.”
An empty throne despite a surfeit of claimants has meant the “black hat” — the most important symbol of the Karmapa — is under lock and key at the Rumtek monastery.
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New Delhi/Gangtok, 22 April: His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s new book, Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society, was released today in India at a special event at the Habitat Centre in Delhi, by Simon and Schuster India/Wisdom Publications. In this book, the Karmapa outlines his vision for a global society that truly reflects the interdependence that is now becoming widely recognized, and shows a way forward to enacting that vision. The Karmapa is an influential voice in the new generation of thought leaders and spiritual head of one of the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, which has been working with the notion of interdependence for many centuries.
Despite polarizing forces that would seek to erect barriers and deny our connectedness, global economic integration and information technology are making our interdependence increasingly direct and undeniable. Within this historical moment, the Karmapa argues that we must not retreat behind walls but join together in collective action to build a global society that acknowledges and draws on our fundamental connectedness.
In Interconnected, the Karmapa argues that the crucial next step is to move beyond theoretical understanding of our interconnectedness, to begin to actually feel connected in our hearts. He shows how our inherent capacity for empathy can be strengthened to serve as a sound natural basis on which to develop the personal and social values that are consistent with living as interdependent individuals: compassion, responsibility, equality, and valuing of diversity.
“The information age makes us highly aware of our interconnectedness and the Internet allows us to see how much we depend on one another. But we also need to have an Innernet – not just a connection on a material or outer level. We need to be able to feel our connectedness inwardly,” the Karmapa said, speaking at the book launch.
“His Holiness the Karmapa has rediscovered for us the modern meaning of Buddha’s personality and the contemporary significance of his life and messages.” said Jairam Ramesh, economist, environmentalist and member of Rajya Sabha who had been invited as chief guest. “This book would be relevant at any time. But it is even more so at a time when social conflicts have become endemic, when religious prejudices and bigotry are wreaking havoc and as nature’s delicate ecological balance gets increasingly disturbed with disastrous consequences. All I can do is salute him on this achievement and express the hope that he will continue to be a beacon in these troubled times.”
Speaking at the event itself were Mirai Chatterjee, coordinator of social security at SEWA and successor to Ela Bhatt, Karen Derris, professor at University of Redlands and Ian Chapman, publisher and chief executive officer of Simon & Schuster UK and International. Rajiv Mehrotra, CEO of Foundation for Universal Responsiblity, served as master of ceremonies
The book is a result of a month-long dialogue between the Karmapa and a group of students from the University of Redlands, California who traveled from the USA to Dharamsala to learn from him. Reflecting his deep commitment to open exchange across boundaries of culture, education, race, and economic status, the Karmapa holds annual dialogues with youth from around the world. His latest interactions took place with postgraduate students from Ambedkar University Delhi’s psychology department, to explore Buddhist and modern psychology’s approaches to working with emotions.
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the spiritual head of one of the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Karmapa has been dubbed the "new face of Tibetan Buddhism," and many Tibetans look to the Karmapa for inspiration in their struggle to preserve their embattled culture. He has emerged as an international Buddhist leader and environmental activist, founding Khoryug, a region-wide eco-monastic movement. He currently resides at Gyuto Monastery near Dharamsala, India.
"The information age makes us highly aware of our interconnectedness and the internet allows us to see how much we depend on one another. But we also need to have an innernet -- not just a connection on a material or outer level. We need to be able to feel our connectedness inwardly," said the Karmapa at the release of his new book "Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society".
The book, which came out of a month-long dialogue with a group of students from the University of Redlands, California, who travelled to Dharamsala to learn from him, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, outlines his vision for a global society that truly reflects the interdependence that is now becoming widely recognised and shows a way forward to enacting that vision.
Former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, who was the chief guest at the launch, said: "His Holiness, the Karmapa, has rediscovered for us the modern meaning of Buddha's personality and the contemporary significance of his life and messages."
The Karmapa, the third-most important Tibetan religious head, is an influential voice in the new generation of thought leaders and spiritual head of one of the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, which has been working with the notion of interdependence for many centuries.
In the book, he argues that despite polarising forces that would seek to erect barriers and deny our connectedness, global economic integration and information technology are making our interdependence increasingly direct and undeniable.
Within this historical moment, "we must not retreat behind walls but join together in collective action to build a global society that acknowledges and draws on our fundamental connectedness", adding that the crucial next step is to move beyond theoretical understanding of our interconnectedness, to begin to actually feel connected in our hearts.
India has been a special place for him and the Karmapa says it has helped him personally gain in many ways particularly in developing his spiritual powers including patience.
|But since I came, India has helped me develop my spiritual powers including patience,” Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, told. (Reuters)|
"It has been 17 years since I myself came to India. Personally, during this period, there have been some difficult times. But since I came, India has helped me develop my spiritual powers including patience," Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, told PTI in an interview.
The spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism has come up with a book "Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society", published by Wisdom Publications and distributed by Simon & Schuster, in which he says that the crucial next step is to move beyond theoretical understanding of our interconnectedness, to begin to actually feeling connected.
"...It has been far more beneficial for me to be in India than to have stayed in Tibet. I have been able to do and learn so much and have met so many people I would never have been able to meet had I stayed within my comfort zone," he writes in the book.
The book is structured in three parts ? Seeing the Connection, Feeling the Connection and Living the Connection.
This book is primarily based on discussions the Karmapa had with a group of students from a US university in 2013.
On growing hatred and conflict on religious lines, he says, "When we talk about religions, those practising these religions are all humans. Because humans have different emotions naturally they have different greed, hatred and mental frictions. And because they are not able to really counter their mental frictions the way they should, religion becomes a way and these mental friction increase.
"This is actually the fault of the practitioner. The situation is related to the practitioner and to the individual and it is difficult to say that this is unilaterally and categorically a question of religion."
Themes also explored in the book include the way electronic connectivity is transforming the way we relate, loneliness, consumer culture, animal protection and environmental sustainability.
Asked if personal connections are seeing a decline, the Karmapa says, "These days due to development in technology, making connections has become easier for people and because it has become so easier people really dont value them. They do different things but most of these are meaningless. People dont value relations they have with other people.
"How important it was when we used to receive a letter from someone when we were young. We would read it again and again and really value the latter. But now, it has become so easy for people to connect virtually that they have lost interest in personal connections."
He says another factor is that people dont have the time to make connections with each other.
"Families dont have the time to sit and have conversations and instead they prefer to exchange messages or call each other. So what is happening is that people are getting more and more lonely," he rues.
Asked if he also feels lonely at times, he says, "Yes. This is because of my responsibility. Also as a Karmapa you have a special role to play and cannot lead a normal life anymore."
November 26, 2017 – February 4, 2018
Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering
November 26–December 13, 2017
Conference on The Jewel Ornament of Liberation
December 15–18, 2017
Gampopa Fast Path Guru Sadhana Empowerment
December 21, 2017
Mahamudra Shamatha Meditation
December 21–25, 2017, 7:00–8:30 pm
For those who have completed a hundred-thousand repetitions of each of the four preliminary practices
December 22–25, 2017
Topic: King of Samadhi Sutra (Samādhirāja Chandrapradīpa Sūtra)
35th Kagyu Monlam
December 27, 2017–January 2, 2018
Commemoration of Gampopa
January 4, 2018
The Marme Monlam
January 5, 2018
21st Kagyu Guncho
January 9–February 4, 2018
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje will be making a cross country tour of Canada for the very first time in the early summer of 2017. His Holiness is tentatively expected to bestow teachings from 31 May - 4 June, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario.
Photo and Further Details @ ksdl.org
Please note : The visit of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa will be finalised and confirmed only after obtaining all the necessary clearances from the relevant authorities.
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The Karma Kagyu Association of Canada is extremely honoured and delighted to announce the very first visit to Canada by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje!
His Holiness will be traveling across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver. On this trip, not only will he be enjoying the natural beauties of the Greath North, he will also be blessing the land and its inhabitants with his wisdom and compassion.
All event details are available on the official website at www.karmapacanada.org . All ticket sales to follow soon, details to be announced; the official website is the only source of legitimate ticket sales, please check twice before you make a purchase from other sources.
所有活動詳情請參考 http://www.karmapacanada.org/zh-hans/ 。活動入場與註冊詳情近期公布，入場券請購一併從官方網站發布，由第三方網站購票時請三思。
PLEASE NOTE: The visit of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwan Karmapa will be finalised and confirmed only after obtaining all the necessary clearances from the relevant authorities.
|Gyalwang Karmapa at the convocation ceremony, 30 April 2017.|
DHARAMSHALA: Kalon Karma Gelek Yuthok, Department of Religion and Culture, Central Tibetan Administration, attended the convocation ceremony of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectic, Dharamsala and the college of higher Tibetan studies, Sarah, this morning. The event was held at Sarah college of Tibetan Higher Studies.
His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Thinlay Dorjee graced the inauguration of the convocation as the chief guest. The function began with recitation of prayers by the students followed by serving sweet rice and butter tea to the guests, staff and students.
Ven. Kalsang Damdul, the director of IBD and CHTS gave welcome speech and briefly introduced the college and courses provided by the institution. Mr. Passang Tsering, Principal of CHTS read out the report of the college. The function was attended by Mr. Topgyal Tsering, secretary of Kashag secretariat, CTA, Mrs. Nangsa Choedon and Mr. Karma Senge, Secretary and Acting Secretary of Department of Education, representives of monasteries and heads of various Institutions.
His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa and Kalon Karma Gelek Yuthok conferred certificates to the Lobpon graduating students, Uma Ramjampa and Pharchin Ramjampa students. Secretary Topgyal Tsering distributed certificates to CTA pre-recruitment trainees. Secretary Nangsa Choedon handed over certificates to16th batch of graduating students of the CHTS.
Congratulating the outgoing students, Kalon Karma Gelek Yuthok urged them to work towards fulfillment of wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and raised concern over degenerating moral values these days that threatens unity of the society.
– Report filed by Department of Religion and Culture –
May 1, 2017
By Vishal Gulati, (IANS) :
Book: Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society; Author: Tibetan religious head and 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje; Publisher: Simon and Schuster India and Wisdom Publications; Pages: 264, Price: Rs 375
His latest book, “Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society”, reflects the historical moment in which this young spiritual leader, who heads a 900-year-old lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, has come of age as a thinker.
The 31-year-old Karmapa, who has lived most of his adult life in the 21st century, portrays a world where global integration has centred on economic and technological connectivity but without moving sufficiently beyond an atomistic vision of who we are as human beings.
As a result, globalisation has led to greater competition, conflict and isolationism, rather than compassion, sharing and collaboration.
Drawing on the Buddhist teachings on interdependence, the Karmapa describes the personal and social values that we urgently need to develop so that we can create a global society that recognises our inner as well as our material interconnectedness.
Interestingly, this book anticipates the current turn towards isolationism, although it is based on discourses the Karmapa gave four years ago in Dharamsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India where he resides in a monastery.
The world is hardly united in welcoming this new reality, even if information technology and global economic integration make our interdependence harder to deny.
For his part, the Karmapa — whose literal meaning is “the one who carries out Buddha activity” — argues that we must move not backward retreating behind walls, but forward, joining together to build a global society that acknowledges and draws on our fundamental inner connectedness.
He shows that we need to recognise interdependence, not just as a theory but also as a feeling.
The Buddhist monk, who not only paints but also pens poems and books, urges us to move from our head to our hearts and then to our hands.
The book is structured in three parts to take readers from intellectual understanding to emotional awareness to action — seeing the connection, feeling the connection and living the connection.
The Karmapa points to human beings’ inherent capacity for empathy as a natural basis for the values that naturally flow from our interconnectedness, values such as equality and diversity, compassion and social responsibility.
In its final section, “Interconnected” explains how we can apply such values at the personal, community and global levels.
Sub-themes of the book include the way electronic connectivity is transforming the way we relate, loneliness as a product of the consumer culture, animal protection and environmental sustainability.
This book articulates the Karmapa’s vision of a compassionate and caring society built through collective action.
The Karmapa has founded Khoryug, an eco-monastic movement that has educated thousands of monks and nuns across the Himalayas to lead their local communities on environmental issues.
In March, the Karmapa, who penned a short song to be used as the anthem for the Vajra Vidya Institute in Sarnath, the birthplace of Buddhism, took the first step towards granting full ordination to women in his Tibetan Buddhism lineage.
As a spiritual leader with a deep commitment to action, the Karmapa does not merely call for real change; in this book he offers the essential guidance we need to bring it about.
The Karmapa has published numerous books of interest to both Buddhist readers and those from other religions. His last book, “Nurturing Compassion”, presented his discourses on his first historic trip to Europe in 2014.
“Interconnected” is the second book in a series of publications specifically for non-Buddhist audiences. Each book in this series has emerged from dialogues with the youth held at his temporary residence in Dharamsala, where Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, also resides.
Based on discourses to students from the University of Redlands in California, the first in the series was “The Heart is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out” also explored interdependence as it plays out in various areas, such as gender, food justice and personal relationships.
Both books in this series evolved out of dialogues with university students.
However, “Interconnected” reflects the Karmapa’s deepening thought over the years and presents a more substantial exploration of the ethical and social ramifications of our interconnectedness.
His third book is coming in 2018, and will be based on interactions held last year with postgraduate students of the psychology department of Delhi’s Ambedkar University.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at email@example.com)
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The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, will begin his first Canadian tour at the end of May 2017. This visit, to last nearly a month, will begin in Toronto, proceeding to Calgary and reach Vancouver as its final Canadian destination in mid-June. Activities planned during His Holiness’ visit in Vancouver include: a Chenrezig empowerment, Akshobhya teachings and empowerment, and a panel discussion on our environment and social inequality.
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa is the spiritual leader of the Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The Karmapa lineage dates back 900 years; it is the oldest and foremost lineage to commence a tradition of reincarnate teachers in Tibetan Buddhism. The current Karmapa has taken birth in 1985, unto a nomadic family in eastern Tibet. He was recognized as the 17th lineage holder at an age of seven, and journeyed from Tibet to India at the age of 14. Ever since, the Gyalwang Karmapa has assumed the role of a spiritual leader. He has traveled the world working towards the betterment of humanity, raising global environmental awareness, promoting spiritual peace, and preserving the Tibetan culture.
His Holiness has twice visited the United States, once in 2008 and another in 2011. Since, he has begun spreading teachings of the Buddha in Europe and North America. And in May, Canada is to be added to this itinerary. The 16th Gyalwang Karmapa has visited Canada twice during his time, in 1974 and 1977. It has been forty years since our last visit from the Karmapa, and we believe his coming trip is to bring vast benefit to all.
Currently, there are three public events scheduled during His Holiness’ stay in Vancouver. There will be a Chenrezig empowerment on June 18th, a panel discussion on June 21st, and Akshobhya teachings and empowerment from June 23rd-24th. We cordially invite everyone to join us for these events. For the most updated information, please refer often to our official website at http://www.karmapacanada.org/
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa’s Vancouver Schedule
Chenrezig Empowerment (in Tibetan)
Time: Sunday, June 18, 2017 @2:00-4:00PM
Panel Discussion “Interconnected-ness: Environment and Social Inequality”
Time: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @3:30-5:00PM
Place: UBC, Chan Centre
Akshobhya Teachings and Empowerment
Time: Friday, June 23, 2017 @5:30-7:00PM
Saturday, June 24, 2017 @9:30-11:30AM and 2:00-4:00PM
Place: Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Note: Events subject to change without notice, please frequent the website for the most updated information.
April 30, 2017 – Sarah College of Higher Tibetan Studies, Dharamshala, Kangra, HP, India
The Gyalwang Karmapa’s car passed by ordained and lay students who stood along the tree-lined road leading to Sarah College. After a brief visit to the college office, he was invited into the main hall where he was offered a mandala and the three representations of body, speech, and mind. As the Chief Guest, the Karmapa had come to confer, along with Kalon Karma Gelek Yuthok, certificates to the Lobpon graduating students, the Uma Rabjampa and the Parchin Rabjampa students from Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, which shared this convocation ceremony with Sarah College.
Welcoming everyone, the Karmapa noted that he’d had quite a bit of experience attending functions at universities, both in India and abroad, yet he felt a special connection with Sarah College that made him especially happy to participate in this ceremony. For special greetings, the Karmapa singled out the students who had studied the major texts of all the four main traditions in Tibet, and he also gave a special greetings to the lay women who had completed their studies for Uma Rabjampa and Parchin Rabjampa: “Carrying out a policy of not differentiating between the ordained and lay Sangha,” the Karmapa observed, “Sarah College has opened the opportunity for everyone to study Dharma, including lay women. It is excellent that all women can now study the major texts.”
Turning to the study of the Tibetan language itself, the Karmapa stated, “It is the very root of everything.” “If we look at the texts from Dung Huang,” he continued, “we will see two types of language. One comes from the Buddhist sutras and treatises and the other from historical documents, communications, and correspondence of that particular time. In the traditional Buddhist texts, the style, grammar, and way of expression are quite similar to what we see today. However, the language of the historical documents, official communications, and letters have undergone change and exhibit a different style, grammar, and ways of expression.”
“There is a big gap between these two types of language,” he explained, “and the colloquial gives us the most difficulty when we come to study Tibetan. This is often the case with other languages as well. When I studied Korean, I was told ‘You write it like this, but you have to learn the colloquial differently.’ This divergence between literary and spoken languages is similar to Tibetan. The pronunciation of colloquial Tibetan changed over time as letters became corrupted and left out. This situation makes it hard to discover what the actual pronunciation was.
“For example, in the Tibetan language spoken in Eastern Tibet, we say ‘Tering mida katsu lep du?’ (‘How many people came today?’) What is unusual here is ‘mida’: mi clearly means ‘people,’ but why is the da there? It turns out that this is a corrupted form of rta (horse) since in the olden days, people (mi) always arrived on a horse (rta), so they were inseparable. Over the years, the pronunciation had shifted from ta to da. However, no matter what the pronunciation might be, you would always write it the same (mi rta).”
The Karmapa then brought up Kadampa texts that contain the teachings of their masters. “They are written in the colloquial language of Central Tibet, so with these records, we can hear the actual pronunciation of a language that was probably widespread at the time.” The Karmapa also remarked, “When you are reading literary Tibetan, you do not pay much attention to the language. It just goes on by. But when you are reading colloquial, the feeling is different, and you naturally take an interest in what is being said.”
“How can the great gap between written and colloquial languages be lessened?” the Karmapa asked. “Usually Tibetans who have gone to school still cannot read literary Tibetan. If you give them a treatise, or even a normal book to read, it’s not certain they could understand. On the other hand, if you give such texts in their own languages to an educated foreigner or Chinese, most of them would comprehend. For this reason it is essential to preserve our spoken and written Tibetan. Many people should reflect on this situation and do research.”
The Karmapa observed that Sarah College has emphasized the study of Tibetan language and culture, so people with these interests have come here to study Tibetan Dharma, language, history, and the Buddhist sciences, such as grammar and poetry. “It seems, however,” the Karmapa continued, “That the way of thinking and behavior has changed somewhat. In general, devotion can move in two directions: if it goes off in error, it becomes blind faith; if it goes well, it becomes a deep, abiding faith.” “Before there seemed to be a strong belief among the students,’ he observed, “but now one can see that their behavior has changed. It is difficult to say why and yet it is important that we pay attention to this.”
Shifting to the topic of Tibet’s future, the Karmapa warned, “In Tibet, the numbers of those opposed to Dharma and to Tibetan cultural traditions are gradually increasing. On the one hand, this is happening all over the world, so it is not surprising. However, we Tibetans have arrived at a critical juncture, when it is of the utmost importance that all of us work together and keep our minds in harmony. Of course, people have their own way of thinking and philosophy, but if this leads to great social disturbances and entrenched opposition, the Tibetan society will be dismantled and destroyed.
“It is perfectly all right to have our own view and position on things. These, however, are not about making a big impression on others; rather, we should seek out our commonalities. Since we live in a precarious time, it is crucial that we cooperate and keep our relations compatible. If you look from the outside, we seem to be a powerful people but within our society, there are clashing views and heated arguments based on the hardened positions we have taken. In such a situation, it will be difficult for Tibetans to ever rise up again.”
“There are different political positions,” the Karmapa observed, “diverse ways of holding cultural traditions, and a variety of religious traditions. On the one hand, these create a rich social fabric as well as fields for discussion and exchange of thought. However, it is a great mistake if we craft strategies and make plans based on our own particular ideas and for our own personal benefit. This will tear apart our social harmony.”
Speaking of Tibetan customs, the Karmapa commented, “From one perspective, many of our customs could be seen as faulty. However, I do not think it would be a good idea to toss away all the old customs. Tibetans are a bit different from other people. They have a close connection to their customs and traditional ways of doing things, which are in turn deeply related to the philosophy and practice of Buddhism. If we were to eliminate them all, we would be left without our precious jewel, our beautiful ornament, bereft of something we could show to others.”
“Previously we could not stand on our own two feet. Remembering this, we need to look at the culture we have inherited and treasure it. We should maintain it into the future while at the same time, staying in touch with our contemporary world and the discoveries of science. We should study what science has to say. On this basis, the Tibetan people’s heritage, for example the Dharma texts, can become more important and powerful than before. For this to happen, a mind imbued with Dharma and a stable sincerity are essential.”
The Karmapa then addressed another problem he saw in Tibetan society. “Sometimes the preoccupation with politics is too strong in our Tibetan world. People talk about it all the time. Instead, we should be discussing Dharma and our cultural and academic traditions. The Tibetans in Tibet have affection for one another, and you can find instances of true harmony between the three major cultural areas of Tibet. This is different from the situation of my youth when Eastern Tibetans were Eastern Tibetans and Central Tibetans were Central Tibetans and that was that. Tibetans in Tibet are starting to see that they are all the same, have the same flesh and blood and aspirations. They are not always talking and arguing about politics the way Tibetans in India do.”
The Karmapa then advised, “Whatever happens to us, we should face it directly. Up to now the Tibetans in Tibet have sustained their enthusiasm and not become discouraged. We should take them as a role model.” “The Tibetans who came in the beginning, he noted, “had a sincere, straightforward, and wholesome mind that was stable as well, but now people have become hypocritical and deceptive.”
The Karmapa cautioned, “At this critical stage in our history, we need to be very careful, especially since HH the Dalai Lama is moving up in his years, and the population of Tibetans in India is decreasing. Many want to go abroad. I’m told four or five thousand a year make the attempt, and though not all succeed, Tibetans have the aspiration to leave. On the other hand the number of people arriving from Tibet is decreasing.”
The Karmapa concluded with a summary of his advice and a warning. “Tibetans need to be unified in a firm and stable bond. We need to be skillful in maintaining the continuity of our Tibetan Dharma, culture, and society. And we need a stable mind that is permeated by the Dharma. Without this, it will be difficult for us in the future.”
At the end, the Karmapa ended with his congratulations to all those who completed their studies and a special greeting to Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche, who received his Uma Rabjampa degree.
May 05, 2017
Editorial by Narayani Ganesh
What we need to do now to improve our lifestyles and create a sustainable world, is to simply connect, says the Karmapa, OGYEN TRINLEY DORJE, to NARAYANI GANESH...
The ancients have always spoken of the web of life. In your book, ‘Interconnected’, are you presenting a different perspective?
■ In terms of the actual meaning there is no difference but this is a way of expressing an experiential perspective for today, to feel it experientially. So in actuality, there is no difference. We have been and will always be interconnected and so are interdependent.
You are saying, ‘See the connection, feel the connection and live the connection’. Sounds easy. What are the challenges in adopting this path?
■ We are not separate but we have the concept of the self or mind as ‘I’or ‘me’. Because of the idea of being an independent self, we feel a sense of separation and this is the biggest impediment — of there being an independent self.
How to overcome this feeling of separation?
■ Generally of course we are indeed individuals. But the independent individual creates problems for himself and difficulties for others, so we need to find a way to be an individual within interdependence. We need to understand that we are all connected. It is very important for us to figure out how to be both an individual and experience the interconnectedness at the same time.
What kind of freedom will allow you to follow this path — with or without responsibilities?
■ Many people are frightened of responsibility; they see it as something that takes away their freedom. But this is not correct. If you don’t have the capacity for compassion, then responsibility feels like a burden. But if you have compassion, then there is no burden; your responsibility is beautiful, like a jewel, like an ornament. Actually everyone has responsibilities and things to depend upon; we have to accept those responsibilities and if we are not able to accept the responsibilities or the fact that we are unable to do so creates many difficult situations in the world. We need to bear the responsibilities that we have. It is not frightening as many people think, if we are actually able to take the responsibility and see it as a quality. So embrace your responsibility; do not feel that your freedom is compromised.
You suggest that political leaders ought to take an empathy test before qualifying as candidates. Is this practical?
■ Many scientists talk about how empathy is hardwired into our brains and is naturally present. When they examine the brain, they can locate the signs of empathy in the brain. So they ought to be able to test people to see the level of empathy they have. These tests should be available some time in the future. In the past, this was not so; we had to look for external signs. We have to look for external expressions, the body language. We would have to observe someone for extended periods of time, their physical and verbal language, whether they are gentle and relaxed and in this way you may be able to see if they have compassion and are caring. But, in future, scientific tests may prove to be more accurate.
You also say that competition separates us; we should have shared aspirations. But without competition how can we improve/develop ourselves?
■ Generally we have a lot of competition these days. Mostly to do with technology! Take Apple and Samsung for instance. Competition is very evident in technology. One way of looking at this is that because of competition there is a lot of development. But we need to think, what do we mean when we talk of development and improvement? Do we mean technical development? What about peoples’ behaviour? Does that not need to be improved? It is certain that if we continue to operate from greed and see that as development, that is not sustainable. See the impact on environment, for instance.
Pratityasamutpada — the Buddhist doctrine of dependent arising or origination — how does this help us connect?
■ This is what we mean by interconnected, it is the same thing. When we talk about the Buddhist view on interdependence, primarily it is about the nature of things, but we should not stop there; we need to look at the nature of subjective experience as well. Otherwise it is difficult for people to develop interest in only the nature of things. The moment we extend this concept to subjective experience it becomes more interesting and more relevant.
Students learnt a lot from you during the interactions. But what did you learn from the students?
■ First, one way of looking at it is that they are in the middle of studying and so do not have much experience in facing problems in society. So they have a pure, pristine attitude in their mind. Then, at a general level, they have great concern about world affairs, human affairs, animals…so much care and concern that I also began to feel more care and concern!
When does one transcend all connections? When you attain nirvana?
■ It is difficult to talk about this, about going beyond interdependence. Because what we are talking about now is the interconnectedness. But there is a way of talking about how you can transcend interdependence. You can think of interdependence itself transcending interdependence.
You mean as loving detachment? Would you say one remains detached yet engaged?
■ Maybe! But let’s first see the connection, feel the connection and live the connection.
Talking With Students
Interconnected is the outcome of a series of teachings and discussions that the Karmapa had with a group of undergraduate students from the University of Redlands, a liberal arts university in California.
The student group led by Prof Karen Derris stayed in Dharamsala for three weeks of study, facilitated by Venerable Damcho Diana Finnegan. The book took shape under the guidance of the Karmapa, edited by Karen and Damcho.
The first such exchange with students happened in 2011, and the outcome was published in the first book, The Heart is Noble: Changing the World form the Inside Out. While this volume examined social, environmental and personal issues and how individuals can contribute in creating a compassionate, sustainable world, the second book, Interconnected takes a more focused look at how to live that reality in a sustained way.
If we take the fact of our sharing world as interdependent individuals as the starting point, how do we do that? The book is a sustained reflection and sustained argument about what kind of changes we need to do that are compatible with the interconnectedness that we are now becoming aware of.
United Kingdom Tour - 2017 (London Time)
|11:00 - 12:30||• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind|
|• Lunch Break|
|15:00 - 16:30||• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind|
|11:00 - 12:30||• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind|
|• Lunch Break|
|15:00 - 17:00||• Chenrezik Empowerment|
United Kingdom Tour - 2017 (Indian Time)
|15:30 - 17:00||• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind|
|• Lunch Break|
|19:30 - 21:00||• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind|
|15:30 - 17:00||• Public teaching: 8 Verses of Training the Mind|
|• Lunch Break|
|19:30 - 21:30||• Chenrezik Empowerment|
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