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- 05/23/17--01:18: _Sikkim urges visiti...
- 05/21/17--04:19: _Compassion and Empt...
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- 05/23/17--20:35: _Govt set to lift tr...
- 05/23/17--06:30: _Seeing from the Per...
- 05/24/17--08:01: _Tibetans Look To In...
- 05/24/17--21:12: _Indian Govt. to lif...
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- 05/24/17--22:52: _The Gyalwang Karmap...
- 05/27/17--05:03: _The Karmapa Visits ...
- 05/29/17--05:51: _His Holiness the 17...
- 05/20/17--20:00: The Challenges of Practice
- 05/22/17--21:14: “Karmapa: 900 Years” online e-Book
- 05/21/17--04:19: Compassion and Emptiness are the Keys
- 05/21/17--09:56: The 17th Karmapa’s Heart Advice to Kagyu Samye Ling and Samye Dzong
- 05/23/17--08:30: Karmapa’s travel curbs to go - The Hindu
- 05/23/17--08:41: RFA: His Holiness addresses an audience of Tibetans in London
- 05/23/17--06:30: Seeing from the Perspective of the World Around Us
- 05/24/17--21:12: Indian Govt. to lift Karmapa’s travel restrictions - Phayul
- 05/23/17--03:55: 17th Karmapa’s Latest Book Interconnected Launched in the UK
- 05/23/17--23:30: Sentience and welfare: The convergence of Dharma and science
- 05/24/17--08:01: The Spirit of Protecting the Environment
- 05/24/17--22:52: The Gyalwang Karmapa Visits a Hindu Heartland in London
- 05/27/17--05:03: The Karmapa Visits the World of Nepal in England
By Craig Lewis
Buddhistdoor Global | 2017-05-22
|His Holiness the Karmapa gave a three-part teaching on the “Eight Verses for Training the Mind,” in London’s Battersea Park over the weekend. Photo by Olivier Adam.|
LONDON—His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje arrived in London last week, marking his first ever visit to the United Kingdom. He was warmly welcomed by throngs of devotees and well-wishers, including senior rinpoches resident in the UK, some 37 years after the last visit by the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924–81), who was instrumental in enabling the transmission of Vajrayana Buddhism to the West.
Following his safe arrival on 17 May, public events during the Karmapa’s historic 11-day visit have included a three-part teaching on the “Eight Verses for Training the Mind,” the famous lojong text by Geshe Langri Tangpa (1054–1123), in London’s Battersea Park on 20–21 May, followed by a Chenrezig Empowerment. On 27 May, His Holiness is scheduled to give a Long Life Empowerment in Surrey.
“To begin with, I would like to express my great delight at this opportunity that has come to pass for me to visit London, the capital of the United Kingdom, for the first time,” His Holiness said during his opening address in Battersea Park on Saturday, following a heartfelt introduction by Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, the head of Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland—the first Tibetan Buddhist center in the West.
“Especially, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to all you friends who are gathered here. I have been waiting for a long time to visit the United Kingdom, and now that opportunity has finally arisen and I’m so happy about this,” he continued. “Even though it’s my first visit, still the time allotted for this visit is very short. However, I consider this to be merely the beginning. I think of this opportunity of this short initial visit as a gateway so that I will be able to come again and again in the future.
“Lama Yeshe, in his introduction, mentioned the activities of the great Akong Rinpoche [1939–2013] and in accordance with what he said, for the longest time—while I was waiting and hoping to be able to visit London—I always thought to myself, ‘when I get to London I will see Akong Rinpoche there.’ But of course, now that I have had the opportunity to come here, I wasn’t able to meet with him when I arrived. There is certainly a sadness to this, but nevertheless Lama Yeshe and others are continuing to faithfully uphold the vision and enlightened activities of Akong Rinpoche, and this is very heartening. Furthermore, I am confident that in the future I will be able to visit the very important seat that is Samye Ling.”
The Karmapa then proceeded with his explanation of the lojong mind-training principals contained within the “Eight Verses for Training the Mind.”
His Holiness’ activities in the UK have also included tours of the British Museum, where he viewed highlights of the museum’s renowned collection, including Buddhist artefacts from China, India, and Tibet, and the British library, home to collections of texts from Dunhuang and rare Tibetan and South Asian Buddhist manuscripts, including the 16th Karmapa’s edition of the Derge Kangyur and Tengyur.
After concluding his affairs in the UK, His Holiness will embark on his first visit to Canada from 29 May, beginning in Toronto, before traveling to Calgary, and then on to Vancouver in mid-June. Public events scheduled for this visit include numerous teachings and empowerments, among them “Mindfulness and Environmental Responsibility” on 31 May, a Manjushri Empowerment on 3 June, a panel discussion on the environment and social inequality on 21 June, and an Akshobhya Teaching and Empowerment from 23–24 June.
The Karmapa has previously visited the US on two occasions, in 2008 and 2011, and has made three official visits to Europe, the most recent of which took place in 2016. In 2010, the Karmapa founded the Karmapa Foundation Europe, headquartered in Brussels, to serve as his representative in Europe. The 16th Gyalwang Karmapa visited the UK and Canada twice, in 1974 and 1977 as part of larger tours of Western cities, visiting Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland on both occasions. His final private visit to the UK was in 1980.
|His Holiness views Tibetan manuscripts at the British Library. From kagyuoffice.org|
The Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest lineage of the Kagyu, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the others being Gelug, Nyingma, and Sakya. The institution of the Karmapa is the oldest tulku lineage in Tibetan Buddhism, predating the Dalai Lama lineage by more than two decades. His Holiness was born in 1985 in the Lhathok region of Kham in eastern Tibet and received his initial education at Tsurphu Monastery. In January 2000, at the age of 14, he fled to India and currently resides near Dharamsala.
We could encounter similar situations with other people, the Karmapa remarked, even with a teacher, who is not a completely bad person—we cannot say they have no Dharma or that we cannot learn from them—but they may have issues with their personalities. Marpa, for example, had a rough temperament from a young age. His father was worried about him, afraid that he might kill someone or be killed himself. And if we were honest, we would have to say that we would not have been able to tolerate the kind of treatment he gave Milarepa. In our lives we must learn to put up with a variety of character traits and behavior.
The second type of individual we should cherish is one involved in severe misdeeds; for example, someone who has killed many people with explosives. These days, we see violence in many places on our planet. If we look closely at the perpetrators, we can see the anger, malicious intent, and jealousy that fill their mind. They are not in control of themselves but lost to their negative emotions. For this reason, the verse encourages us to cherish them as objects of our compassion.
“The final category of individuals,” the Karmapa explained, “are those are weighed down by extreme forms of suffering, facing painful situations or serious illnesses. Our normal reaction upon seeing them is to disassociate; our minds want to avoid bearing witness to such misery, since it is so difficult to bear. We do not know what to see or do, so we avoid contact. This kind of deep suffering can happen to people in our own family as well. On the one hand, we feel great compassion and closeness to the sick family member, and on the other hand, we feel powerless because the suffering is so severe. We do not know what to think or do so instead of being compassionate, our mind tries to escape their suffering.”
“Main point,” His Holiness summarized,” is that on the path of the bodhisattva when we are helping others, we will connect with a wide variety of people. Encountering any of these three types, we might try to steer clear of them. Without habit of training already in place, it will be difficult to connect with them and squarely face their situation.”
The Karmapa described this avoidance in terms of our experience. “Training in compassion is about shortening the distance we feel between ourselves as the one in a good situation who has compassion and others in a bad situation who are the objects of our compassion. Fully accepting our involvement with people, we rely on the feeling that the two, subject with compassion and object of it, are not separate or different. In fact, when we engender true compassion, we are able to transfer ourselves into the situation of the one for whom we feel compassion and can fully accept their suffering.
If we do not train in this way, then imprisoned in a self-centered mind, we will find excuses not to relate intimately with these three types of people, thinking ‘They will make me feel uncomfortable. I’ll get upset. I just don’t want to face this.’” However, if we analyze these excuses, we will see that they are not authentic reasons to shy away from the misery others experience. Training in compassion helps to diminish the distance we create between ourselves and others.”
“This practice is challenging,” the Karmapa remarked. “Usually when others scold or insult us, we cannot take the blame they heap on us. They point a finger at us and we point a finger elsewhere. We find it difficult to accept that something was really our fault or due to a flaw within us. We become so overwhelmed by an emotional reaction that we are unable to turn our attention inward, and so we look outward, shifting the blame to others.”
The Karmapa continued, “To counteract our evasions, we practice taking defeat upon ourselves and giving victory to others—a famous piece of advice often found in the oral instructions of the Kadampa.” He also warned that this counsel could be misused. The words are heard so often that people can repeat them without thinking. For example, if we simply allow ourselves to be defeated in every situation and think that this is mind training, we would be mistaken in taking the meaning on too literal a level.
“The true intent behind this instruction to give victory to others and take defeat upon ourselves,” the Karmapa explained. “It is not to follow a certain type of behavior; rather, the deeper intent is to direct our attention inward, whenever we are blamed for something even if we have not done anything wrong. The usual reaction is to become angry but the instruction here is to relax and direct our attention inward. Looking carefully at our inner state of mind allows us to respond from a more relaxed place.”
Actually, it is our habit of being self-centered that should take the loss, as the intent of the practice is to reduce our clinging to a self that we take to be real. “If we examine our mind,” the Karmapa instructed, “and find a strong habit of fixation on ourselves, this is the very state of mind we want to pacify or loosen up through mind training. It is our habits of self-centeredness we wish to defeat.”
This verse is easy to understand and difficult to practice, the Karmapa noted. “If we have helped someone and expected something in return but they turned on us instead, it would wound us deeply, leaving a mark in our mind. This verse offers a training to prepare us for such suffering. It is not easy to get reality to align with our hopes. There are many times in our lives when what is happening is not living up to our expectations.” The Karmapa offered examples from his life when his expectations were thwarted. At the age of seven, he was told that he was the Karmapa, and he thought that it meant that he would have many toys and playmates. Then when he came to India, he thought he would have the freedom to travel. In both instances, reality did not match his expectations. The Karmapa stated, “If things had gone according to my hopes, this visit to England would have not been the first but preceded by many others.”
“These days,” the Karmapa shared, “I do not have many expectations. I do as much as I can to love others and benefit them. People can remember that there is someone who loves them and take courage from that.” He added, “Even if I cannot benefit others on a grand scale, I still have this heart, this attitude filled with love for others and the wish to help them. For me personally, this is enough and allows me to continue taking steps forward.”
(TibetanReview.net, May 22, 2017) – In only the latest of a long series of moves to bring the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to his exile seat monastery of Rumtek, a delegation of monks from monasteries across Sikkim have met India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh to seek an early permission for him to visit the state. The monks called on Singh on May 20 during his two-day visit to the state, reported India’s PTI news agency May 20.
The report said the delegation submitted a resolution taken after a peace rally in Gangtok on May 18, urging the Government of India to grant one of the “most important demand and aspiration” of the Buddhists of Sikkim, seeking early permission for the Karmapa to visit the state. The Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism.
The report said the delegation was led by the Sangha MLA Sonam Kelyon Lama, the elected political representative of the monks in the state’s Legislative Assembly.
The report said a central government order in 1994 imposed a ban on the entry of all the three claimants to the Karmapa seat at Rumtek monastery in East Sikkim since 1994. Ogyen Trinley Dorje is endorsed by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and obviously enjoys overwhelming support among the state’s Buddhist population.
The government of Sikkim has written and passed resolutions over the years, requesting New Delhi to allow the now 31-year-old Ogyen Trinley to visit Rumtek to be enthroned there as the 17th Karmapa.
Ogyen Trinley was born in Tibet, lived in Tsurphu Monastery, the traditional seat of the Karmapa’s located in the outskirts of Tibet’s capital Lhasa, and escaped to India through Nepal in Dec 1999 at the age of 14, citing lack of religious freedom. He reached Dharamshala on Jan 5, 2000 and has lived there ever since.
Battersea Evolution, London, England – Afternoon, May 21, 2017
Continuing with his explanation of the Geshe Langri Tangpa’s Eight Verses of Mind Training, the Karmapa turned to the seventh verse, which teaches the practice of tonglen, sending and receiving.
Originally, the Karmapa noted, these teachings were kept as a secret oral instruction and given only to those who had prepared themselves as a suitable vessel for them. They were also secret in another way. The practice entails taking on the injuries and suffering of others while sending them all of our benefits and happiness. We regard others’ welfare as more important than our own and come to see that actually, benefitting them is the best way to benefit ourselves. In doing this, we should be free of expecting anything in return and so we help others secretly.
It would be difficult to practice tonglen on a physical level, the Karmapa commented, though there are some masters who have done so and there is even the legend of a statue in a monastery that took on a disease rampaging in the local area and evidenced the lumps on its surface typical of the illness. “In general, however, it would be extremely difficult,” the Karmapa remarked, “to bear physically in a single body the suffering of all living beings. And so we mainly use tonglen as a method to work with our minds, training them to become so courageous that we do not become discouraged or rigid and can fearlessly meet others’ suffering. Through this, our compassion and patience increase and our minds open up.”
The final verse of the eight speaks of emptiness:
“Free from concretizing the eight worldly concerns, we train our mind in the illusion-like outlook that sees things as not real,” the Karmapa explained. “This does not mean, however, a blank voidness. Emptiness is basic space, an open source whence everything comes. It is the wellspring of all new opportunities, the opposite of our fixations that block something new from arising.” He continued, “Usually we impose our concepts on what we experience, following after our own projections, and this prevents new things from happening, so we let these illusions fade away. Through recognizing emptiness, we return to the original state of our mind.” Phrasing it differently, the Karmapa stated, “When we follow after our routine thoughts and old habits, it is difficult for fresh intelligence to take birth. Understanding emptiness helps us to let go of ego-fixation that reifies our experience; it allows us to return to freshness, to the very basis of who we are.”
On this positive note, the Karmapa completed his explanation of the Eight Verses with a final piece of advice: “Instructions on mind training are given in a few words with deep meaning. The instructions we have explored together this weekend can become a valuable support for our meditation, since they contain all the essential points of practice. They will be especially helpful if we can memorize the verses and apply them to our mind on a daily basis. In this way I am confident that these teachings will be beneficial.”
In the second part of the afternoon, the Karmapa gave an empowerment of Chenresik, who embodies the compassion of all the buddhas. This initiation was especially appropriate in the context of teaching tonglen, which develops our love and compassion for others. Earlier the Karmapa had explained, “Chenresik is one of four special deities in the Kadampa tradition. He arises in the form of great compassion, indispensable for developing bodhichitta.”
After he had performed the initial stages of the empowerment, His Holiness was offered the supports of body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities by Chime Rinpoche, Ato Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, and Lama Tenpa. Afterward, the Karmapa mentioned again how important a bodhisattva Chenresik (Avalokiteshvara) is and paired him with Jampelyang (Manjushri) who embodies wisdom. Both are key to the practices of the Mahayana. After the initiation, the offering of thanksgiving was led by the three women, who have done such a wonderful job in organizing the visit to England: Joanna Hollingbery, Chloe Roberts, and Claire Pullinger.
After completing the empowerment, the Karmapa gave a scriptural transmission for the practice of Chenresik known as the All-Pervading Benefit for Beings as well as the transmission for the short preliminary practice he composed. He expressed his delight in being to come to England’s capital and to be in the presence of Chime Rinpoche and Ato Rinpoche, elder lamas now who were disciples of the 16th Karmapa and who have waited a long time for him to come.
The Karmapa also stated clearly his hope of visiting Samye Ling in the near future. He explained, “I always had it in mind that I would meet Akong Rinpoche here and it makes me sad that this did not happen.” Nevertheless, the Karmapa said he was very glad to be with senior representatives of his lineage as well as the Sangha from Samye Ling and other countries. “There are friends I know from before and having everyone here together is like a family gathering. All of you have come and given your time to be here, which gives me great joy. I would like to thank everyone for this.”
Finally the Karmapa spoke briefly of Akong Rinpoche’s reincarnation, as several of his disciples had been requesting His Holiness to recognize him. His Holiness explained, “When I was in Tibet, I recognized some 30 to 40 reincarnate lamas but since I have come to India, the number has dwindled. Nevertheless, I have recognized Bokar Rinpoche and then Tenga Rinpoche, so at this recent pace it has been one recognition per year. This makes other people more assertive, ‘You must recognize our reincarnation.’ But let’s take it easy and see. Akong Rinpoche’s disciples should continue fulfilling his wishes and his vision for enlightened activity and then the enlightened intention of the guru will be fulfilled.” With this vision of the return of the precious guru, the Karmapa concluded his weekend of teachings.
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Kagyu Samye Dzong, London, England – May 22, 2017
As the Karmapa’s car drew to a halt in the street outside Kagyu Samye Dzong Tibetan Buddhist Centre, the combined Samye Ling and Samye Dzong Sangha greeted him in traditional Tibetan style. Long horns resounded, accompanied by gyalings, drums and cymbals. A monk held the great golden umbrella, which signifies kingship, above the Karmapa’s head as he strode up the steps into the centre. His Holiness was preceded by Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, head of the Samye Ling organisation, and escorted by a Golden Procession of monks and nuns, most in their special Kagyu ceremonial hats and a few wearing the yellow pointed ones. Some carried incense, some blew conches, some played Tibetan trumpets, and some held Buddhist flags and victory banners aloft. Inside the center a group of invited guests offered katas. The Karmapa beamed and waved at everyone before making his way up the central staircase to his private quarters where he took lunch and had chance to talk with Lama Yeshe Losal.
Kagyu Samye Dzong is a branch of Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland. The latter was founded in 1967 by two Kagyu masters, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche. As the first ever Tibetan Buddhist center to be established in the West, it took its name after Samye, the first monastery to be established in Tibet. The two Rinpoches were heart disciples of the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, who took a great interest in its development. Not only did he visit twice, performing the Vajra Crown ceremony and giving empowerments and teachings, but he also assured Akong Rinpoche of the long- term future of Buddhism in the West in general and at Samye Ling specifically. When Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche left for the USA in 1970, Akong Rinpoche continued the project, and it expanded to include a network of branch monasteries in the UK, Europe, and South Africa under the Samye Dzong organisation.
Kagyu Samye Dzong London was founded in 1998 but it was only in 2009 that it was finally able to move to a permanent home in a grand Victorian building, which was originally the Bermondsey public library situated in Spa Road, Southwark. After some refurbishment, the centre opened in 2010.
2017 is the year in which Samye Ling is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary and this has coincided auspiciously with the 17th Karmapa’s first visit to London. Thus today’s event at Kagyu Samye Dzong London was a triple celebration: the Karmapa’s return to the UK, his first ever visit to a Karma Kagyu centre in the UK, and the fiftieth anniversary of Samye Ling. Weeks of preparation and hard work by the combined Sangha and lay communities of Samye Ling and Samye Dzong came to fruition in this short visit.
In the early afternoon, the Karmapa came down to the main shrine room to be officially welcomed by 35 members of the Samye Ling and Samye Dzong Sangha and an audience of 150 guests, representing the worldwide Samye Dzong community.
In a short speech, full of tongue-in-cheek humour, His Holiness once more expressed his delight at being in London and this time especially being able to visit the Kagyu Samye Dzong Centre, “with Lama Yeshe and the boss Lama Zangmo.” He reassured everyone that his visit to Samye Dzong London was a visit to Samye Ling by proxy.
He thanked Samye Ling particularly for preparing the stage so well at the Battersea Evolution. The Karmapa then reflected on the greatness of Akong Rinpoche and his tireless work on behalf of the Tibetan people both inside and outside Tibet. He had built and maintained monasteries, hospitals, orphanages, and schools along with other resources for the Tibetans. Since his tragic death, the great loss to Tibetans had become evident. However, His Holiness continued, he had been encouraged to see the efforts of Lama Yeshe Losal and members of the Samye Ling and Samye Dzong communities to continue the enlightened activities of Akong Rinpoche and propagate his vision. It was the Karmapa’s heartfelt prayer that Lama Yeshe Losal would live long. With regards to finding Akong Rinpoche’s reincarnation, the Karmapa advised that this should be done very discreetly in the early stages to avoid any obstacles.
On the purpose of Samye Ling, His Holiness reflected how it was born from the vision of the 16th Karmapa. Rangjung Rigpe Dorje established Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in North America and Samye Ling in the United Kingdom with the aim of creating places where monastic culture could develop in the West. The 17th Karmapa emphasised that it was important for the monastic sangha to continue to exist as a practice environment. However, with changing times and new cultural norms, traditional forms of monasticism could be reconsidered. For example, he suggested, it might be more appropriate for these time to adopt the Theravada model, in which people can commit themselves to becoming a monk or nun for a limited amount of time. Then after some years, they could take lifetime vows if they wished.
Finally, he shared the good news that he had been given a two-year visa to the UK and hoped that he would be able to return again soon. In the short time of his visit, the Karmapa had strengthened the hearts of a community that still felt the tragic loss of its spiritual guide, made them laugh, reinforced the direction they had taken, and given them hope that he and Akong Rinpoche would both return.
NEW DELHI, MAY 23, 2017
Centre may allow him to visit any place, except Sikkim, without seeking its nod
Urgyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, may be allowed to visit any place in the country, except Sikkim, without seeking the government’s permission. The Home Ministry has moved the proposal before the Cabinet Committee on Security, a senior government official said here on Tuesday.
The move assumes significance in the wake of China’s repeated warnings over the recent Northeast visit of the Dalai Lama, who Beijing describes as a “separatist” for spearheading the Tibetan freedom movement.
Though the Dalai Lama has endorsed Urgyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa, it does not necessarily mean that the latter succeeds him, said Amitabh Mathur, Adviser to the Home Ministry on Northeast subjects, including Tibetan affairs.
“But that doesn’t mean he is seen as his successor. That will depend on how Tibetans see him and whether they will look up to him for spiritual guidance. People tend to overlook other spiritual leaders like the 41st Sakya Trinzin and Drikung Rinpoche, who, like the Karmapa, command respect cutting across sectarian lines,” Mr. Mathur told The Hindu.
Soon after the NDA government came to power, the Cabinet Committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, eased restrictions on Karmapa to travel abroad and allowed him to visit Arunachal Pradesh last year.
The Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism and is based in Dharamsala, his temporal home. He escaped from Tibet in 2000.
“All this while, the Karmapa had to wait for the Home Ministry’s clearance to travel in India. After the Cabinet Committee on Security clears the proposal, all he will have to do is to inform the Home Ministry about his travels. Except Sikkim, he can travel anywhere,” a Ministry official said.
Ban at monastery
The entry of all three Karmapa claimants has been banned at the Rumtek monastery in East Sikkim since 1994, following objections by some prominent teachers of the Kagyu school to recognising Dorje as the 17th Karmapa.
In 2011, the police had recovered ₹1.2 crore of unaccounted-for foreign currency, including Chinese ones, from Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery in Dharamsala.
The police registered a case against the Karmapa and the then government put more restrictions on his travel.
Government agencies had for long suspected that the Karmapa was a “Chinese spy”, but a decision was recently taken to review the restrictions on his travel in an attempt to “engage” him.
Written by Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi | Published:May 24, 2017 2:26 am
The government is set to lift the travel restrictions imposed on Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. The Home Ministry has proposed to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) that the Karmapa be allowed to travel to any part of the country, except Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, without seeking prior permission from New Delhi.
Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu (Black Hat) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, was born in Tibet and escaped to India through Nepal at the age of 14. He reached McLeod Ganj, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, in 2000. He lives in Dharamshala and is recognised by the Dalai Lama.
Government agencies had for long suspected that the Karmapa was a “Chinese spy”, but a decision was recently taken to review the restrictions on his travel in an attempt to “engage” him. In 2000, a central government order passed by the CCS had banned the Karmapa’s travel to Rumtek monastery in East Sikkim and other areas of strategic importance like Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh without permission. In November last year, the government, through a CCS decision, allowed him to travel to Arunachal Pradesh.
May 23, 2017 – The Royal Asiatic Society, London, England
Today the Gyalwang Karmapa came to the famous Royal Asiatic Society to speak about the environment with long-term, core members of the Tibet Society, the world’s first ever Tibetan support group. The Chair, Fredrick Hyde-Chambers OBE, delineated the history of UK and Tibetan relations and the Society’s current activities to support the Tibetan cause. President of the Society, Rt Hon Norman Baker, welcomed the Karmapa with a quote from his book, The Heart is Noble: “To protect the environment is a way to care for all sentient beings.”
The Karmapa then addressed the group, explaining that he had started the organization known as Khoryug to support the protection of the environment in the Himalayan region and to educate monks and nuns so that they could share this crucial information with the communities surrounding them. He stated that the issue of the Tibetan environment transcends politics and deeply affects all the countries around Tibet as well since it is the source of water for millions of people. Tibet is known not only as the Roof of the World but also as the Water Tower of Asia. The Karmapa expressed the hope that more people would become aware of this and pay attention to what is happening in the Tibetan region.
“When it comes to protecting the environment of Tibet,” the Karmapa remarked, “one of the best sources to consult is the Tibetan people themselves, as they have related to it for thousands of years. Knowing it inside and out, they naturally understand how to create a sustainable environment. Their whole hearts and minds are invested there. The Tibetans’ traditional approach to the environment sees it as a sacred field inhabited by gods and spirits. Their outlook has great sincerity and respect for their natural world.”
“These days, however, technological and material advancement have also brought along a degradation of these ancient values of how to relate to the environment,” the Karmapa deplored. “External material improvement has weakened the protection of the environment; for example, there are more dams on the rivers and increased mining of the land. Some places, considered sacred sites, have been opened up to exploitation. This has been harmful to the environment and also harmful to the faith and devotion practiced for so long by the Tibetans.”
During a question and answer period after his talk, the Karmapa was asked, “How can China be convinced not to exploit the environment?” He replied that large numbers of Chinese youth are studying abroad and are seeing a larger world picture. This can give us hope. He also mentioned dialoguing with scientists, and then summarized, “The main change has to happen in China itself. We have tried before to influence things from the outside, but have not been very successful. The key is sharing information among scientists or, in a more political realm, sharing information about the environment and engaging in discussions about that.”
The next questioner asked, “Is the future of Tibetan Buddhism outside Tibet?” The Karmapa responded through an analogy: “Tibet is the root and therefore important. If the root is not good, the branches will have a difficult time. For Tibetan Buddhism to spread over the world, it is important that the root remain strong in Tibet.” He also noticed that foreigners’ interest in study is greater than their interest in practice, whereas in Tibet and China, the situation is reversed and practice is more important.
A third person queried, “Are there teachings in Tibetan Buddhism about protecting the environment?” The Karmapa answered, “In the training in the conduct for a bodhisattva, there are instructions for the practitioner to aspire to become like the four elements and to reflect on how much benefit they bring: ‘As the four elements provide benefits and sustenance for living beings, in a similar way, may I become a benefit to others.’ This practice will increase our empathy toward others as well.” The Karmapa also taught that it is important to see the natural would around us not as an object but as a subject, so we experience the natural world from a first person perspective. This allows us to see how living beings and the environment are reflections of each other.
At the end of the Karmapa’s talk, Tsering Tashi, the Vice-Chair of Tibet Society, gave thanks to the Karmapa and offered him a gift. The audience was invited to the third floor of the Royal Asiatic Society where copious refreshments awaited and members were also were able to meet with the Karmapa.
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17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje is the head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.
|17th Karmapa said India has been kind in extremely important ways to the Tibetan people.|
LONDON: Tibetans look to India with great hope, 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje today said as he praised the country for giving Tibetans a home and protection.
The 31-year-old Karmapa, who is recognised by the Dalai Lama, arrived at the McLeod Ganj headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile in 2000 and now lives in Dharamshala.
The head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, who had dramatically escaped to India through Nepal at the age of 14, is here for the launch of his book 'Interconnected'.
"India has been kind in extremely important ways to the Tibetan people, offering us protection and a home. Tibetans look to India with great hope, and we are grateful for all the care we have received," the Tibetan Buddhism's third-highest spiritual leader told PTI.
His book, released in New Delhi in April, is described as an attempt at understanding the current trend towards isolationism, offering a path towards a more compassionate society in a dangerous era of "post-truth" and polarising conflict.
"This compelling and wise book serves as a roadmap for creating a more compassionate global society - starting with oneself," a statement by his publishers said.
He founded Khoryug, an eco-monastic movement which has mobilised 55 Buddhist monasteries and nunneries across the Himalayan region.
"His current initiative to grant full ordination to nuns in his lineage is a ground-breaking first step toward creating equal spiritual opportunities for women in Tibetan Buddhism," a statement said.
The Karmapa, an artist, poet and composer, has also created a new theatrical form that combined Tibetan opera with modern theatre.
Many of his poems have been set to music, and he has been working to revive the performance of the sacred "doha" songs associated with the Buddhist lineage he heads.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
[Wednesday, May 24, 2017 23:16]
By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, MAY 24: In a positive development for the Tibetan religious figure 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, the Indian government is reportedly set to lift the travel restrictions currently in place.
The Home Ministry has proposed to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) that the Karmapa be allowed to travel to any part of the country, except Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, without seeking prior permission from New Delhi. The CCS chaired by PM Modi is a core committee on National Security with the MoD and the MEA among other significant panels, which offer directives on the Karmapa’s security and movement among other things.
The move in question has received a shot in the arm earlier this week when a delegation of monks from various monasteries in Sikkim met with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh urging permission for the Seventeenth Karmapa to visit Sikkim.
The delegation led by the Sangha MLA Sonam Kelyon Lama, who is the elected political representative of the monks in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, submitted a resolution surmising the peace rally that took place on May 18 there. The collective urged the Government of India to grant early permission for the Karmapa to visit their state.
Many say that the Karmapa’s visit to the volatile Tawang region in December last year signaled a change in the air. The young Tibetan lama concluded his historic maiden visit to Arunachal Pradesh with rousing receptions from the people as well as the state government. He was accompanied by CM Pema Khandu, Union Minister Kirren Rijiju and MHA advisor Amitabh Mathur, despite censure from China.
The Karmapa is one of the most prominent figures in Tibetan Buddhism. He is the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage and was recognized by the Dalai Lama as the 17th Karmapa. He escaped into exile in 2000 and currently resides at the Gyuto Monastery in Dharamshala.
Rumtek Monastery, also called Dharmachakra Centre in Sikkim, is considered as main seat of Karma Kagyu lineage and is also the focal point of tension between two organizations, Tsurphu Labrang supporting Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Karmapa Charitable Trust (supporting Thaye Dorje,who has recently married his childhood friend).
The Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee is currently on a tour in UK.
May 23, 2017 – Watkins Books, London, England
At the conclusion of another very busy day in London, the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrived in the late afternoon at Watkins Books to attend the UK launch of his most recent book, Interconnected: Embracing Life in our Global Society.
The book is the second in a series based on exchanges between the Karmapa and young people and deals with topics, such as the way electronic connectivity is transforming the way we relate, loneliness, consumer culture, animal protection, and environmental sustainability. At a time when many factors work to polarize society, the book explores ways to build a global society based on our interconnectedness and our commonality as sentient beings. In the book, the Karmapa argues that though global economic integration and information technology are making our interdependence increasingly direct and undeniable, we also need to progress from this intellectual understanding into an deeply felt awareness of our interconnectedness. It is only then will we be able to transform both ourselves and the society we live in by encompassing the values of compassion, responsibility, equality, and respect for diversity. As the book states: “When our understanding of interdependence has moved from head to heart and into action, our lives become fully effective and meaningful.”
Located off Charing Cross Road, in the heart of London’s world-renowned district of booksellers, Watkins Books, the venue for today’s book launch, was established in 1893 with the specific aim of making the wisdom of the East available to the general reader. More than 120 years later, it continues to specialize in books from all spiritual traditions. The current owner, Etan Illfeld, welcomed the Karmapa warmly to the bookshop and spoke briefly about its purpose and history. His Holiness then invited questions from the audience.
The first questioner asked for advice on talking about the nature of mind to Westerners.
“It could happen that when we are speak of the nature of mind, we give an apparently clear explanation, but it carries the flaw of causing people to have more thoughts and not truly discover the nature of their mind. It is important that we are aware of the many kinds of thoughts and old habits within our mind.”
The Karmapa continued, “The main point here is that we use our mind to observe our mind. This process starts when we loosen our habit of imposing our assumptions and projecting our thoughts. This will allow our mind to return to its empty nature. When this becomes possible, we will create space for a new intelligence to arise, and we can discover who we truly are.
The second question concerned morality and going beyond it.
The Karmapa emphasised the role of ethical discipline in the initial stages of the path to spiritual awakening. Since a Buddhist practitioner needs to follow the stages of the path, in the beginning it is paramount to practise what is to be adopted and what is to be abandoned. As we progress, we come to see that previously, we had clung to the true existence of things to be taken and given up. When we come closer to the true nature, the mind becomes freer of content about what to adopt and reject.
The realization that true reality is not some kind of form we can grasp is difficult to achieve, and we must be careful not to remain at the level of an intellectual understanding. From the perspective of ultimate truth, the phenomena of relative truth do not exist; however, we have not yet embodied that ultimate reality, so we must place a greater emphasis on relative truth.
Moving on, the next question was: How do we relate to the teachings in a way that is genuine, and not treat them as one more thing for our ego to consume?
His Holiness acknowledged that the information age was having a profound effect on spirituality. Information on different spiritual traditions is readily available over the Internet, encouraging a consumerist view of religions, and the abundance of information could lead to confusion. The main point of true spiritual practice is to learn about our own mind, he explained, and one of the things we learn is the ability to focus our mind so that it is not carried away by attending to things outside. Since mind is able to hold its own ground, we gain more focus and control over ourselves. A true spiritual path is about finding who or what we are by turning our attention inward. To do this, we must be able to stick with the fundamental question, the mother of them all: Who or what am I? Our entire attention is placed here.
The following question observed that interconnectedness could be used negatively as well as positively and asked how to counter its negative use. His Holiness replied that those who use interconnectedness negatively had not understood correctly: “The true meaning of the principle of interconnectedness is that we are a part of others and others are a part of us. Through that general understanding, we assume more responsibility for others, which is not felt as a burden but an encouragement, because it is rooted in compassion.”
Someone asked the Karmapa how he accessed memories of his previous lives. His Holiness answered directly: “I don’t have any particular memories of previous lifetimes. People expect me to have them, but it is closer to the truth to say that I have had to work very hard to be what people expect me to be. I regard this role as an opportunity I have been given to do the best that I can to help others. ”
In response to a question on conflicting loyalties, the Karmapa said that such conflicts were usual in samsara, a normal part of cyclic existence, and advised us to use our own intelligence and discernment to see if these loyalties are based on emotions or reason. The Karmapa mentioned a slogan from mind training, which is carries a similar meaning: “Of the two witnesses, hold to he principal one.” It means at the end of the day, you have to trust your own observation of a situation, and not just reply on emotions or others’ opinions.
The final question echoed the sombre mood affecting everyone after the terrorist attack in Manchester the previous evening. It seemed, the questioner said, as if the world was about to enter a period of intense suffering. The question was how best to deal with it.
The Karmapa reflected a moment before responding. It was possible, he agreed, that the world was entering into a period of increasing suffering. Though people had expected our situation would improve with scientific and material advancement, it could also become more disastrous. In addition, there were many conflicts centred on religion or ethnicity. “We must not allow our minds to be swayed by external factors,” he counselled. “However much darkness there is in the world, we can see ourselves as a source of light.” With that message of hope and responsibility, the session concluded.
May 24, 2017 – St Catharine’s and King’s College, Cambridge, England
Today His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa left London and travelled north to Cambridge, a city whose name has become almost synonymous with its world-famous university. The Karmapa’s visit to Cambridge was hosted by the International Buddhist Confederation’s Secretary for Environment and Conservation, Dr Barbara Maas.
His Holiness’s day in Cambridge began with an academic seminar on animal sentience and animal welfare science, and their significance for our relationship with and treatment of animals. Veterinarians turned animal welfare scientists, Dr Murray Corke and Peter Fordyce from the University’s Department of Veterinary Medicine, provided His Holiness with background about the complexities of assessing the wellbeing of animals and introduced him to some of the latest research developments that have transformed our understanding of animal awareness and suffering. These include a wide range of behavioural and physiological measures, which can be used to assess animal welfare.
His Holiness agreed with Dr Fordyce and Dr Murray that our attitude towards animals not only depends on the use we make of them—be it as farm, companion, laboratory or wild animals—but also varies widely between different cultures and geographical regions, and it is irrespective of the objective experience of the animals themselves. Self-centredness and failure to understand the consequences of human actions is at the very heart of the problem.
“Much of the terrible suffering endured by animals at our hands is caused by ignorance. It is therefore very important that we tell people about the depth of their awareness and their capacity to feel pain and fear, so that we can improve their lives and avoid violence towards them,” His Holiness said.
More than 1070 million animals, including cows, pigs, turkeys, geese, and chickens were killed in the UK for their meat in 2016 alone, highlighting the ethical questions raised for the process of meat production from rearing to slaughter. But even much loved companion animals can suffer greatly as a result of selective breeding or mutilation to enhance specific traits—as for example with some dog breeds—or inappropriate care. The latter is particularly relevant for the growing fashion and demand in exotic pets such as lizards and snakes, which not only harms individuals but whole populations and species in the wild. Seventy percent of snakes, lizards, tortoises and almost all of the 40 million fish imported into the UK every year die within a year. Compassionate ways to deal with feral or stray dog and cat populations through humane catch, neuter and release programmes were also identified as a priority.
The seminar participants concluded that we need to pay more attention to the animal’s perspective, because that is the important one. As we know what the needs of many animals are, we have a responsibility to respect them. Instead of a parasitic relationship with animals we should move towards one that is mutually beneficial and in which the physical, health and mental needs of both parties are met.
Following the seminar, His Holiness’s party took a short walk to King’s College, which was founded in 1441 by Henry VI and is one of 31 colleges in the University of Cambridge. Like the university itself, the College has an outstanding academic record, a strong tradition in research and counts many Nobel laureates among its present and past Fellowship. His Holiness was welcomed by the Head, or Provost of the College, Prof Michael Proctor, the Revd Dr Stephen Cherry, Dean of King’s College Chapel, and other senior academics, including Prof Caroline Humphrey DBE, Director of the University’s Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, Tibet expert Dr Hildegard Diemberger from the Department of Social Anthropology, and Lhendup Tharchen, a wildlife conservation expert from Bhutan. Also present were Ven. Ato Rinpoche and his wife.
TST Reporter (Pappu Mallick)
Gangtok, May 25: With the Central Government considering lifting travel restrictions on 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, protesting monks of Denzong Lhadey expressed their joy at BL House, Tibet road in Gangtok. Sangha MLA Sonam Lama who addressed the members of the press expressed that the Cabinet Committee on Security will take the decision in their favour.
The restriction is being proposed to be lifted to all parts of the country barring Rumtek Monastery, East Sikkim. Sangha MLA in his address stated, "MHA has proposed for the restriction to be lifted to the CCS who are still considering the decision. But based on the assurance given to us by the Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his visit last week, we are hopeful that the decision will be in our favour. Our demand still sticks to Karmapa being allowed to visit the State. We are unsure about his visit to Rumtek Monastery from being considered, but we are hopeful that the visit to the State will be allowed".
Praising the proposal by the MHA, Sangha MLA stated, "Our faith in Karmapa and the trouble we have taken for the past 23 years including the recent agitation which blocked the National Highway 10, was considered by the Home Minister. He received multiple memorandums from us, he was aware of our hunger strike and the protests we carried out in New Delhi and twice in Gangtok, seeing all of the issues, he assured us of consideration during his recent visit to the State".
"BJP government has been generous to us before as well, it happened during the time of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpayee. The current government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi upholds religion over politics, hence we are hopeful that the issue will be resolved soon", he added.
Sangha MLA also highlighted how they held talks with Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu during his recent visit to the State. Arunachal Pradesh played host to Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje in December at Tawang Monastery. "Arunachal Chief Minister also assured us of support and holding talks with the central ministry over the issue", added Sangha MLA.
Protesting Monks of Denzong Lhadey have been on relay hunger strike for 321 days so far.
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Karma Kagyu Association of Canada (KKAC)
May 25, 2017 11:25 ET
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 25, 2017) - The Karma Kagyu Association of Canada (KKAC) is privileged to officially host the first Canadian tour of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. The month long visit will begin with a large welcoming group upon his arrival at Toronto's, Pearson International Airport on May 29, http://www.karmapacanada.org. His Holiness's visit will proceed to Calgary and end in Vancouver while experiencing many of Canada's natural beauties in his travels across the country.
Born in June 1985, Karmapa was born into a nomad family in Lhatok, in the remote highlands of the region of Eastern Tibet. He was given the name, Apo Gaga, meaning "Happy Brother". In the months prior to his birth, his mother had wonderful, spiritual dreams. On the day of his birth, a cuckoo landed on the tent in which he was born, and many people in the area heard a mysterious trumpet-like sound, echoing throughout the valley. In Tibet, such events are considered auspicious portents of the birth of an enlightened teacher. At the age of seven, he was formally recognized and enthroned as the reincarnation of the 17th Karmapa.
Karmapa means the embodiment of all the activities of the Buddha's, (http://kagyuoffice.org/karmapa). His Holiness the 17th Karmapa has emerged as a dynamic thinker and has already become one of the leading figures to the younger generation of Tibetan Buddhist masters of our time. His thoughts and teachings have inspired millions of people worldwide.
His call to create a more compassionate, responsible future is addressed directly to our modern global society, and has influenced many free thinkers around the World. During the twelve years that the Karmapa has lived in India as a refugee, he has often called for attention and action on environmental and women's issues. As a practicing vegetarian, he has also spoken out against cruelty to animals. He was the first and only reincarnated Lama to be recognized by both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese communist government.
As the head of the 900 year old Karma Kagyu Lineage, the 31 year old Karmapa lives in his temporary home at The Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala, India, after making a dramatic escape from Tibet in December 1999 as a fourteen-year-old. Karmapa's heroic and arduous journey 17 years ago became the story of news headlines all over the World.
His Holiness will speak on "Mindfulness and Environmental Responsibility", "Transforming Afflictive Emotions: Dialogue of the Three Major traditions of Buddhism", "How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times", and a panel discussion on "Finding Freedom Through Meditation & Manjushri Empowerment". The KKAC is also offering free tickets for ordained nuns and monks.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
May 29, 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Welcome Reception & Press Conference, Four Season's Hotel, Vinci Ballroom, 6thfloor
60 Yorkville Ave., Toronto, ON M4W 0A4
May 31, 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Public Talk, "Mindfulness and Environmental Responsibility", University of Toronto, Convocation Hall,
31 King's College Cir, Toronto, ON M5S 1A1
June 1, 9:30am - 12:30pm
Panel discussion, "Transforming Afflictive Emotions: Dialogue of the Three Major Traditions of Buddhism",
University of Toronto, Convocation Hall, 31 King's College Cir, Toronto, ON M5S 1A1
June 2, 9:30am - 11:30am & 2:00pm - 4:30pm
Public Talk, "How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times",
The Enercare Centre, Hall D, 100 Princes' Blvd #1, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3
June 3, 9:30am - 11:30am & 2:00pm - 4:30pm
Public Talk, "Finding Freedom Through Meditation & Manjushri Empowerment",
The Enercare Centre, Hall D, 100 Princes' Blvd #1, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3
Information on His Holiness the 17th Karmapa
Morgan Freeman interview - National Geographic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcF1dLz6XWM
New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/11/karmapa-on-campus
Due to security purposes, all media persons wishing to attend any event must be accredited in advance. Media persons may only access entrance to any event with a registered media pass distributed by KKAC. Accreditation forms are available at http://www.karmapacanada.org. Detailed information on Media Pass distribution date and location will be directly emailed. Photographers/camera crew will be given photo-op access before and after the events at pre-designated periods and locations.
To view the Media Accreditation Form, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/ACCREDITATION_FORM.pdf
Completed forms are due by 2 pm on Saturday, May 27, 2017.
Press Pass pick up - Monday, May 29 at 6:00pm at Four Season's Hotel, Vinci Ballroom, 6th floor.
INTERVIEWS: Lama Tenzin Dakpa, Chair of the Karma Kagyu Association of Canada, Toronto visit is available for interviews. Please contact media department to schedule an appointment. (Lama Tenzin was born in Eastern Tibet in 1978 into a nomadic family. At fifteen, he became a monk and studied for almost seven years before coming to Canada. He currently serves as President of KSDL).
Media email: email@example.com
Event details: http://www.karmapacanada.org
The Karmapa meets with Lord Williams
Cambridge, England – May 24, 2017
Following a formal lunch in Kings College, Cambridge, the Dean guided the Gyalwang Karmapa on a tour of its stunning gothic church with its soaring roof, long history, and famous paintings. Coming back out into the spacious courtyard and passing through the college gate, the Karmapa walked along streets whose cobblestones and turreted walls make one feel that nothing had changed for centuries. At Great St. Mary’s church, the Karmapa was invited to climb the 123 tightly winding steps up past the belfry to the tower for a panoramic view of the university town.
His final destination was the Garden Room of the Masters Lodge at Magdalene College, where Lord Williams (the former Archbishop of Canterbury) was waiting to greet him at the front door surrounded by cascades of white flowers. Here under the auspices of the Inspire Dialogue Foundation and the International Campaign for Tibet, the Karmapa met with some 15 participants to talk about climate change. In his welcome, Lord Williams defined the purpose of the meeting as “considering some of the issues that arise from the ethics of the environment, broadly called the life of the spirit. Where are the voices of the spiritual communities? These are deep-rooted disciplines to teach us who and what we are in relation to the environment and challenge the greedy acquisitive self. They encourage the development of our capacity as human beings to enter into life as a living reality rather than bending the world to our own desires.”
Kate Saunders from the International Campaign for Tibet noted that this event came about through a conversation between Richard Gere and the Karmapa in Bodh Gaya, India. Recounting the need for Tibetans to be involved in environmental issues affecting their homeland, Kate mentioned that Chinese scientists are calling for community participation and Tibetan stewardship of the land. She also quoted the Karmapa’s recent remarks stating the importance of sharing information with scientists and engaging in discussions.
The next speaker was Bhaskar Vira, Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, which explores the interconnectedness of environmental issues, such as climate change and food security, through combining the research and perspectives of all six schools in the University. He talked of the need to make more visible the vitality of our connection with nature; the contributions forests can make to the hunger crisis; and the role of the natural landscape in maintaining water systems, mention that Tibet is the source of water for billions of people.
Other participants spoke of how climate change is affecting plants’ response to their environment and reducing agricultural yields. Another speaker said she was not convinced that people are persuaded by fear or materialism alone alone to make changes, but rather by beauty and by intangible phenomenon of our spiritual relationship with the landscape. We need to inspire people to act in the belief that there is a better future that is not solely dependent on material things.
The Karmapa commented, “I am in agreement with so much of what has been said. Scientific knowledge is very important but at the end of the day, protecting the environment depends on inspiring people to do something different and to change their hearts and minds.” “The challenge,” he noted, “is the distance between our understanding and our practice. We are at a really interesting moment in time. Previously, science and religion were two separate dialogues and now science and spirituality at least are coming together and contributing more to each other. Knowledge needs to work together with our hearts ad minds. Mere warnings on cigarette packages, for example, will not work unless people feel something in their heart.”
Subsequent speakers mentioned the need to create positive, solution-based stories of our purpose on this planet, leading to the idea of an ecological (not just an economic) civilization. In response to thinking about transforming concepts of ownership, Lord Williams recalled the Hebrew Scriptures, stating that we do not own the land; rather it is lent to us for a time. Another participant remarked that changing our relationship to the earth also involved changing other power structures such as that between men and women, different races, castes, and so forth. This shift also relates to the need to feel secure. We would be more able to resolve environmental issues from a position of security, allowing people to see the mutual benefits of everyone being responsible for each other.
Ringu Tulku Rinpoche recalled that in Tibet before 1959, people looked at the environment in a special way. They had a very personal connection that could be called spiritual, and this still seems to be there. He related the story of conversing through WeChat with a group of some 100 people in Tibet about the environment. They understood the issue through two perspectives: one was the outside environment, the “container” in Buddhism, and the other was the inside environment, relating to how people react to each other and live together. The group decided that all the monasteries and communities should come together and pledged to protect the environment.
Another issue was how to relate to the younger generation, especially children under twelve, as many habits are already in place by then. Children are spending hours each day looking at a screen, so it is important to bring them into contact with the natural world. David Attenborough has said that no one will protect what they do not care about, and no one will care about what they have not experienced.
The Karmapa responded, ”Our association with place and homeland is made stronger if there is some memory of nature associated with it. Fondness for this home space is strongest in rural areas. In Tibet, these memories and images are burnt into our minds, and this promotes a strong desire to protect our landscape.” He also commented,
‘I also agree with notion of security as being important. Our habitual tendency is to put ourselves at the center, and maybe a better approach is to put others at the forefront and see the safety of others as contributing to our own safety. This is very clear in issues such as food security and water supply.” To illustrate his point, he related the story of an eagle with one body and two heads. They did not get along with each other, so one head tried to get rid of the other and in so doing killed them both. The Karmapa commented that it is critical to remember that environments have no borders.
The Karmapa also spoke to the issue of sustained development. “These days we have the challenge of communication, where there is one position stating that we have to balance the interests of environment with development. These two are often framed as separate streams of progress that do not complement each other but actually they are completely complementary, especially for long-term sustainability. To make this interrelationship clear, we need to introduce the younger and coming generations to the patterns of cause and effect that reveal to them where their food comes from, why the weather is changing, and so forth.
Lord Williams commented that we cannot move forward with our beliefs without stripping away delusions and fantasy. While recognizing that religious language can sometimes increase problems, we can see, too, that there is a logic behind them and it can help us go deeper into the local stories, such as Syrian children coming to visit a small garden in their refugee camp. Christian theology in last 30 years has come more into focus about not being separated from our environment and each other.
When people are exposed to the non-competitive, natural processes of the world, they sense a homecoming and connection. Great spiritual traditions resonate with the human heart and stories like that of the Syrian children do as well.
In his concluding remarks, the Karmapa, who is a poet and knows the power of metaphor, said, “With regard to the stories that we create, one image that illustrates the relationship with the world that was mentioned by Ringu Tulku, is water in a glass. Water is the content and the vitality, which the glass as a container holds. This picture shows mutual dependence, as a container without anything in it, is not functioning as a container (or not being what it is), and water needs something to hold it. So they depend on each other in a relationship that is mutually beneficial.”
The colloquium was brought to an end by Lord Williams with his warm thanks to the Karmapa for coming and sharing his ideas. The two spiritual leaders of an older and younger generation walked closely together to the front door and warmly bid each other farewell. The Karmapa then returned to London through a rolling landscape bathed in the late afternoon sun.
Neasden, London, England – May 25, 2017
This morning the Karmapa traveled to a northwest suburb of London to visit the impressive BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, the largest Hindu temple in Europe. Marble and limestone have been brought alive by Indian artists, who carved every inch with intricate design. The founder of this Hindu bhakti tradition was guru Swaminarayan (1781-1830), famous for his support of the poor and encouraging women’s education. He was also known for his vegetarianism and opposition to animal sacrifice, positions that the Karmapa also supports.
At the temple, the Karmapa was met by Pujya Yogvivekdas Swami and offered the traditional greeting of a garland of flowers, a tika (the red mark of blessing) and a blessed cord. The Karmapa was then guided through the temple to see an exhibition on understanding Hinduism. Always curious, he asked many question of the guide. He then participated in prayers with the swami and other priests in two of the shrine rooms, both of white marble that had been sculpted in India. During the devotional hymns, groups of children and old people sat on the floor behind the Karmapa and the main priest while they made the traditional offerings of light, circling a candle as the music played and people clapped along to the drum beat.
After a private meeting with the head of the temple, the Karmapa and his entourage were offered a lunch of traditional Indian dishes before returning to his hotel in central London.
Aldershot, Hampshire, England – Morning, May 27, 2017
Early on this day of the Karmapa’s visit to the Nepali community in Aldershot, the double arch of a luminous rainbow filled the sky. It recalled his first visit to the US when rainbows followed him everywhere on the East Coast. The Karmapa was invited by the Buddhist Community Centre UK to this beautiful area of England, famous for its military garrisons and home to a sizeable population of Gurkha soldiers who have served in the British army. In 2006 they were allowed to live in England and in 2007, the Buddhist Community Centre UK was founded by Mr. Kaji Sherpa. He had the vision of establishing a Buddhist monastery to serve the growing Buddhist Community in this southeast region of the UK.
His daughter explained that about half of the Gurkha population in Nepal is Buddhist, and that her father felt a need for Buddhist guidance in this community, so a committee of Nepalis purchased a social club and completely transformed it into a Buddhist monastery. Their organization has about 200 members, who helped to plan and execute two events: the Karmapa’s visit to their center this morning and a long-life empowerment at the nearby Lakeside International Hotel in the afternoon.
On his way into the shrine hall, the Karmapa stopped in front of the center to participate in the unveiling of a special stone, engraved in honor of his visit with the five precepts of moral behavior. He also blessed a Buddha statue and Bodhi stupas, whose layers had been decorated with bouquets of bright spring flowers. His Holiness then entered the shrine hall where some 300 people were chanting “Karmapa Khyenno” and took his seat on the throne before a statue of Guru Rinpoche.
The Chairperson, Lt Narayan Gurung MBE, welcomed the Karmapa and spoke about the activities of the BCCUK, which include religious celebrations, hosting teachers, periods of meditation, groups for children and the elderly, environmental education, and relief work, such as sending aid during the great earthquake in Nepal. Extending the support of the Nepali community to those who have suffered so greatly in England, at 11am a moment of silence was observed in memory of the tragedy in Manchester. On behalf of the people gathered for this special occasion, the Chairperson thanked the Karmapa for his visit and invited him to speak.
His Holiness told of how happy he was to be able to come and extended his warm greetings to everyone. He had waited a long time to visit England, he said, and though he could only be here a short time this day, he would try his best to fulfill everyone’s wish. What is most important, he explained, is making a deep Dharma connection with the many Buddhists here in the community. He encouraged them to invite good teachers to the center and maintain their ancient connection with Tibet. After his brief remarks, generous offerings were made for the Karmapa’s long-life, and all the members had the chance to offer a khata to His Holiness.
Before lunch with a large group of followers, he stopped for rest and refreshment at a cottage by the lake where Nepal’s national flower, the rhododendron, blossomed and three swans glided over the surface in their quiet elegance.
By Marine Ragueneau / May 29, 2017
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, made his first visit to the United Kingdom this month.
At 31 years old, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, a reincarnation lineage that dates back more than 900 years. His Holiness was born in eastern Tibet but fled to India in 2000, where he now resides at the Gyuto Monastery near Dharamshala. He is the only reincarnate Lama to have been recognised by both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese communist government.
The Karmapa’s 11-day visit began on May 17 and the first public event was held on May 20 in London’s Battersea Park.
“I would like to express my great delight at this opportunity that has come to pass for me to visit London, the capital of the United Kingdom, for the first time. Especially, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to all you friends who are gathered here. I have been waiting for a long time to visit the United Kingdom, and now that opportunity has finally arisen and I’m so happy about this.”
“Even though it’s my first visit, still the time allotted for this visit is very short. However, I consider this to be merely the beginning. I think of this opportunity of this short initial visit as a gateway so that I will be able to come again and again in the future” said His Holiness in his opening speech.
Among several teachings, empowerments, and visits, Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje taught a three-part teaching, Eight Verses for Training the Mind, based on the lojong text by Geshe Langri Tangpa. He made a visit to the British Parliament and held seminars on animal welfare and the environment at the Cambridge Veterinary School and Cambridge University. Ending the historic visit, His Holiness held a Life Long Empowerment in Surrey on May 27.
With further travel scheduled throughout Canada beginning on May 29 in Toronto, the Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje will continue to bring Tibetan Buddhism to an international audience.
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