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- 05/21/17--08:30: _Gyalwang Karmapa me...
- 05/29/17--02:41: _A Historic Touch Down
- 05/27/17--01:30: _Times of Joy and So...
- 05/29/17--20:53: _Greed biggest issue...
- 05/22/17--00:30: _His Holiness the 17...
- 05/29/17--05:07: _Karmapa in Toronto ...
- 05/29/17--08:30: _Press Release - Maj...
- 05/29/17--17:00: _Touring the Legisla...
- 05/30/17--10:46: _VOA TIBETAN: The Gy...
- 06/01/17--01:19: _Teaching Schedule o...
- 05/30/17--19:00: _Return to the His H...
- 05/31/17--11:34: _Karmapa Visits Onta...
- 05/31/17--18:00: _'It's difficult to ...
- 06/01/17--04:38: _Compassion and empt...
- 06/01/17--08:41: _ Rfa Tibetan: The G...
- 05/28/17--21:30: _The Gyalwang Karmap...
- 06/01/17--20:48: _Tibetan Buddhist le...
- 06/14/17--08:42: _Canadian lawmakers ...
- 06/17/17--08:29: _ His Holiness arriv...
- 06/22/17--08:37: _His Holiness and Wa...
- 05/21/17--08:30: Gyalwang Karmapa meets with the Tibetan Community on London
- 05/29/17--02:41: A Historic Touch Down
- 05/29/17--05:07: Karmapa in Toronto - the Reception
- 05/29/17--17:00: Touring the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
- 06/01/17--01:19: Teaching Schedule of His Holiness Karmapa in Canada 2017
- 05/30/17--19:00: Return to the His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa’s Canadian Seat
- 06/01/17--08:41: Rfa Tibetan: The Gyalwang Karmapa in Canada for First Official Visit
- 05/28/17--21:30: The Gyalwang Karmapa Begins His First Canadian Tour
- 06/17/17--08:29: His Holiness arrives at Thrangu Monastery
- 06/22/17--08:37: His Holiness and Wade Davis – In Dialogue in Vancouver
Battersea Evolution, London, England
May 21, 2017
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, has arrived in Toronto on May 29, 2017 and set his foot for the very first time on Canadian soil. During his month-long stay in Canada, the Karmapa will be giving public teachings and guiding prayers across the country, primarily in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Public events will begin two days after his landing: May 31st to June 4th in Toronto, June 14th in Calgary, and June 18th to 24th in Vancouver.
Canadian events are organized by the Karma Kagyu Association of Canada. Event details and ticketing information can be found on the organizer official website www.karmapacanada.org
May 27, 2017 – Lakeside International Hotel, Frimley Green, England
In the concluding public event of the 17th Karmapa’s first visit to the United Kingdom, nearly 2,000 people gathered at Lakeside International Hotel near Frimley Green in Surrey to receive an Amitayus Long Life empowerment. The Nepalese and Gurkha community turned out in force to welcome the 17th Karmapa and were joined by devotees from the UK, Europe, America, and other countries worldwide. This was the second part of a one-day program organised by the Buddhist Community Centre UK.
Monks from various Kagyu European centres and the Karmapa’s ritual master and attendants had worked hard to prepare the stage for the empowerment. The golden pagoda used during the Chenresik empowerment earlier in the visit now enshrined an image of Amitayus and a smaller image of Guru Rinpoche. To the left of the images, a large bowl contained long-life pills made from roasted barley and butter and to the right four bowls contained long-life nectar. A wooden throne of engraved and painted panels had been brought from the main shrine room at the BCCUK Centre in Aldershot. Commissioned specially from Nepal and made by skilled Nepali craftsmen, it was the throne used by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama during his visit to the BCCUK in 2015. Fresh flowers added life and colour: two huge vases contained mixed bouquets; boxes of exotic orchids graced the front of the stage, and to either side, tall spikes of red and purple lupins reached upwards.
As the Karmapa entered the auditorium for the first time to perform the preparatory rituals, Nepali women came forward bearing traditional offering bowls of rice, milk (as a respectful substitute for the more usual alcohol), food, and water for His Holiness’ blessing. When the Karmapa returned to begin the empowerment, a Gurkha soldier, in full ceremonial dress, piped him in. After mandala offerings and introductory prayers, there was a short break in the empowerment for speeches.
In his opening address, Mr Kaji Sherpa, founder and former president of the BCCUK, spoke effusively of the Karmapa’s contribution to society: “We are truly honoured and delighted to be standing in the presence of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, and a great spiritual leader, who through the demonstration of compassion and warm-heartedness has transcended cultures, religion, race, and social status. Your Holiness, your passion and pursuit of educating the world about the need for environmental preservation and welfare of animals, your teachings on the philosophy of non-violence to encourage world peace, your role in championing equal rights and opportunities for women, and your contribution towards digitising Buddhist texts, are not only invaluable today but will continue to benefit many generations to come.”
Former president Mr. Narayan Prasad Gurung and chairperson Mrs. Pushpa Gurung presented His Holiness with a memento of the visit cum birthday present—an engraved silver tray bearing the BCCUK logo.
Next Kyabje Chime Rinpoche, one of the first Tibetan lamas to reach the West and a devoted student of the 16th Karmapa, talked of the connection between the Karma Kagyu and Nepal, which began with Jetsun Milarepa, who meditated in Nepali caves, progressed through other Karmapas, and included the visit of the 16th Karmapa in the 1960s.
“The 16th Karmapa was my teacher,” he explained. ”Now I’ve met the 17th Karmapa. He has only changed his body; his mind is exactly the same.” And then told the story of one of his students, an artist, who usually drew horses until suddenly she developed an artist’s block and was unable to draw them anymore. On her way to Australia, she stopped off in India and had an audience with the Karmapa. She asked him, ”What can I do to serve you?” The Karmapa replied directly, “Draw horses!” After that, she had no problem. “He’s a miracle worker,” exclaimed Chime Rinpoche.
Before moving on to the main event, the teaching, blessing and empowerment by His Holiness the Karmapa, the audience stood for a minute’s silence and prayer for the victims of the Manchester terrorist attack on 22 May 2017. Led by Khenpo Tsewang, Buddhist chaplain to the Gurkhas and spiritual leader of the BCCUK, everyone joined in chanting the Dewachen Aspiration Prayer for all sentient beings to gain rebirth in the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha.
Finally, it was the Karmapa’s turn to speak. He thanked everybody, and then, in a quieter more sombre voice, he reflected on how his joy during this first visit to the UK had been counterbalanced by profound sadness at the terrorist attack in Manchester and drew lessons from the experience. On the morning immediately following the attack, His Holiness had led prayers for the dead and injured before giving a talk at the Royal Asiatic Society. During his visit to the chapel of King’s College Cambridge, he had lit candles for the victims, but this was the first time he had spoken publicly about the atrocity: “That this visit to the UK has finally happened has been a cause of great joy for me. On the other hand, the bombing in Manchester, that terrible tragedy in which many people, but especially many young people, lost their lives has caused me great pain and sadness.” He continued, “I think we find ourselves at an interesting moment in time, where different types of joy and different types of sorrow occur simultaneously.”
Returning to topics he had covered earlier during his teachings at Battersea Evolution — interconnectedness, empathy, and compassion—His Holiness drew a lesson from this shared experience of suffering. “I consider it meaningful that we have been through these experiences together. It is my hope and aspiration that we can continue in this way, sharing the joys and sorrows of others, and of all sentient beings. Seeing that our joys and sorrows are part of others’ experiences and that the joys and sorrows of others are a part of our own experience, I hope that we can continue being empathetic towards each other and can persevere into the future with great strength of heart and courage.”
In another vein, the Karmapa expressed his gratitude to Mr. Kaji Sherpa and all the other officers of the BCCUK for the leadership they were giving to the Nepali Buddhist community. Having spent the day with them, he joked, he was sometimes not certain whether he was in the UK or in Nepal. He concluded with the promise that, in accordance with Himalayan custom, he would give the blessing of the vase empowerment individually to everyone present by placing the long-life vase on their heads.
The empowerment resumed, and after its completion, the Karmapa continued his teaching, emphasising once again the fundamental interconnectedness of all sentient beings. The Amitayus empowerment was for long life, he began. Everyone wants to enjoy a long life and also hopes for a life of well-being and happiness but for this, two conditions are necessary: a healthy body and a healthy mind.
This idea is encapsulated in the Tibetan word dekyi, often translated into English as “happiness.” The first syllable de refers to physical health and well-being, whereas the second syllable kyi refers to mental happiness and well-being. Thus, to lead a happy life, we need the external factor of a body free of illness and the internal factor of a mind that is not overwhelmed or weighed down by suffering. The Karmapa pointed out that physical well-being on its own is not sufficient; our minds also must be turned in a positive direction.
Furthermore, our experience, for instance within a dysfunctional family, shows us that it is impossible to be happy when others around us are unhappy. Our happiness, well-being, and joy depend on the happiness of others. This is equally true in our family, in our society, and in the world at large. Due to the interdependent nature of the world we live in, we cannot be happy when others are suffering. The happiness of others is part and parcel of our own happiness. This interconnectedness extends to include all sentient beings. Hence, His Holiness urged, it is important for us to value and cherish all life.
“In particular, the many sentient beings whose lives are cut short, just for a few moments of flavour on the tongue of a human being,” he cautioned. The Karmapa counselled everyone to reflect on this in light of our dependence on the happiness of other sentient beings for our own happiness.
And finally, as promised, everyone in the audience was able to receive the vase blessing from the hands of His Holiness. A long line formed into a side-room and one-by-one, people stepped forward to have the vase placed on the crown of their head.
Thus the historic first visit of the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, to the United Kingdom drew to an end, but as the audience dispersed to make their way home, they carried with them the hope and His Holiness’ promise that this would be the first of many visits to come.
Worshipped as a living god, will the 17th Karmapa Lama also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity?
|The Karmapa Lama is in Toronto this week giving public lectures about mindfulness and the environment, the power of meditation, and ancient wisdom in modern times.|
It is not his destiny to be the next Dalai Lama. For he is already reincarnated as the 17th Karmapa Lama.
Yet he may one day succeed his 81-year-old teacher and protector.
Revered since age 7 as spiritual leader of a 1,000-year-old branch of Tibetan Buddhism, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is making his first trip to Canada this week at the age of 31.
Meeting Ontario politicians Tuesday before sitting down for an interview, the Karmapa padded around Queen’s Park in a pair of brown hiking shoes peeking out from under his simple maroon robes. A picture of youthful wisdom with his direct gaze, towering above other monks at six feet tall, he may yet emerge as the public face of Tibetan Buddhism
Worshipped as a living god and the Buddha of Compassion, will he also inherit the Dalai Lama’s imagery of divinity and celebrity?
This week in Toronto he is giving public lectures about mindfulness and the environment, the power of meditation, and ancient wisdom in modern times. But among his devotees, there is a different kind of knowledge — that karma could ultimately bind the Karmapa to a bigger burden.
As the Dalai Lama grows older in exile, and tensions with China grow deeper, His Holiness muses publicly about declaring an end to his own line. Rather than risk the spectacle of rival reincarnations — with Tibetan monks and Chinese Communists putting forward competing candidates in a spiritual standoff — the Dalai Lama has hinted it might be wiser to repurpose another reincarnated lama for a leadership role.
Many devotees believe the Karmapa will fill any future void, emerging as Tibet’s symbolic leader — if not the quite spiritual leader of all Tibetans (for there are so many complications among the denominations). The Dalai Lama has already delegated many of his erstwhile political responsibilities to a Tibetan administration led by a prime minister, so the tradition of a supreme leader has already been recast.
“It is almost impossible to take on the role of the Dalai Lama,” the Karmapa tells me cautiously, modestly, in our interview.
The politics of religion is a delicate subject, not least for the world’s most suffocated and yet idealized faith. The Karmapa — which translates roughly as the embodiment of Buddha activity— is accompanied by bodyguards to safeguard him from physical threats, but also an entourage of aides to protect him from political missteps.
“I will try to do as much as I can do, but this issue about future leadership, this is not something that I alone can decide. I think this is up to the people of Tibet,” he answers diplomatically.
His intonations and mannerisms are reminiscent of the Dalai Lama, whom I interviewed at his residence-in-exile in the Indian redoubt of Dharamsala more than a decade ago, after my own trip to Tibet. Like the Dalai Lama, he barrels ahead in blunt English on familiar topics, but deftly reverts to an interpreter for the stickier subjects.
In years past, the Karmapa skirted the succession question by saying he had his hands full in his current role. Now older and wiser (and bolder), he maps out another route that stresses the propitious over the ambitious.
“Maybe things need more time to resolve this problem,” he concludes.
More time. In the meantime, he worries about political positions hardening on both sides, blocking the way to an eventual settlement.
The Tibet he left behind as a 14-year-old — escaping his Chinese minders in the dead of night to cross the Himalayas and reach neighbouring India — is in even more desperate circumstances today. Hundreds of monks have immolated themselves to protest Chinese repression, which has become only worse since violence erupted in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa in 2008.
In late 2003, the Dalai Lama told me about his diplomatic dialogue with Beijing, which had just resumed. All these years later, it has reached a dead end, the Karmapa acknowledges.
Despite the frustration and radicalization of younger Tibetans, he still believes the middle path is the only route to a political settlement. And he may be well placed to find a way, never having been denounced by China’s rulers, who continue to demonize the Dalai Lama as a “splittist.”
“Dialogue between Tibet and China needs to continue,” he answers in Tibetan, throwing in the English words “common sense” and “mutual understanding” to make his point.
“Far too much time is spent on discussing policy and political issues outside, when the real attention needs to be paid to the daily experiences of the Tibetan people inside Tibet,” he continues. “It’s very easy on the outside to get lost in this policy discussion.”
In the same vein, he frets about the people’s propensity to lose their way on environmental threats and the spectre of global warming, which are no less forbidding for the people of Tibet and the world. Like political obstacles, environmental challenges can seen insoluble if addressed in their entirety, rather than individually.
“I think the biggest issue is also related to humans’ motivations — human greed is the biggest issue of the environment, because of consumerism,” he muses. “The sad thing is, until something happens, people don’t want to change.”
As the Karmapa ponders the future problems of environmental depredation and the liberation of his own people, what about his own personal journey until now?
At age 7 he was discovered by a group of travelling lamas and plucked from his family to be tutored in monasteries and groomed for his reincarnated role. In later years he was watched over by the Chinese minders and spies. After his escape as a teenager, he was suspected by the Indian security services of being a Chinese plant, and largely confined to lodgings supplied by the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Only recently has he been given greater freedom to travel (a yellow ID document issued by India governs his movements).
Yet even when travelling he remains in a bubble, ensconced by his entourage. At home he dare not go for a walk lest he be engulfed by devotees.
I ask, teasingly, about an exercise machine in his monastery.
“But no place to put,” he deadpans.
Does he miss his personal freedom of movement?
“Yes of course,” he shoots back. “I don’t have much choice . . . sometimes it’s too much.”
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Four Seasons Hotel Toronto – May 29, 2017
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrived early afternoon on May 29th for his first ever visit to Canada. His plane touched down at the Toronto Pearson International Airport after a ten-hour flight from London, United Kingdom. He was welcomed by members of the Kagyu Karma Association of Canada (KKAC) and numerous devotees. Next to the gate, volunteers held a colourful bilingual banner with the KKAC insignia trumpeting ¨Karmapa, Welcome to Canada¨. As he walked slowly past a long line of devotees offering white katas, the 17th Karmapa smiled warmly at everyone.
The Karmapa arrived at his hotel still looking jovial and high spirited, where an official reception followed. Dungse Lama Pema began with a welcome speech by thanking His Holiness for accepting the invitation to come to Canada, and his staff members for working hard in making this visit possible. Lama Tenzin Dakpa and several legislation members followed with short speeches to express both joy and gratitude.
A small welcoming Tibetan ceremony was offered by a group of Tibetans in traditional chupa dresses, serving the Tibetan yellow rice and tea which are customary in welcoming important guests. Over one hundred attendees gathered at this reception. After the tea ceremony, His Holiness spoke briefly, relating his appreciation to the organizers who made tremendous efforts to make this happened and shared his wish to come again in the future.
His Holiness the Karmapa has been invited to visit Legislative Assembly of Ontario the next day.
May 29, 2017 - The 17th Karmapa, one of Tibet’s leading Buddhist figures arrived in Toronto yesterday on his first visit to Canada. Known for his concerns about current global issues as well as for his spiritual leadership, the 31-year-old Karmapa will engage in a wide range of religious activities and will speak on environmental and social responsibility at various universities.
During his month long trip to Canada, the Karmapa will travel to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor the 16th Karmapa, who travelled extensively throughout the country and was instrumental in introducing Canadians to Buddhism in the 1970s.
Head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the 17th holder of a 900-year old lineage. Born in a nomadic family in eastern Tibet, he made headline news in 2000 with his dramatic escape to India, where he now lives near the Dalai Lama. The 17th Karmapa has emerged as one of the most influential Buddhist figures of his generation, and plays a key role in the preservation of Tibetan culture and religion. As he travels across Canada, the Karmapa will be meeting with Tibetan communities and visiting many Buddhist centres connected to the Karma Kagyu lineage.
As a spiritual leader for the 21st century, the Karmapa has a deep commitment to environmental protection as well as to social justice, and frequently engages with youth groups to encourage them to work for positive change. While in Canada, he will give lectures at the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia on environmental conservation, social equality and the need for inter-religious dialogue. The 17th Karmapa founded Khoryug, an eco-monastic movement that has mobilized 55 Buddhist monasteries and nunneries across the Himalayan region. As a committed vegetarian, he often speaks out against cruelty to animals. His current initiative to grant full ordination to nuns in his lineage is a ground-breaking first step toward creating full access to spiritual opportunities for women in Tibetan Buddhism.
His visit to Canada coincides with the release of his latest book, “Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society”, in which he outlines his vision for building a more compassionate society. In this book, the Karmapa argues that global integration has failed to move sufficiently beyond an atomistic vision of who we are as human beings. As a result, globalization has led to greater competition, conflict and isolationism. Offering a more sustainable alternative, the Karmapa argues that our inherent capacity for empathy can be strengthened to serve as a sound natural basis for developing the personal and social values consistent with living as interdependent individuals: compassion, responsibility, equality and appreciation of diversity.
The Karmapa is an accomplished artist, poet and composer. In 2010, he oversaw the production of a full-length play that he had authored on the life of Milarepa, Tibet´s most widely revered yogi, innovating a new theatrical form that combined Tibetan opera with modern theatre. Many of his poems have been set to music, and he has worked to revive the performance in India of the sacred “doha” songs associated with the Buddhist lineage he heads.
The visit to Canada is organized by the Karma Kagyu Associaton of Canada.
Note to Editors
Details of the visit: http://www.karmapacanada.org
Website of the Karmapa: http://kagyuoffice.org/karmapa/
Press queries: Karma Dorjee Namgyal email@example.com from the Office of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa and;
From the inviting organization:
The Karmapa’s book, “Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society” is distributed in Canada by Simon and Schuster Canada, and published by Wisdom Books,http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/interconnected
Contact: Kestrel Slocombe, firstname.lastname@example.org
Completed forms may be sent to email@example.com
For more 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
Woeser Jongdong 647.631.5105
Namgyal Nangsetsang 647.712.2557
Ontario Legislative Building, Toronto – May 30, 2017
The first day after the arrival of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the entourage accepted an invitation to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in Queen’s Park. At 8:30AM on May 30, 2017, the Gyalwang Karmapa had a warm and refreshing breakfast buffet with members of the legislative assembly in the parliament building while several members made welcoming speeches. Speakers welcomed and thanked His Holiness on this visit, and discussed with him issues in regard to the the environment.
In return, the Gyalwang Karmapa expressed appreciation towards the legislative members’ invitation, and gratitude towards their care and attention to the local Tibetan community. His Holiness also requested for government officials to continue giving support the Tibetan population.
After the morning exchange of speeches, the Karmapa and his entourage toured the chamber for debates and proceedings. Here, they were again welcomed by various members. The entourage sat in briefly to witness the debates before concluding their visit to the legislative assembly of Ontario.
HH Karmapa's public teachings will be webcast live at www.kagyuoffice.org/webcast/ or http://kagyutv.org/index.php/en/
Toronto (Current Local Time in Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Mindfulness and Environmental Responsibility
Date: Wednesday, May 31st, 3:00-4:30PM
Place: University of Toronto, Convocation Hall (MAP)
Transforming Disturbing Emotions:
Dialogue of the Three Major Traditions of Buddhism
Date: Thursday, June 1st, 9:30AM – 12:00PM
Place: University of Toronto, Convocation Hall (MAP)
How to Apply Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times
In these two sessions, His Holiness will discuss the basic nature of mind and the methods of obtaining happiness through listening to and contemplating the teachings of the Buddha, and then meditating according to the teachings.
Date: Friday, June 2nd, 9:30-11:30AM, 2:00-4:30PM
Place:The Enercare Centre, Hall D (MAP)
Finding Freedom Through Meditation & Manjushri Empowerment
Date: Saturday, June 3rd, 9:30-11:30AM & 2:00-4:30PM
Place: The Enercare Centre, Hall D (MAP)
Tenshug Long Life Offering & White Tara Empowerment
Date: Sunday, June 4th
Place: Gangjong Choeden Ling (MAP)
This event is being organized by the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre.
For more information about this event, please click here.
Calgary (Current Local Time in Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Public Talk & Audience with the Tibetan Community
Date: Wednesday, June 14th, 5:30-7:00PM
Place: Jack Singer Concert Hall (MAP)
Vancouver (Current Local Time in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
Chenrezig Empowerment & Audience with the Tibetan Community
***in Tibetan only***
Date: Sunday, June 18th, 2:00-4:00PM
Place: Thrangu Monastery Canada
8140 No.5 Rd., Richmond BC (MAP)
Panel Discussion with Q&A: Interconnectedness - Our Environment and Social (In)equality
Date: Thursday, June 22nd, 3:00-5:00PM
Place: Chan Centre, University of British Columbia (MAP)
Akshobhya Teaching & Empowerment
Date: Friday, June 23rd, 5:30-7:00PM (Teaching Part I)
Saturday, June 24th, 9:30-11:30AM (Teaching Part II)
Saturday, June 24th, 2:00-4:00PM (Empowerment)
Place: Queen Elizabeth Theatre
650 Hamilton St., Vancouver BC (MAP)
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May 31, 2017– In the morning after his arrival, at 9:00AM, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje arrived at Karma Sonam Dargye Ling– a Tibetan Buddhist centre under the direction of Lama Tenzin Dakpa. This was a visit of great significance, as the centre was first established in 1976 by the venerable Lama Namsel Rinpoche under the request of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje.
Upon arrival, His Holiness was ushered into the main shrine hall and seated on the highest throne, on which he proceeded to receive a body-speech-mind offering from the sangha. The yellow rice and tea ceremony followed in sequence for the welcome ceremony. Shortly after tea was served, the current resident teacher of Karma Sonam Dargye Ling, Lama Tenzin Dakpa, rose to speak.
Lama Tenzin referenced the founder of this centre, Lama Namsel Rinpoche, as one of the first Canadian resident lamas to request for His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa to visit Canada. Due to numerous conditions, until now it has not been possible for His Holiness to visit this Canadian seat of the 16th Karmapa. Lama Tenzin hereby reaffirmed his deep appreciation for the Gyalwang Karmapa’s visit.
Lama Tenzin Dakpa then introduced to the Karmapa activities held at Karma Sonam Dargye Ling. Lama Tenzin had made a point not only to exert efforts in propagating Buddhist teachings in the Karma Kagyu lineage, but also to teach the Tibetan language. In doing so, he hoped that all Tibetan people can come and practice, by which preserving their culture and tradition which has much to offer.
In reponse, the Gyalwang Karmapa expressed his joy to be able to visit Karma Sonam Dargye Ling, and rejoiced in Lama Tenzin’s efforts to preserve the lineage and service individuals who exhibit an interest in Buddhism.
Before leaving for a public talk at the University of Toronto, His Holiness shared a pleasant meal with the assembly at Karma Sonam Dargye Ling Buddhist centre. After lunch, the Karmapa found himself in front of an audience of more than a thousand, as he began the 3 o’clock talk. The topic of the talk was “mindfulness” and a full recording of the event can be viewed online.
In his first ever visit to Canada, the 17th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest sub-school of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism paid a visit to the Ontario Legislative Assembly and attended the fifth anniversary of Tibet Day at the invitation of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, Canada at the provincial parliament on May 30, 2017.
Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje also met with five members of the legislative assembly and thanked them for their support for Tibet and Tibetans settled in Ontario area, and urged the officials to continue their support towards Tibetans in Canada.
Mr. Sonam Langkar, the President of the Toronto Tibetan Association, along with members of the local Tibetan community attended the event.
Karmapa and his entourage toured the legislative assembly building following the gathering, and as part of the Tibet Day celebration, the organizers with the help from local Tibetans prepared traditional Tibetan cuisine.
|Karmapa Lama, known as Ogyen Trinley Dorje, with Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in northern India in May 2011.|
Thursday June 01, 2017
When Ogyen Trinley Dorje was born in a small village in Tibet in 1985, a cuckoo landed on the tent — a very auspicious sign in Tibetan culture.
"When I was born, my parents ... they told me there were auspicious signs... special sounds heard by all the villagers," His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.
When he was seven, the family was visited by Lamas — Buddhist spiritual leaders — who were travelling near his home in search of the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa.
|The 32-year-old monk is poised |
to lead the world's Tibetan Buddhists
when the Dalai Lama dies. (Lara O'Brien)
The previous Karmapa left a detailed letter containing the birth year, parents' names, all the details of the next Karmapa, and His Holiness was a match.
The Karmapa is one of the holiest figures in Tibetan Buddhism — one that they believe has been reincarnated for hundreds of years.
His Holiness says that it's a challenge to be a 32-year-old monk in the modern world.
"It's difficult to make balance ... if you are too much on the modern side then you lose tradition ... and if you are so .... narrow-minded in the traditional way of life, you can't catch up to the modern world."
Today, the monk is poised to lead the world's Tibetan Buddhists when the Dalai Lama dies. His Holiness says the Dalai Lama is like a father to him.
|His Holiness the 17th Karmapa |
sees the Dalai Lama, pictured here,
as the father of the Tibetan people.
(Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)
His Holiness also sees the greater role the Dalai Lama plays.
"His Holiness [Dalai Lama] is not just the spiritual teacher of Tibetan people. He is also like the father of the Tibetan people," he explains.
Does His Holiness want to emulate the Dalai Lama? He believes that it is the young leadership, like himself, who have to take more responsibility.
His Holiness lives in exile in Dharamsala in India. He escaped Chinese-ruled Tibet at age 14.
He says his dreams for Tibet are simple: "Tibetan people need more freedom ... maybe you can say freedom of speech and freedom of faith."
And in a world that is filled with suffering, His Holiness believes that the way forward is more personal connections.
"Maybe we can really make friendships ... not just for show ... more personal affection and mutual understanding."
Listen to this interview at the top of the web post.
This segment was produced by Lara O'Brien.
Thursday, 01 June 2017 16:04Lavania Saraf, Tibet Post International
London, UK — "Free from concretizing the eight worldly concerns, we train our mind in the illusion-like outlook that sees things as not real," the 17th Karmapa said during his first trip to the UK, Through training our mind, "our compassion and patience increase and our minds open up."
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, was received with anticipation and delight on his first visit to the United Kingdom on May 17th, 2017. His arrival in central London was received by numeral devotees and included a special reception with traditional English afternoon tea.
The visit had been highly anticipated by Karmapa himself, especially due to the strong dharmic connection between the United Kingdom and the Karmapa lineage, believed to be established earlier by the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. On May 18th, Karmapa visited the British Museum where some of the most crucial documents and artifacts in the history and culture of human beings has been displayed, including the Magna Carta, the Rosetta Stone, the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, statues of Manjushri, Vajrasattva, and Akshobhya who specifically is an important figure for the Karmapa.
On May 20th, the spiritual leader began teaching his Eight Verses for Training the Mind at the Battersea Evolution in London. According to the Karmapa, the Kadampa tradition confers immense importance to the activity of mind training. "Mind training really means training in bodhicitta." While the word 'Bodhi' means awakening, the word 'citta' means mind, hence, the Karmapa states that the word mind refers to bochicitta or the mind of enlightenment. Such mind training texts provide a guide for others to follow and comprehensively synopsize the main points of training in bodhicitta in order for one to develop it gradually. The purpose of the eight verses for training the mind, according to the Karmapa, is to broaden our minds and hearts to make them more encompassing. Furthermore, it helps us differentiate between the conducive and the unfavorable conditions for developing love and compassion, which should help an individual minimize his unfavorable conditions and increase his favorable conditions.
Thinking that all sentient beings Surpass a wish-fulfilling jewel For accomplishing the supreme aim, May I always cherish beings.
In explaining the meaning of the first verse, Karmapa says, "The example often given is that of a diamond in the earth. Initially it is covered by mud and earth. But this has no effect on the inherent value of the diamond. In the same way there are many kinds of sentient beings and they all possess different flaws, but these flaws have no effect on the inherent, high value of sentient beings. Their basic nature remains worthy of being cherished."
Offering his advice, the Karmapa counseled, "We need to have a plan in place for how we will deal with any given situation. If we let the mind go where it wants to go, it will turn stubborn. There is a saying in Tibetan: 'Appearances are skilled at deception and the mind is like a small child following after them.' Instead of letting the mind be fooled by appearances, we should take care of it like a small child, not letting it do whatever it wants; rather, we should examine carefully to discover the state of our mind." Whenever I see beings of ill character Weighed down by harsh misdeeds and suffering, As if I had discovered a treasury of precious jewels, May I cherish them as something difficult to find.
Continuing teaching the verses, the Karmapa begins by explaining that the fourth verse is about three different kinds of people, those whose character is negative, those who are weighed down by significant misdeeds, and those who suffer or experience suffering.
"Main point," He 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. This practice is challenging. 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.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."
As a conclusion, Karmapa mentions that Compassion and Emptiness are the two keys that aid one in the process of training their mind, "In general, however, it would be extremely difficult 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. 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 May 23rd, post the teaching sessions of the Karmapa, He visited the Royal Asiatic Society and spoke with members of the Tibet Society, regarding the environment, and even addressed a group of people introducing them to His organization, Khoryug, which advocates for environmental protection in the Himalayan region, along with education nuns and monks to further raise awareness about this pivotal issue. He stated, "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."
On May 24th, He travelled to Cambridge where he attended a seminar on animal welfare science and animal sentience, and the significance of their relationship with the treatment of animals. He claimed that, "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."
On 25th May, the 17th Karmapa visited the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, which is the largest Hindu temple in Europe. Here, He attended an exhibition to understand Hinduism, along with participating in prayers with the swami and other priests!
On May 27th, He visited the Nepali community in Aldershot, also consisting of a large number of people who practice the Buddhist faith. Here, he explained that it is crucial for them to make a Dharma connection with the Buddhist community of the region, and encouraged them to maintain a connection with Tibet.
On May 27th at the Lakeside International Hotel in Frimley Green was the concluding ceremony of the Karmapa's first visit to the United Kingdom. As his concluding remarks, He states, "That this visit to the UK has finally happened has been a cause of great joy for me. On the other hand, the bombing in Manchester, that terrible tragedy in which many people, but especially many young people, lost their lives has caused me great pain and sadness. I think we find ourselves at an interesting moment in time, where different types of joy and different types of sorrow occur simultaneously. I consider it meaningful that we have been through these experiences together. It is my hope and aspiration that we can continue in this way, sharing the joys and sorrows of others, and of all sentient beings. Seeing that our joys and sorrows are part of others' experiences and that the joys and sorrows of others are a part of our own experience, I hope that we can continue being empathetic towards each other and can persevere into the future with great strength of heart and courage."
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May 29-30, 2107 – Toronto, Canada
After a very successful visit to the United Kingdom, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrived early afternoon for his first ever visit to Canada. He was welcomed at the Toronto airport by members of the Karma Kagyu Association of Canada (KKAC) and numerous devotees, who displayed a colorful bilingual banner with the KKAC insignia, ¨Karmapa, Welcome to Canada.¨ As he walked slowly past a long line of devotees offering white katas, the Karmapa smiled warmly at everyone.
Still looking delighted, he arrived at his hotel where an official reception followed that included over one hundred guests. Dungse Lama Pema began with a welcome speech thanking His Holiness for accepting the invitation to come to Canada, and his staff members for working so hard to make this visit possible. Lama Tenzin Dakpa and several members of the legislature followed with short speeches to express their joy and gratitude. A welcoming Tibetan ceremony was presented by a group of Tibetans in traditional dress, who offered saffron rice and tea, customary in welcoming important guests. After the ceremony, His Holiness spoke briefly, relating his appreciation to the organizers who made tremendous efforts to make this visit happen and he shared his wish to come again in the future.
On the day after his arrival, the Karmapa was invited to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in Queen’s Park. At 8:30 am on May 30, 2017, the Gyalwang Karmapa was warmly welcomed to a breakfast buffet with members of the legislative assembly in the parliament building and several members made welcoming speeches. They thanked His Holiness for his visit and discussed with him issues regarding the environment.
During his month long trip to Canada, the Karmapa will spend time in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor the 16th Karmapa, who travelled extensively throughout the country and was instrumental in introducing Canadians to Buddhism in the 1970s.
karmapa visit Toronto 2017 day 1
H H karmapa Toronto visit day 2
International Campaign For Tibet ON JUNE 2, 2017
During his first visit to the UK from May 17 to 28, 2017, the Karmapa, a prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader, joined former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Rowan Williams together with scientists, scholars and cultural figures for a dialogue on the environment hosted by the International Campaign for Tibet and Inspire Dialogue Foundation.
The round table discussion, held on May 24, 2017, was intended to bring together perspectives “between disciplines and generations” as the beginning of an ongoing exchange, according to Lord Williams, Master of Magdalen College and a noted poet and theologian. It involved figures from the arts and sciences, including Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London; James Thornton, the founding CEO of ClientEarth; Dame Fiona Reynolds, former Director-General of the National Trust; Dr Bhaskar Vira, Director, University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute; Tracey Seaward, film producer whose credits include the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, professors, students and Tibetan scholars.
The Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and the only Tibetan reincarnate lama to be acknowledged by both the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama, escaped into exile in India in 2000. He traces his interest in the environment to being born and brought up in a nomadic family in eastern Tibet, and is the founder of Khoryug, an association of more than 55 Buddhist monasteries and nunneries across the Himalayas.
During his visit to the UK, the Karmapa, 31, gave a two-day teachings to thousands of Buddhists and others in Battersea, London; held a private meeting with HRH Prince Charles, known for his passionate concern for the environment and Tibet; visited a Hindu temple; presided over a ceremony at the Tibetan Peace Garden in the grounds of the Imperial War Museum, blessed thousands of Nepalese and Indians at a ceremony organized by the Buddhist Community Center UK, and addressed the Tibetan community in Britain. He also spoke at a launch of his book, ‘Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society’, second in a series based on exchanges between the Karmapa and young people. (See his official website for a full account of the visit.)
During his visit, the Karmapa spoke about Tibet’s critical environmental significance as the earth’s Third Pole, and on the importance of the stewardship of the Tibetan environment by Tibetan people: “When it comes to protecting the environment of Tibet, 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.”
At the dialogue in Cambridge, held at the home of Lord Rowan Williams in the University, ICT gave a presentation on Chinese policies of nomad settlement and the implications of China creating nature reserves on the Tibetan plateau.
Cambridge climate change dialogue with the Karmapa
In hosting the event, Lord Williams and the Inspire Dialogue Foundation aimed to build new relationships with people who might not have otherwise met and establish plans for future collaborative action on the issue of a shared environmental future.
Lord Rowan Williams opened the conversation by urging participants: “To consider some of the issues that arise from the ethics of the environment, broadly called the life of the spirit,” saying that within spiritual communities there were deeply rooted disciplines to teach people who we are in relation to the environment.
The Karmapa observed that: “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 and minds.”
Dr Cameron Taylor of Inspire Dialogue Foundation, said: “It is notable that the dialogue was held on the same day as the Pope presented President Trump, who has previously attributed climate change to a ‘Chinese conspiracy’ with his climate change encyclical, highlighting the importance of the engagement of religious leaders with this pressing global issue. Faith leaders have an important role in shifting hearts in terms of our relationship to the environment, so I am really grateful that the Karmapa and Lord Williams are joining together to advocate for the necessary cultural shifts that will align our minds with the reality of our global climate situation.”
Dr Bhaskar Vira gave an outline of the work of his institute at Cambridge University, set up to explore relationships and interconnectedness of issues such as climate change, food security. He spoke about one of the key areas of the institute’s work, which is the role of the natural landscape in maintaining water systems, the dangers of potential conflict over water, specifically mentioning Tibet as the source of water for billions of people. Dr Vira said that knowledge of Tibet as the earth’s Third Pole is gaining ground in scientific circles; previously attention was focused mainly on the North and South Poles.
Dame Fiona Reynolds, who was awarded an OBE for services to heritage and conservation, said: “Whilst we are dependent on scientists and academics to explain relationships and connections, we are also dependent on people to make decisions and adapt their behavior and to help us think about the values we share for the future. I am more and more convinced that people are not persuaded by fear or material matters alone, but we are persuaded and inspired by beauty – by the intangible phenomenon of our spiritual relationship with the landscape. If we are to deal with climate change, we need to inspire people to act in the belief that there is a better future that is not solely dependent on material things. It is harder these days to talk about spirituality, but we perhaps need to adopt spiritual values and language to inspire people.”
Referencing the Karmapa’s nomad heritage, Kate Saunders of the International Campaign for Tibet outlined new plans by China to turn vast tracts of Tibet into nature reserves. While on the surface this appears to be a useful approach of preserving the landscape, what few realize is that it is contingent upon the removal of nomads from their pastures. Beijing bureaucrats talks of ‘contradiction of grass and animals’, although for many generations, Tibetan nomads like the Karmapa’s family have made skilful use of the landscape of the world’s highest and largest plateau, co-existing peacefully with wildlife and protecting the land and its species. In these new nature reserves, grazing of yaks is illegal and so is the gathering of medicinal herbs.
Kate Saunders also referred to an emerging dialogue in China in which many Chinese scientists are calling for strengthened participation of science-based conservation with Tibetan stewardship of the land. These perspectives are little-known outside but drawing attention to them honors the Karmapa’s nomadic heritage. And as China seeks to gain endorsement from governments and international institutions for its new nature reserves, there is a need to challenge official China’s narrative on the nomads.
Ringu Tulku said that in Tibet before 1959, people looked at the environment with a very personal connection that could be called spiritual, and that remains the case today. He spoke about a Wechat conversation with Tibetans in Tibet who 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.
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 and castes. 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.
The Karmapa traces his interest in the environment to planting a tree at the age of around four, when there was a severe drought in his home area of eastern Tibet. He was born and brought up into a drogpa or nomad family. He was asked to plant a sapling at the source of a spring, and led prayers with the aspiration that the tree would provide water for all living beings nearby.
The Karmapa said: “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. 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.
James Thornton, founder and CEO of Client Earth, said: “We are in desperate need of a new story [on climate change]; for instance in medieval Europe Christianity was the most compelling story and anything that didn’t fit was left out. Today it’s an economic story – models of ownership and material value. A new story could promote beauty and connection and not promote ownership. Environmentalists have historically told angry negative stories – we need to tell positive, solution-based stories. We need to create an ecological civilisation (post-industrial) with all the changes that would entail – renewable energy and so on.” James Thornton, whose firm succeeded in a lengthy legal battle with the UK government over atmospheric pollution earlier this month, forcing an admission that it would publish its strategy to improve air quality in Britain, added that he had been working in the PRC and that interest in the idea of an ‘ecological civilisation’ as mooted by Xi Jinping appeared genuine; he raised the question of how we could contribute to this?
Various speakers raised the importance of ensuring access to nature to a digital generation, acknowledging that many habits are formed by the age of 12, as well as the solace that nature can bring under extreme circumstances. Producer Tracey Seaward spoke about a meeting with a Syrian family at a refugee camp in Athens; the father was growing plants in a desolate scrubby patch of land, which was attracting children and bringing them together to plant seeds and nurture the flowers.
In his concluding remarks, the Karmapa 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 full title is Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Fiona Reynolds is also author of ‘The Fight for Beauty: Our Path to a Better Future’.
 Article by the Karmapa in Conservation Biology, Vol 25, No 6, 2011
 See account on the Karmapa Foundation website, posted on May 26, 2017,
‘Air pollution: the battle to save Britain from suffocation, The Guardian, May 7, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/07/air-pollution-clientearth-james-thornton-court-victory
[Wednesday, June 14, 2017 19:04]
By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, June 14: Canadian parliamentarians David Sweet and James Maloney in their respective speeches at the House of Common in welcoming the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who is on his first-ever Canadian tour, urged the world and the Canadian government to stand up against China.
“We welcome the 17th Karmapa on his first visit to Canada. His life should remind us of the dire human rights situation in the so-called autonomous region of Tibet. At 14, he fled his home amidst the tyrannous efforts of China to persecute the people of Tibet through forced assimilation and restricting religion to the point of destroying religious buildings,” said Member of Parliament David Sweet suggesting the freedom enjoyed by every Canadian should be upheld for all mankind.
Highlighting how the condition had deteriorated in the sixteen years since he fled into exile, the MP said that the conditions in Tibet have gotten worse.
“This liberal government needs to stand up to the People’s Republic of China and advocate for truly autonomous region for Tibetans, so they may enjoy the freedoms you and I do,” said MP David Sweet in his address to the House.
MP James Maloney in his welcome speech said that he and his colleagues commend for the young religious leader’s commitment to helping youth, for his dedication to social and environmental responsibility and for bringing Buddhist teaching to the modern world.
“His Holiness touches many lives by making Buddhism and meditation accessible to people through technology and electronic resources. He is helping thousands of people going through mental challenges find peace,” said MP James Maloney.
The MP from Etobicoke—Lakeshore, where Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre has been established since 2004, added that he wishes Karmapa a ‘meaningful’ trip.
The Karmapa arrived in Canada on for a month long visit on May 29 and is scheduled to have a public event at Calgary today and June 18th to 24th in Vancouver. The first trip to Canada follows another maiden trip to the United Kingdom.
The final stop on his Canada tour took the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Vancouver-Richmond to the country’s first traditional Tibetan monastery.
On the 17th of June at 5pm, the Gyalwang Karmapa arrived in Vancouver-Richmond, British Columbia, at Thrangu Monastery. The sounds of the gyalings (trumpets) filled the air as His Holiness stepped onto the red carpet decorated with the auspicious symbols. With the Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Dungse Lama Pema at his side, His Holiness made his way into the shrine room, walking slowly, making eye contact left and right with those that lined the walkway to welcome him.
Canadian monastics from Kagyu centers across the country, representatives from Tibetan Associations from British Columbia, Seattle and Portland, as well as main sponsors of the Thrangu monastery Eva Lau and Margaret Lee, along with local government officials and many devoted students were on hand on this auspicious occasion – His Holiness’ first visit to Canada.
“It has long been the wish of many Canadian students – who are long time students of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa as well as Thrangu Rinpoche and many Canadian practitioners of various Kagyu traditions – to see your Holiness, to be in your presence, “ said Jeff Chao, master of ceremony of the welcoming ceremony. “We are very fortunate to have this come true today.”
“We would like to extend the warmest welcome to His Holiness, not only to this monastery but to Vancouver and Canada for the very first time,” said Chao.
Lama Pema, who gave the keynote speech, spoke of how long the wish has been held for His Holiness to come to Canada. “This is an extraordinary event,” he said, “In particular I think it is through the power of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and the Gyalwang Karmapa’s generating bodhicitta in the past that His Holiness has been able to set foot in Thrangu Monastery.”
Lama Pema spoke of the profound connection between Thrangu Tulkus and the Karmapas. Numerous Thrangu Tulkus – the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th were all recognized by Karmapas. As well, the current Thrangu Rinpoche – the 9th incarnation — was recognized by the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje.
“The various incarnations of the Karmapas have been the masters of the Thrangu Tulkus and have regarded them with great affection bestowing upon them all the pith instructions,” said Lama Pema.
“They have cared for Thrangu Tulkus for many lives.”
His Holiness performed a long life ceremony for Thrangu Rinpoche at the Kagyu Monlam in 2010 as well as in Varanasi in 2016. “Because of the frequent blessings for his long life, Thrangu Rinpoche has been able to live long, and this is the great kindness.”
“On behalf of all the lamas and the students of this monastery, I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart His Holiness for heeding our request and showing the great kindness of coming to this monastery. I pray that your His Holiness can return to this monastery and all the Karma Kagyu dharma centres in Canada many times and share the peaceful and cool nectar of the dharma ripening and liberating all sentient beings,” said Lama Pema.
His Holiness gave a brief speech in which he touched on the location the of the Thrangu monastery – on a street known locally as “the Highway to Heaven,” given its numerous temples and churches.
“The entire country of Canada, particular this area of Vancouver, is a place where there are various temples of different faiths as you can see when you drive up to this monastery,” said His Holiness. “What I think this shows is that all the different religious have a great respect and great regard and affection for each other. This is actually a special feature of Canada.”
He said he was pleased to come to a monastery built in Tibetan traditional style. “Places like this are hard to find in North America!” he said. “For all of us to gather in this place gives me a very special feeling.”
He ended by wishing Thrangu Rinpoche a long life and everyone else “a tashi delek.”
Local government officials attending the event included Terry Beech, Member of Parliament for Burnaby North-Seymour, Jas Johal, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough, Linda Reid, MLA for Richmond East and John Yap, MLA for Richmond-Steveston.
As Johal said in his speech: “Like any good strong friendship, one must visit many, many times to strengthen that friendship. Please do not be a stranger!”
The 17th Gwalyang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis delighted Canadians in a brilliant afternoon dialogue at the University of British Columbia’s Chan Centre in Vancouver on June 22, 2017.
The afternoon’s conversation was engaging, insightful and inspiring and also had a relaxed and intimate fireside feeling.
Much warmth came from the traditional First Nations’ welcome, both the Coast Salish traditional dances and Musqueam Grand Chief Ed John’s welcome.
“I want to put a blanket around you and stand you up with honour and to respect the dignity that you bring to all of us,” said Chief John, wrapping a Musqueam woven blanket around his Holiness (which his Holiness wore throughout the afternoon). “You bring universal truths to all of us.”
His Holiness received the blanket with a thumbs up, visibly moved. “For all of the members of the First Nations here today there is a very long distance between Canada and Tibet, but I feel there’s a real closeness in our hearts and in our minds.”
His Holiness came to Vancouver, Canada, to speak with Mr. Davis about His Holiness’ most recent book: Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society. As Mr. Davis stated, the book is not so much about the Buddha dharma but about “key challenges of our age examined through the Buddhist way of thinking.”
Mr. Davis started out the afternoon by underscoring our collective good fortune to be in face-to-face dialogue with His Holiness – something we sometimes take for granted. He spoke of one trip to Lhasa, Tibet, where he had been shown a hidden devotion chamber dedicated to His Holiness the Dalai Lama – something for which this Tibetan woman could have been imprisoned.
Mr. Davis mentioned (regretfully, he said, as it caused her pain) that he’d had the good fortune of meeting the Dalai Lama. “Instantly she began to weep,” he said. “In that moment I knew just what it meant for the Tibetan people to be in the presence of the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa.”
Throughout the afternoon dialogue, all kinds of issues were laid on the table, from consumerism and cultural diversity to apathy and courage.
Mr. Davis opened with the theme of interconnectedness and asked His Holiness how things would be in the world if we actually felt our interconnectedness.
His Holiness said that because of the social imprints that society creates within us we have “old ways of looking at things” and that this habituated way of seeing the world keeps us from realizing our interconnectedness and “how things actually are.”
“We need to find a different way of looking at things,” he said. “Normally we think of ‘us’ and ‘them’ but actually we need to examine: What is this ‘us’ and ‘them?’ Usually we think of ourselves as independent and not dependent on others.”
Mr. Davis, referring to His Holiness’ book, spoke about the emotional disconnection and isolation that many people feel when using the internet, despite the connectivity it seemingly creates. “We’re engaging in pixels and nothing more,” said Mr. Davis.
His Holiness said that actual connection – the emotional connection – is what happens when people are together. “When you see a friend you speak to that friend, you hold their hands,” he said. He said the technology is just a tool and doesn’t represent the actual connection. “This difference gives us one of the greatest challenges in this era.”
Mr. Davis spoke of His Holiness’ strong stand on the environment, quoting from the book: “’There is no basis in thinking that the earth’s water belongs to some people more than others. Our thirst is felt equally.’”
“I’m fascinated by His Holiness’ childhood. Is that where your environmental commitment came from?”
“I think so,” answered His Holiness. “Before being Karmapa I had an opportunity to live a very traditional life, very close to nature.” He was eating the same types of foods and wearing the same style clothes that his ancestors had always relied on.
But at the age of 7, His Holiness’s life changed dramatically when he was recognized as the Karmapa and already at the age of 8 he was giving teachings to 20,000 people, said Mr. Davis.
“In Tibet we didn’t talk about protecting the environment, though, of course, traditionally we had respect for the environment,” said His Holiness. “Only when I got to India we started to speak about having respect for the environment and made it a task that needed to be done.”
Subsequently Mr. Davis moved the issue of consumerism onto the table and asked His Holiness to comment on the following sentence from the book: “Greed is a hunger that only intensifies the more we feed it.”
His Holiness responded by saying that we humans are generally not able to distinguish between “wants and needs.”
“We get them mixed up,” he said, adding the society increases our desires and that television and newspapers makes it seem “like we need to have everything.”
“If there were five or six Earths we still would still have difficulty fulfilling our desires,” His Holiness said.
Mr. Davis then moved to a discussion about cultural diversity. “The fundamental lesson of anthropology is that every culture has something to say and deserves to be heard,” he said.
Mr. Davis stated that many of the world’s voices are not heard and that in this day and age only half of the world’s 7000 languages are spoken to children. He asked His Holiness: “What do we need to be doing to address language loss, erosion of culture and supporting the rights of all people to have their voices heard?”
His Holiness gave a comprehensive answer. He said that most people only think of politics when they consider the region of Tibet, but that in fact the region has the largest reserve of freshwater, glaciers and ice after the North Pole and South Pole. “So what happens in Tibet affects the entire continent of Asia.”
He said that to protect the Tibetan environment, it’s important to protect the Tibetan culture and language. Why? Because these are all intimately connected with each other. “Tibetans have lived thousands of years in that environment and have deep understanding of that environment. The way the Tibetans look at and interact shows the thousands of years of wisdom that comes from that. It’s important we have that wisdom and knowledge.”
Mr. Davis quoted another memorable line from the book: “Apathy kills more than any other single disease,” he read. “What did His Holiness mean?” he asked.
His Holiness responded by saying that human beings are naturally born with a capacity for empathy but that this is diminished as we grow older. Our lack of empathy is apparent, he said, given the many people in the world without food and clothing and subjected to terrors of war.
“We’re lacking in affection in terms of our practical actions,” he said. “If we look at the world there is no reason for so many people to suffer so terribly.”
His Holiness said that when we think about changing the world we often think about how we can change how certain groups of people think. Typically we look outside of ourselves. “What’s most important is we look inside and see how much can we change ourselves,” he said.
Mr. Davis ended the dialogue on the theme of courage, a concept that runs throughout the book.
“We all have responsibility for each other,” His Holiness said. “We all have the same feelings of pleasure, the same feelings of pain. This is not a philosophical viewpoint; we’re all emotionally connected.”
“In order to feel that connection of compassion we need to have that courage,” he continued. “We have to be willing to be more involved, and we have to be willing to take more upon ourselves.”
Interconnected: Embracing Life in our Global Society
by The Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje
ebook ISBN 978-1-61429-420-7
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