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The Karmapa Meets the Villagers of Langenfeld

2014.06.01i

June 1, 2014, Kamalashila Institute, Langenfeld, Germany

Kamalashila Institute came to Langenfeld in 1999 when it purchased the monastery of the White Fathers, a Christian order of monks whose mission in Africa was to train their followers in various crafts. Their building had been empty for many years, and the village was concerned to have the right people purchase it. So before approving the sale to Kamalashila, the village council sent members to the Institute’s previous location to speak with its neighbors, who gave favorable feedback, and so the sale went through.

Kamalashila opened with a grand ceremony, presided over by Thrangu Rinpoche, Tenga Rinpoche, and many lamas; it was made festive by the performance of the Twenty-One Tara Dances and the rich pageantry of the Tibetan Buddhist rituals. On this day, the doors were opened wide to the villagers, who were all invited to come, and this inaugurated a positive relationship with the village that continues to this day.

The citizens of Langenfeld are Rhinelanders, Read the rest of this article

The Healing Continues: The Medicine Buddha Empowerment

May 31, 2014 Nuebergring, Germany

Kamalashila Institute, the Karmapa’s seat in Lagenfeld, Germany, is located in an area connected with healing for hundreds and hundreds of years. In pre-Celtic times, it was a holy place for healers, who gathered here. There are also strong Christian connections. Just three kilometers below the village is a small chapel dedicated to Saint Jodokus (600CE to 668CE), the patron saint of hospitals, hospices, and farming. In a story similar to the Buddha’s, Jodokus was the eldest prince, next in line to rule the kingdom, but he renounced his heritage to live the life of an ascetic in the woods for eight years. Afterward he traveled widely and became famous in his lifetime for healing powers and good works.

Centuries later, a duke from the Lagenfeld area was leaving for the Crusades. He made the commitment that if he came back alive, he would build a chapel for St. Jodokus. The duke did return, and to fulfill his promise, he began to construct a chapel to shelter a relic of the saint. The duke gathered stacks of wood and piles of stones near his castle. One day, a huge flood came Read the rest of this article

Purifying our negative actions: Vajrasattva Empowerment

2014.05.31.Vj
Nuerburgring, Germany
31st May, 2014

On the final day of the teachings the emphasis turned towards practice requirements for Buddhist practitioners. In keeping with the overarching theme of the ngondro or preliminary practices, the morning session was dedicated to a Vajrasattva empowerment. This is necessary for those who wish to complete the second part of the special Mahamudra preliminaries, the Vajrasattva Purification practice.

Shortly before nine o’clock, His Holiness arrived to perform the preparatory rites of self-initiation. The audience of his devotees supported his activities by softly chanting “Karmapa Khyenno”—“Karmapa, think of me”. After an hour of preparation, His Holiness exited the auditorium and then returned swiftly to take his seat. Joining his palms together in traditional greeting, he stood on the throne smiling warmly. As His Holiness gazed out over the audience, embracing everyone with his love and compassion, his face was reminiscent of the bodhisattva Dorje Sempa [Vajrasattva in Read the rest of this article

The Empowerment of the Eighty-Four Mahasiddhas

2014.05.30
May 30, 2014, afternoon

On the morning of the 30th, a double-tiered shrine was set up next to the Karmapa’s throne. On the top level, the central focus was the image of a deep blue Vajradhara (Dorjechang),surrounded by the powerful eighty-four mahasiddhas. It is flanked by two vases with their curving spouts and peacock feathers. Infront of Vajradhara is placed a metal mandala plate with heaped rice and next to it, a glistening long life vase. On the level below are the seven traditional offering bowls, one of which has a tall sculpted torma, an offering of nourishment, which is decorated with two circular flower ornaments in red and blue. All these blessed objects on the shrine are the basis for a vast mental offering that fills space.

This empowerment of the eighty-four mahasiddhas is the first one the Karmapa will give in Europe. The siddha, or accomplished masters’ tradition, is a lay one that includes both men and women. They were the great meditators of India, whose lineage comes into the Kagyu school through Tilopa, who Read the rest of this article

Karmapa’s heart advice on Dharma practice


Nuerburgring, 30th May, 2014

Teaching Day 2: Session 1

In the first of two sessions this morning, the 17th Karmapa clarified what it means to really practice Dharma.

First he dealt with some misconceptions. Many people have mistaken expectations about Tibetan Buddhism. They believe that Tibetan Buddhist practices have magical properties or miraculous powers that can solve all problems; if you’re ill, a Lama or prayers will heal you; if you have economic problems you will become rich. Though some advanced practitioners may be able to cure illness and help others, His Holiness warned that this is very unusual. The practice of Dharma is not intended to solve such problems.“The practice of Dharma is there to solve the most fundamental problems in life,” he explained. What are these problems? However healthy we are, however successful or rich, there is no guarantee that we will be happy. We all experience mental suffering, agitation, and negative emotions. How then can we ever find peace of mind and happiness? The answer is that we can only become truly happy by transforming our minds: “The main purpose of Dharma practice is to train and Read the rest of this article