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Kamalashila Institute bids farewell to the 17th Karmapa

Kamalashila Institute,
2nd June, 2014

At 8.30am, the two resident lamas, Lama Kelzang Wangdi and Lama Sonam Rabgye, the Chöpon, and Kamalashila Institute staff gathered in the shrine room for a final audience with His Holiness, in order to say goodbye. Everyone had worked so hard to make this visit successful, and it was obvious from His Holiness’ encouraging smiles, that he too greatly appreciated their efforts.

The simple farewell ceremony opened with a short recitation of prayers from the daily liturgy, followed by a mandala offering. Speaking on behalf of everyone, Tobias Roeder described the previous twelve weeks as “the most bumpy and blissful ride we’ve ever had in our lives”, and yet everything had fallen into place in the end. He spoke of His Holiness’ presence in Kamalashila as “a great, great blessing”, and, supported by all those there, made the heartfelt request, “Please come again and again!”

Stefan Storm came forward to offer His Holiness a unique memento from Kamalashila Institute to commemorate the visit–a gold and silver handcrafted watchcase. Wrought by gold and silversmiths in Hamburg, this ‘watch’ had been designed as a mandala of the universe, and not for telling the time. Inside, what would have been the watch Read the rest of this article

A gift for the future: The 17th Karmapa plants a tree at Kamalashila

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Kamalashila Institute
1st June, 2014

On several occasions during the first part of his teachings in Germany, the 17th Karmapa has emphasised the personal responsibility we all share for protecting and preserving the natural environment. In 2009 he founded Khoryug, an organisation of Buddhist monasteries, nunneries and centres dedicated to protecting the fragile environment of the Himalayan region. In addition, the Karmapa has sponsored five conferences with training workshops to ensure that his own monks and nuns are fully briefed on environmental matters. Faced with worldwide deforestation, his active concern has led him to urge all monasteries and Dharma centres in the Karma Kagyu tradition, to plant as many trees as possible, and he has made it his own practice to plant trees wherever he goes.

His environmental commitment marries well with German tradition, where planting a tree is a particularly significant gesture. Germans love to quote Martin Luther: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I Read the rest of this article

Source of peace and blessings: His Holiness inaugurates the stupa at Kamalashila

2014.06.01s
1st June, 2014
Kamalashila Institute

More than five hundred people, invited guests, volunteers and staff, gathered in the grounds of Kamalashila in front of the stupa for its inauguration by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. After several days of cloud and some rain, the weather had cleared and the brilliant -white stupa with its gold-plated copper pinnacle stood proud against a bright blue sky.

The stupa – chorten in Tibetan –is a unique religious architectural form, representing the physical presence of Lord Buddha, and of great significance in several Buddhist traditions, including Tibetan Buddhism. There are eight designs of stupa, each symbolising an important event during the Buddha’s lifetime. The stupa at Kamalashila celebrates the Buddha’s Enlightenment. A niche in the upper section of the central shrine contains an image of Lord Buddha with his right hand in the bhumisparsa mudra. Translated as ‘touching the earth’, it is the hand position which signifies the moment of the Buddha’s enlightenment. His Read the rest of this article

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