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KARMAPA PAST ACTIVITIES: January-March, 2010

10 day tIBETAN Shoton festival Begins

March 27, 2010 - Dharamsala

This beginning of the 15th Shoton festival, an annual celebration of Tibetan Opera (Lhamo), was blessed and inaugurated by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. The event opened at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in Dharamsala on 27th March, 2010. His Holiness presided at the TIPA performance as the chief guest. From all over India and Nepal, Tibetan Opera associations from Tibetan communities came together to perform Tibetan dramatic arts. Through dramatic performances of song and choreographed dance, vibrant traditional Tibetan artistic practices were expressed.

In Tibet, Shoton is held annually from the end of the sixth month to the middle of the seventh month (according to the Tibetan Lunar calendar) and traditionally celebrates the coming of spring and a generous harvest

This year, the participating performance company will travel to six Tibetan Schools in the Dharamsala area, to introduce this historic Tibetan art and opera to the younger Tibetan generations. The school tour commences from Lower TCV on 29 March, 2010.

The Shoton will conclude on 6th April, 2010.

By Karma Phuntsok

10 day Tibetan Shoton Festival

 

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Dialectical examination of Gyuto Tantric University

March 12, 2010 - Gyuto

His Holiness presided over the two-day Tantric Dialectical Examination of Gyuto Tantric University.

The examination is held every three years. In the presence of His Holiness and Khenpos, over 70 Geshe Lharimpas who have completed their studies of the four classes of tantra: Kriya Tantra, Carya Tantra, Yoga Tantra, and Annuttarayoga Tantra, took their Tantric Dialectical Examination. All the examinees came from the main three monasteries: Sera, Drepung, Gaden, and other 6 monasteries.

The previous Dalai Lama, The 13th Dalai Lama, introduced the first Tantric Dialectical Examination at Gyuto Tantric Monastery in Tibet.

Dialectical Examination of Gyuto Tantric University

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Special Announcement from the Tsurphu Labrang

March 4, 2010

The Office of Administration of His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa (Tsurphu Labrang) at Gyuto Tantric University has been reorganised. The new structure will take effect from March 4th, 2010, for a term of one year, with responsibilities allocated as follows:

1. Thupten Sherab: Director of Finance and Accounts & Secretary Tibetan
tl.finance.account@gmail.com, 9418294401

2. Lama Phuntsok: Director of Information and Communication
tl.info.co@gmail.com, 9882735918

3. Karma Tenkyong Wangpo: Director of Internal Affairs
tl.internal@gmail.com, 9418540297

4. Gompo Tsering: Director of External Affairs
tl.external@gmail.com, 9816045556

5. Karma Thinley Yongdu - Director of Supplies and Procurement, 1892-236637

6. Chemed Choegyal: Secretary (English)
tl.sy.eng@gmail.com, 9816315336

7. Sonam Tsewang: Director of Legal Matters/Delhi Office
tl.delhioffice@gmail.com, 9818443684

From Information and Communication.

 

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Appointment of the new Administrative Office

March 4, 2010 - Gyuto

At 7 am this morning, His Holiness bestowed the inaugural prayers for the appointment of new office bearers who have now been assigned to look after the different sections of Karmapa's Office of Administration (Tsurphu Labrang).

The prayer was attended by both Chagzoes, Ngodup Palzom.

The newly appointed office bearers are:

Thubten Sherab

Lama Phuntsok

Cheme Choegyal

Gonpo Tsering

Sonam Tsewang

Appointment of the new Administrative Office

 

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Delhi Teachings and Long Life Prayers for His Holiness The Dalai Lama

February 28, 2010 - Delhi

His Holiness gave a Chenrezig empowerment and "Mani" transmission to a large gathering of people, mainly from Himalayan region and Tibetans, at Buddha Jayanti Park in New Delhi. The Himalayan Buddhist Cultural Association of Delhi organized the public teaching.

March 2, 2010 - Dharamshala

Gyalwang Karmapa attended the Tenshug (long-life prayer offering) ceremony for His Holiness the Dalai Lama on March 2nd, as a collective expression of gratitude and reverence for his leadership, organized by Tibetan Government-in-Exile. Kyabje Sakya Trizin conducted the ceremony that lasted for over three hours.

The ceremony was attended by Tibetan lamas, the Tibetan Prime Minister Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche and his cabinet members, speaker and deputy speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, heads of the autonomous bodies, and other officials of the Tibetan Government.

Gyalwang Karmapa will be attending the seven days teaching of Sangwa Due-pe Delwa Shidak from His Holiness Dalai Lama at Tsuklagkhang from March 3-9.

Delhi Teachings and Long Life Prayers for His Holiness The Dalai Lama

 

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GYALWAng KARMAPA’S TOUR OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH INDIA

February 21st to 24th, 2010 - Nagpur

By the invitation of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and the India Tibet Friendship Society, His Holiness visited Nagpur, Maharashtra from the 21st to the 24th of February, 2010.

On route from the airport to Ravi Bhavan, his place of residence, His Holiness visited Deekshabhoomi and felicitated two memorials of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, also known as Baba Saheb Ambedkar. (He was the person who was responsible for bringing about the Buddhist Movement in India amongst the Indian people. He was also the person who wrote the Constitution of India, which was amongst his many achievements.) In the afternoon, His Holiness had a press meeting at Partakar Bhavan, Sitabuldi, and thereafter proceeded to a reception and a religious discourse organized by the People’s Democratic Movement. The program was hosted by the PDM and presided over by Dr. Nitin Raut, Honorable Cabinet Miinster, Govt. of Maharashtra. The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) is an educational, cultural, social, literary and intellectual forum based on the philosophy of Tathagat Mahakarunik Bhagwang Gautam Buddha and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar based in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

In the evening His Holiness had an informal meeting, dialogue, and dinner with representatives of various other religious heads of Nagpur.

On the 22nd, His Holiness visited Shantivan, which is a museum displaying the life and relics of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, and also visited other important Buddhist and religious institutions, such as the Buddhist Education Centre at Naglok, the Monastery at Buddhabhumi, and Dragon Palace. Thereafter, His Holiness proceeded to the Tibetan Settlement at Goathangoan in Gondi District, where he was accorded a traditional welcome by the monasteries, lay community, and school children of the settlement.

On the 23rd, His Holiness gave a teaching in the morning, and in the afternoon he visited the school, the elderly home, the medical centre, the Settlement Office, and the Nyingma Monastery.

On the 24th, His Holiness gave a Long Life initiation and teachings to the communities of the Settlement. The Settlement hosted a cultural show and Tibetan opera for His Holiness in the afternoon.

On the 25th, His Holiness departed for Nagpur Airport at 6:00am, and en route, he was hosted a reception by the India Tibet Friendship Society, at the Circuit House, in Bandara District. After the felicitation ceremony, His Holiness gave a brief religious talk to the gathering, and thereafter proceeded to visit centers of other religions, beginning with Reshmi Bhavan (i.e. a Hindu Temple in Nagpur) and was felicitated by Dr. Gupta, Head of the RSS Office. Thereafter His Holiness visited the Gurudwar (A Sikh Temple) and held a brief community prayer with the members of the Gurudwara. He then proceeded to visit the Chatholic Church of St Francis De Sales and the SFS College, where he interacted with the members of the Church and gave a talk to the gathering there. On route to the Airport of Nagpur, he also visited the Masjid and the Bhrama Kumari Ashram, where he was accorded a warm welcome.

Upon arriving from Nagpur at Trivandrum Airport, Kerala, His Holiness was received by Mr. Anand Kumar, Trust Founder and Executive Director of Sai Gramam and Sri Sathya Sai Orphanage Trust, Kerala.

On the 26th, in the morning, His Holiness provided a brief talk to a gathering at the Sai Ashram. In the afternoon, after a press meeting, he inaugurated a seminar on “Tibetan Cultures and Spirituality”, which was presided over by Sri C. Divakaran, Honorable Minister for Civil Supplies, Kerala.

On the 27th, in the morning, His Holiness inaugurated the Buddha Temple at Sai Gramam, Thonakkal, Kerala. In the afternoon, he proceeded to the Airport after a lunch hosted by the Trust Founder and Executive Director, Mr. Anand Kumar. The lunch was hosted at Mr. Kumar's residence.

Karmapa's Tour of Central and South India

 

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Gyalwang Karmapa's Teachings on Compassion Concluded in Delhi

February 20th, 2010 - Foundation for Universal Responsibility, Delhi

Continuing his teachings in Delhi, Gyalwang Karmapa today delivered a talk on compassion in the morning, and concluded the series in the afternoon by offering a transmission and guided meditation on the practice of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion. The teachings on ‘Cultivating Compassion’ were organized by the Foundation for Universal Responsibility, an organization founded by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with the Nobel Peace Prize awarded him in 1989.

During the morning session, Gyalwang Karmapa affirmed that compassion is a basic quality innate to us all. Using the analogy of the sun hidden behind clouds, he explained that although our compassion may not be apparent or fully manifest at the moment, it remains present with us as part of our nature despite whatever temporary impediments may conceal it from view. The obstacles that prevent our compassion from shining forth can be cleared away precisely because, unlike compassion, they are not integral to our basic nature.

Drawing on Buddhist teachings on sugatagarbha or buddha nature, His Holiness explained that what may be described as the seed of enlightenment is naturally present with all sentient beings. What allows that seed to grow, and what drives the limitless increase of our qualities, is compassion, he said.

Turning to practical tools for developing our compassion, Gyalwang Karmapa took what he called an eclectic approach, selectively drawing on different aspects of various Buddhist presentations. His Holiness began by underscoring the importance of having specific objects of our compassion. At times, he commented, when we try to include all sentient beings, our focus is too vague and our compassion becomes something abstract. He recommended instead to begin with a particular person whose kindness to us we feel clearly. Generally for this practice we take our birth mother, as someone whose great love and care for us we are able to feel vividly, although His Holiness acknowledged that not everyone has the same experience in their relationship to their parents. In any case, once we have been able to generate an intense feeling of compassion towards whatever person we are taking as our object, we then extend it to include others who are similar to them.

Gyalwang Karmapa observed that one common technique for enhancing compassion, known as the sevenfold cause and effect practice, instructs us to begin by reflecting that all sentient beings have been our mothers in one life or another, and thus have all shown us great kindness in the past. But those who have little conviction in the existence of past lives might instead simply reflect that everything we receive even just within this lifetime comes from others. Thus all others have been of great benefit to us in this life. The world today has become much smaller, and it is increasingly clear that what affects one corner of the world can impact the entire world. We who live together on this planet are very much dependent on one another, and in fact share this world due to our strong karmic connections with one another. All the positive things in our lives come from others, His Holiness stressed. This is true not only of the material goods that sustain our lives, but of such intangible things as our reputation and fame. Even if you arrogantly feel you are the most important of all, that pride or sense of superiority itself is utterly dependent on the existence of others, he noted!

Thus our interdependence on others, and the fact that our wellbeing depends on them is not a thought exercise, Gyalwang Karmapa said. It is simply a recognition of the actual reality of our situation. By familiarizing ourselves with the fact of others’ kindness to us, we can come to feel great affection and tenderness towards them. Just as children can come to feel tremendous affection for their stuffed animals, not wanting any harm to come to them or to be parted from them, so too we can habituate ourselves to feel love and compassion for others.

His Holiness cautioned that whatever compassion we do develop should not be kept hidden in our heart or left behind when we leave our shrine room. Compassion needs to be expressed in our actions, with our speech and physical gestures, he said.

In the afternoon, Gyalwang Karmapa gave an oral transmission of the Chenrezig practice known as All-Pervading Benefit of Beings, composed by the fifteenth century Tibetan master Thangtong Gyalpo. His Holiness explained that he was raised in an environment saturated with the practice of Chenrezig. In particular, his maternal grandmother and his mother had both been deeply devoted to the practice of Chenrezig and frequently chanted his mantra. His Holiness felt that growing up surrounded by the sound of Chenrezig’s mantra had left important imprints on him. Some parents bequeath material wealth to their children, but His Holiness left home too early to inherit his family’s wealth. Rather, what he himself had received as his patrimony—or, in his case as a sort of maternal inheritance, he said—was the practice of Chenrezig. For that reason, His Holiness stated, when he makes Dharma connections with those who come to see him at his residence in Dharamsala he does so by transmitting the Chenrezig practice and mantra to them. He hopes in that way to be creating familial bonds of affection with those he meets. By transmitted the Chenrezig mantra and practice to the group gathered today, he said, it what his wish that those present be joined with him in one large and loving family.

Gyalwang Karmapa then gave a brief explanation of the meaning of the name of Chenrezig and the symbolism of the four arms and other attributes. This was followed by the transmission itself, after which His Holiness guided a brief meditation and visualization of the practice. At the conclusion of the teaching event, His Holiness personally presented each participant with a rosary (mala) and a copy of his book, Heart Advice Book for the Karmapa.

Many of the attendees of the event remained on site long after His Holiness had departed, exchanging impressions and sharing the joy of having have been present during this extraordinary set of teachings.

 

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Gyalwang Karmapa Commences Two-Day Teachings on Compassion in Delhi

February 19th & 20th, 2010 - India Habitat Center, Delhi

The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa today commenced a two-day series of teachings in Delhi at the invitation of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility. The foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded by His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to him in 1989. The topic for this second set of teachings the Gyalwang Karmapa has given at the foundation was ‘Cultivating Compassion.’ As the talks were addressed to a general audience including Buddhists and those curious about Buddhism, the Gyalwang Karmapa offered practical tools for developing greater compassion, while philosophically grounding his call for greater compassion in Buddhist teachings on interdependence.

The teachings consisted of four sessions, morning and afternoon and included a question-and-answer period at the end of each session. The first morning opened with a warm welcome from Rajiv Mehrotra, an award-winning filmmaker and talk show host who manages the foundation at His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s behest.

The Gyalwang Karmapa began his first talk by noting that compassion is core to all Buddhist traditions, and can rightly be called the essence of the Buddha dharma. He then drew a distinction between compassion that focuses outwards and compassion that focuses inwards. When we look outwards and observe the suffering of sentient beings, and feel a wish to remove their sufferings, this is what we generally call compassion. When we look inwards and observe our own suffering and wish to end it, this is called renunciation. These two forms of ‘compassion’ are distinguished primarily by the object on which they focus. Different Buddhist vehicles may stress one more than the other, yet Gyalwang Karmapa noted that both consist in the basic wish to remove suffering, either that of oneself or of others.

Continuing to clarify the relationship between working for ourselves and working for others, His Holiness commented that the scriptures speak of three types of bodhisattva. The highest are able to accomplish both their own aims and the aims of others at the same time, the middling type accomplishes the aims of others and the lowest accomplishes their own aims. Although the idea that there are bodhisattvas working to further their own aims might seem counterintuitive, in fact, His Holiness explained, without taming our own minds it is unrealistic to expect that we will be able to tame others. This does not mean that bodhisattvas give up the idea of working for others: far from it. Rather, some bodhisattvas—who may be likened to beginners like us on the path—recognize that they are currently unable to benefit others, yet they make strong aspiration to be able to do so in the future. On that basis, they engage first in the three higher trainings of ethics, concentration and wisdom in order to equip themselves to be able to benefit others.

In this sense, His Holiness urged the audience to cultivate affection for themselves. To truly cherish ourselves entails recognizing what is of real benefit and what is of harm to us, His Holiness emphasized. To that end, we need to think deeply and use our basic analytical intelligence. For example, we may treat others with contempt with the idea that this furthers our own interests but in fact it only harms us in the long run.

Although it is possible to achieve liberation from our own suffering simply by developing our wisdom, and specifically the wisdom realizing ultimate reality, this would only result in our own liberation, Gyalwang Karmapa pointed out. As principled human beings, it would be out of the question that we escape alone samsara’s cycles of suffering and leave everyone else behind to continue suffering. Especially in Buddhist teachings where we are urged to consider that all sentient beings have been our mothers in past lives and have raised us with great tenderness and kindness, it would be an act of ingratitude for us to strive solely to free ourselves from suffering.

Yet to be effective in working for the well-being of others we need to understand their individual dispositions, capacities and needs. Gyalwang Karmapa commented that this requires great wisdom and, ultimately, omniscience, since sentient beings are infinite and so are their dispositions. For that reason, out of compassion wishing to alleviate the sufferings of all sentient beings, bodhisattvas seek as their final goal the omniscient state of buddhahood.

In the case of our own cultivation of compassion, since at the moment we ourselves are also inundated with an ocean of sufferings, we cannot simply neglect our own condition and solely seek to care for others. Rather, we must cultivate a sense of affection and genuine love towards ourselves, and care for ourselves on that basis. His Holiness gave the example of wanting to make charitable donations. To do so, we need to possess wealth of our own to give, he said. In that sense, if we wish to bring about the wellbeing of others, we have a responsibility to work on our own minds as a means of developing the inner wealth to offer to them.

His Holiness opened the afternoon session with one of the initial verses from Chandrakirti’s Madhyamakavatara, or Entering the Middle Way.

The abundant harvest that is buddhahood
Has compassion as its seed, and as the moisture that makes it grow.
Compassion is what ripens into its lasting state of happiness.
Thus it is compassion that I praise first.

His Holiness stressed that the seeds of compassion that will ripen as buddhahood do not need to be bought in a store or imported from anywhere else. They are naturally present within us. But they do need to be planted and tended with care and attentiveness. Using the example of his own experience as a small child in a nomad family in Tibet, His Holiness recounted his own intense emotions when he saw animals brought to be slaughtered for meat. At that time he did not even know the word compassion much less what it signified, he said. Yet despite the intervening years of studying Buddhist texts and his facility in uttering such phrases as ‘may all sentient beings equaling space be happy,’ no experience of compassion he has had since then can compare to that spontaneous response to the animals’ suffering he had as a child, Gyalwang Karmapa said. This indicates that we do have the innate seeds within us, he added. But just as a tree needs roots that go deep into the ground to hold it firmly in place and to draw water that sustains the entire tree, so too we need to root compassion deeply in our hearts, and we need to allow our compassion to become stable so it can support our further growth.

In that regard, the Gyalwang Karmapa stressed the component of choice in the cultivation of compassion. If we want to plant a forest, he said, we cannot simply wait and hope that the wind might blow the seeds to some spot where the conditions are right for them to grow. Rather we must choose to begin the process, and then follow up with consistent action; not only do we need to choose to plant the seeds but also to tend them mindfully by giving them the water they need in the right amounts at the right times.

His Holiness wryly noted that he once had the thought that since there are bombs that can instantly kill hundreds of people at the same time, it would be nice if we could make a bomb of compassion that would suddenly alleviate the sufferings of hundreds when it exploded and make them all burst into delighted laughter. As wonderful as that would be, it is not possible, Gyalwang Karmapa said, precisely because ordinary bombs rob us of our lives against our will, while the development of compassion is not something that can be done to us against our will. We must voluntarily wish to develop compassion. In that sense, compassion involves personal choices, and brings us freedom. By contrast, our afflictive emotions remove our freedom and place us under their control. Compassion gives us the opportunity to take control of our own lives.

For the remainder of the day’s teachings, Gyalwang Karmapa turned his attention to the cultivation of patience or forbearance. He stressed that patience or forbearance does not imply merely putting up with adversity or forcing oneself to bear hardship. Rather, His Holiness said we must actively train ourselves to see the faults in our afflictive emotions, such as anger. This recognition must not be limited to seeing them as partially faulty, of sometimes inappropriate and other times good. Rather, we must gain a clear certainty that our anger and other afflictions are completely and fully faulty. With that certainty, we will be prepared to defend ourselves against them. Gyalwang Karmapa gave the example of a person who has already decided that they do not want to do something. If they are then asked to do it, they can say no without hesitation or doubts. In the same way, if we have determined ahead of time that there is nothing whatsoever to be gained from following our afflictive emotions, that knowledge will fortify us against them when they do arise.
Gyalwang Karmapa concluded his teaching by emphasizing that we should not view our spiritual practice as a chore or a job, since this can make it seem heavy or overly serious. Rather, we can take a more playful approach, not forcing ourselves but engaging in our practice with enthusiasm and joy.

 

Gyalwang Karmapa Commences Two-Day Teachings on Compassion in Delhi

 

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Gyalwang Karmapa’s stay at Vajra Vidya Institute Sarnath, 2010

Report of Events from January 21 – February 18, 2010

Gyalwang Karmapa Receives Teachings from Yongzin Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Fulfilling the primary purpose of his visit to Vajra Vidya Institute in Sarnath, Gyalwang Karmapa has been meeting daily with his senior tutor, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, to receive the oral transmission and commentary on Maitreya Buddha’s Five Sets of Dharma.

Hevajra Puja Cycle, January – February 2010

In 2002 to ensure that a high level of knowledge and experience of the major tantras was maintained in the Karma Kamtsang lineage, His Holiness gave various monasteries particular responsibility for the practice and study of specific tantras, and guardianship of the Hevajra tantra was entrusted to Vajra Vidya. From 13th January - 6th February, the monks of Vajra Vidya performed an extensive cycle of Hevajra practice. On February 6th, His Holiness himself attended the concluding sessions of the puja cycle.

Four Days of Teachings for International Students, 6th – 9th February, 2010

Responding to an unanticipated request from his foreign disciples present in Sarnath, His Holiness gave four evenings of impromptu teachings on Aspiration Prayer for Mahamudra (Chagchen Monlam), a text by his predecessor the Third Karmapa, Je Rangjung Dorje. The teachings were attended by a small group of just over 100 international students from 31 different countries, and will be made available online at www.kagyu.org.

Teachings to the Kagyu Association of the Central University for Tibetan Studies - 7th February, 2010

On February 7th, Gyalwang Karmapa taught on and gave the oral transmission of Community Dharma (tsog chö), a rarely-taught text by Dusum Khyenpa, the first Karmapa. The day of teachings included a morning and afternoon session. The event was opened with a welcome speech by Gen Wangchug Dorje Negi, and closed with an expression of gratitude by Khenpo Sogyal, both professors at the Central University for Tibetan Studies.

Gyalwang Karmapa addresses the staff and students at the Central University for Tibetan Studies - 11th February, 2010

His Holiness was invited to address the faculty, staff and students of the Central University for Tibetan Studies on February 11th. In his speech, the Gyalwang Karmapa emphasized the great opportunity that the university presents for followers of different Buddhist lineages to learn about and from one another, and also exhorted students to develop expertise in specific areas of study, such as social sciences. The vice chancellor of the university, Geshe Ngawang Samten, opened the function with a welcome speech. The event concluded with a warm praise of His Holiness by the university’s most senior professor, the highly respected Geshe Yeshe Thabkey.

Mahakala Puja, 8th – 12th February, 2010

From February 8th through 12th, Vajra Vidya Institute held the traditional five-day Mahakala ritual to end the old year of the Tibetan lunar calendar. His Holiness attended the entire last day of the ritual, from 4:30 am until 6:30 pm.

Gyalwang Karmapa visits the Dhamekh Stupa and Mulagandhakuti vihara, Sarnath - 13th February, 2010

Overnight rain meant that the morning was misty and cool when Gyalwang Karmapa, accompanied by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Drupon Rinpoche, set out for the Dhamekh Stupa at 8:00am. The present day stupa dates to circa 500 C.E., and was built to replace the original one erected by the Emperor Ashoka in 249 B.C.E., to mark the spot of Lord Buddha’s first sermon after his enlightenment, in the deer park at Sarnath. Gyalwang Karmapa circumambulated the stupa three times before making his way across the lawns to the nearby Mulagandhakuti vihara.

The vihara houses two sets of precious relics of Lord Buddha, fragments of calcinated bone from the cremation of his body. His Holiness first led prayers, then invited the chief monk to recite a Pali prayer. Finally, in a very rare event, the monks brought out the silver casket containing the precious relics, opened it, and then, at the request of His Holiness, allowed all present to view the relics and receive their blessing.

Concluding Sang Ritual - 13th February, 2010

On February 13th, the final day of the old year in the Tibetan calendar, Gyalwang Karmapa led a Sang Ritual of incense offering and concluding prayers and dedications.

The Year of the Iron Tiger begins - 14th February, 2010

Tibetan New Year fell on February 14th this year. At 7:00 am, in keeping with tradition, His Holiness attended a Sixteen Arhats puja and long-life prayers in the main shrine room at Vajra Vidya, to welcome in the new year. Before the puja began, the gathering of monks, nuns and lay followers presented khatas to the Buddha image, to Gyalwang Karmapa, to Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and other rinpoches. The customary special sweet rice and Tibetan butter tea were served during the ceremony and each guest received a bag of Losar kabsey.

Afterwards, His Holiness attended a small function on the lawn outside the main temple; students of Namo Buddha Branch School skilfully performed traditional Cham dances. There was a short speech in which Vajra Vidya Khenpo Lobsang thanked the Gyalwang Karmapa for coming to Vajra Vidya, and wished long-life for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for the Gyalwang Karmapa. He expressed the hope that all Tibetans, both those in Tibet and those in exile, would be able to meet again once more.

Address to Sanskrit Scholars of the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University of Varanasi - 14th February, 2010

On the afternoon of February 14th, Gyalwang Karmapa was invited to the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University of Varanasi to address a gathering of Sanskrit scholars and students. His Holiness was graciously received with extensive words of welcome and praise by the vice chancellor and senior scholars of the university, and was presented with a Sanskrit poem composed in his honour. Additionally, a room at the university has been named after him. In his remarks to the assembly, His Holiness stressed the particular debt that Tibetans owe to India in general and especially to the Sanskrit language for the Buddha dharma that was "like the sun rising" to dispel the night’s darkness when it arrived in Tibet from India.

After the speeches, Gyalwang Karmapa planted a bodhi tree in the university grounds.

 

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Losar e-Card from His Holiness Karmapa

 

10-HHKLosarCard

Click image to play e-card in Flash

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Losar greetings from The Tsurphu Labrang



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Gyalwang Karmapa's upcoming schedule, Feb 19 - 27, 2010

Teachings in Delhi at India Habitat Center - February 19-20

His Holiness Karmapa will give teachings on "Cultivating Compassion" organized by The Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, info@furhhdl.org.

Religious Discourse at Nagpur - February 21

His Holiness will give religious discourses on The Practice of Buddhism in Routine Life and Behavioral Approaches of Buddhist Layman, and Philosophy of Buddha for the Well Being of Humanity organized by People’s Democratic Movement (PDM).

Religious Discourse and Empowerment at Norgayling Tibetan Settlement, Gondia, Maharashtra - February 23

His Holiness will give a religious discourse and empowerment to the Bandara Norgayling Tibetan Settlement.

Religious Discourse and Consecration at Trivandrum, Kerela - February 25-27

His Holiness will give a religious discourse, inaugurate, and consecrate the Buddha statue at Saigramam Ashram organized by Sri Sathya Sai Orphanage Trust - Kerala: www.saigramam.org.

His Holiness will return back to Dharamshala on March 1.

 

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Gyalwang Karmapa Arrives at Vajravidya Institute in Sarnath

January 21, 2010 - Sarnath, Varanasi

Formally concluding the Bodhgaya leg of his winter tour, His Holiness departed the holy site of Buddha’s enlightenment just after mid-day and set out for Sarnath, repeating the journey Buddha Shakyumuni himself took after his enlightenment in order to teach his first circle of disciples to set the Wheel of Dharma in motion.

Meanwhile, in Sarnath, in joyful anticipation of His Holiness’ arrival, welcome gates were erected, the road was lined with white chalk and auspicious designs were painted on the approach to the temple at Vajra Vidya Institute in Sarnath. The khenpos and monks from the institute’s study program donned ceremonial hats and Dharma robes, and waited to receive His Holiness far down the road from the monastery. Closer to the monastery entrance, the road was lined with the remaining monastics and lay followers holding white khatas and peering up the road expectantly.

His Holiness arrived just after 5 pm, the noble sound of traditional Tibetan gyaling filled the air as many of those assembled leaned forward to catch their first glimpse of His Holiness.

With the yellow umbrella hovering above him, His Holiness arrived to the accompaniment of offerings of incense and music played from the roof of the monastery as well as from the welcome party on the road. Holding banners and other fluttering banners, the khenpos and monks escorted His Holiness in a regal procession onto the monastery grounds and up to the entrance of the main assembly hall. There, Gyalwang Karmapa was received by a party of dignitaries including senior faculty from the nearby Tibetan University, formerly known as the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies.

Gyalwang Karmapa’s stay in Sarnath is scheduled to last until Losar, the Tibetan New Year. During this time, he will be receiving teachings from Khenchen Yongzin Thrangu Rinpoche, his senior tutor, in this most auspicious place for Dharma teachings.



Gyalwang Karmapa Arrives at Vajravidya Institute in Sarnath

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Gyalwang Karmapa Receives Disciples on The Eve of Departure from Bodhgaya

January 10, 2010 - Bodhgaya, India

On the eve of their departure from Bodhgaya after the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, over 1,500 disciples attended a public audience granted by the Gyalwang Karmapa at Tergar Monastery. Gyalwang Karmapa offered an oral transmission and words of advice on putting His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings into practice. He spoke in Tibetan and Chinese to the large gathering, comprised predominantly of Tibetan and Bhutanese, with many international students in attendance as well.

Gyalwang Karmapa began by establishing a Dharma connection with the audience by conferring the oral transmission of the Chenrezig mantra and the practice text called All Pervading Benefit of Beings. Next, he underscored how extremely fortunate they had all been to receive teachings in the holy place of Bodhgaya from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whom we can see as Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion, in human form. Gyalwang Karmapa stated that he himself had little to add to what His Holiness the Dalai Lama had said over the past five days. He then proceeded to encapsulate the main points that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had been stressing over the course of the previous days’ teachings.

Gyalwang Karmapa reiterated the point that we need to ask ourselves whether our practice of Dharma is primarily concerned with gaining some ease and comfort in this life. If the main motivation of our practice is to experience some temporary sense of relief or relaxation, or in hopes of gaining a long life or wealth, this is a sign that we have turned the Dharma into another worldly pursuit. In our ordinary lives, we work hard to accumulate material things and surround ourselves with friends and family, but in times of trouble we need to ask ourselves just what resources we have. When problems arise, all the material goods we have expended so much effort in amassing are of no assistance. Quite often, His Holiness noted, we also find that our friends and family have little to offer either. What does help in adverse conditions is our Dharma practice, he said. Yet in order for our Dharma practice to serve as a resource to us when we encounter difficult situations in our lives, we need to engage in sincere efforts in our practice. Gyalwang Karmapa urged the audience not to content themselves with having come to a holy place, seen great lamas and received empowerments and words of Dharma from them. Most of us have already seen many high lamas and attended many such events, but collecting such experiences is not the point of Dharma practice. Rather, the point is to allow the teachings to affect real change in our hearts and minds.

Gyalwang Karmapa spurred audience members to have confidence in their own ability to change, and not to resign themselves to their negative habits. We must not console ourselves with the thought that we were born with this personality or nature, he said. Instead we should determine to make serious efforts to become kinder and more principled people. When we return to our homes after the time receiving teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the holy site of Bodhgaya, the friends and family we left behind should note some change for the better in us.

Following this talk, delivered in Tibetan and translated into English, His Holiness offered words of encouragement especially to newly arrived refugees from Tibet. Gyalwang Karmapa reminding those newly arrived from Tibet of their special responsibility to preserve Tibetan culture while in exile. Next, Gyalwang Karmapa, who is fluent in Chinese, then delighted the Chinese-speaking members of the audience by addressing them warmly and at length directly in their native Chinese.

Departing from his usual custom, at the close of the audience His Holiness declined to give the individual blessings that he generally bestows on each person who attends public audiences with him. Rather, His Holiness commented that since he himself had a bit of a cold and many in the audience seemed to have colds as well, there would be no end to the exchanging of colds. However, His Holiness said that he had seen each of the members of the audience and they had seen him as well, and this encounter fulfilled the main purpose of coming together in public audiences, which is to cultivate a wholesome connection with each another. For his part, His Holiness said, he would keep each and every member with him, not only on this day but always, orienting all his actions to their happiness and well-being.



Gyalwang Karmapa Receives Disciples on The Eve of Departure from Bodhgaya

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Gyalwang Karmapa Attends Long Life Puja for His Holiness Dalai Lama & Receives White Tara Initiation

January 9, 2010 - Bodhgaya, India

Gyalwang Karmapa received a White Tara initiation and attended a long-life puja for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The initiation and puja marked the conclusion of a series of teachings offered by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to a large gathering in Bodhgaya. Jamgon
Kongtrul Rinpoche was also present, as was Ganden Tri Rinpoche and many other high lamas.

The five-day teaching event also included a Chenrezig initiation, which Gyalwang Karmapa also received from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. During this initiation, His Holiness the Dalai Lama requested Gyalwang Karmapa to stand in for all the members of the audience in such ritual activities as throwing flowers into the mandala and determining the attendees’ class of Buddha family.

During the course of the teachings, His Holiness conferred oral transmissions of numerous mantas, including Hayagriva and Vajrakilaya, as well as the reading transmissions of the four texts that formed the basis of the teachings: Nagarjuna's In Praise of the Transcendental (Tibetan: jigten lay depar töpa), Atisha's Lamp of the Path to Enlightenment (Tibetan: jangchup lamdrön), Longchen Rabjampa's Mind In Comfort and Ease (Tibetan: semnyid nyelso) and Tsongkhapa's Short Version of the Stages of the Path To Enlightenment (Tibetan: lamrim dü dön).




Gyalwang Karmapa Attends Long Life Puja for His Holiness Dalai Lama
& Receives White Tara Initiation

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Gyalwang Karmapa Receives Teachings from His Holiness Dalai Lama

January 5-8, 2010 - Bodhgaya, India

Gyalwang Karmapa is currently receiving teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bodhgaya. From January 5 through 9, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is conferring the teachings to a crowd of over 30,000 devotees from across the Himalayan region as well
as worldwide.

The Dalai Lama will deliver teachings on Nagarjuna's 'In Praise of the Transcendental' (jigten ley depar toepa), Atisha's 'Lamp of the Path to Enlightenment' (jangchup lamdron), Longchen Rinpoche's 'Mind In Comfort and Ease' (semnyid nyelso) and Tsongkhapa's 'Short Version of the Stages of the Path To Enlightenment' (lamrim dhuedhon).

As they receive teachings, Gyalwang Karmapa and Ganden Tri Rinpoche—the official head of the Gelugpa sect—are seated facing one another on thrones flanking the central throne of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Also receiving the teachings is His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, as well as many other lamas from other traditions.

Evident throughout the teachings, there has been tremendous consistency and harmony between the basic messages conferred by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and those conferred by the Gyalwang Karmapa—unsurprising given the close relationship between the two Tibetan spiritual leaders. On the first day of teachings, His Holiness the Dalai Lama mentioned his interest in making available bhikshuni (gelongma) ordination, a
cause the Gyalwang Karmapa also champions. On the second day of teachings, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke of the importance of studying widely and avoiding sectarian biases—both themes the Gyalwang Karmapa has emphasized during the recent Kagyu winter debates and Kagyu Monlam. On the third day, in comments aimed primarily at attendees from the Himalayan regions, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke of the need for environmental protection, noting the steps taken to that end by the Gyalwang Karmapa and voicing his support for them.




Gyalwang Karmapa Receives Teachings from His Holiness Dalai Lama

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Gyalwang Karmapa’s "Life of Milarepa" Play Performed in Bodhgaya

January 1, 2010 - Bodhgaya, India

After three years of reading the biography of Milarepa to Kagyu Monlam attendees, two hours at a time, His Holiness transmitted the entire life of Milarepa in a single, magnificent evening. In what was nothing short of a world-class theatrical event, approximately 12,000 people turned out and many viewers were watching live online to view a play of Milarepa’s life created by His Holiness and performed by actors from the Tibetan Institute for the Performing Arts (TIPA). Adding the title of playwright to a list of accomplishments that already seems impossibly diverse, Gyalwang Karmapa himself composed the script for the six-act play. Over the past months, His Holiness has also overseen stage design, rehearsed actors in his temporary residence in Gyuto and generally provided creative direction at all stages of the production. According to TIPA, this was the largest theatrical event in Tibetan history.

A multi-level stage and massive performance arena were specially constructed under the instruction of His Holiness for the play was constructed as depicting the thousand arms Chenresig. 250 Bhikshu and Bhikshuni on left and another 250 on right portraying 500 eyes and 500 arms on each side making it 1000 eyes and arms of the Chenresig. The 11 steps on the top of the stage depicting 11 faces.

High-end theatre technology was imported for the event and put to great effect. Even before the performance began, the audience burst into rounds of applause as the stage lighting subtly shifted shades while the audience slowly filtered into the arena. Multiple cameras captured the event for projection on massive screens that flanked the arena, greatly enhancing visibility for the massive crowd.

The troupe of over 60 actors and singers traveled from Dharamsala to perform for the event, held on New Year’s day. The play incorporated elements of traditional Tibetan opera into a modern theatrical format, without sacrificing a distinctly Tibetan flavor. In the interludes between acts, Tibetan monks and nuns chanted Buddhist prayers, set mostly to melodies composed by His Holiness. The evening concluded with a rousing series of folk dances from the three regions of Tibet.

Signaling the cultural importance of the play, Kagyu Member of Parliament Sherab Tharchin opened the event mentioning such events were celebrated at the conclusion of Monlam from the times of 7th Karmapa Choedrak Gyatso, and Gyalwang Karmapa himself provided the concluding remarks. Plans for a DVD of the play are already in progress.

As His Holiness himself pointed out, the performance of life stories of important spiritual figures on New Year’s Day is a deep-rooted Tibetan tradition. While the life of Milarepa has already been captured in numerous works of Tibetan literature, a number of features distinguish His Holiness’ production from other representations of the life of the great Tibetan yogi. On the most basic level, whereas generally a literary Tibetan is most commonly used in theatrical performances, His Holiness created a script in colloquial Tibetan.

This renders the play far more accessible to a general public, and even for audience members who are highly conversant with literary Tibetan, the shift to a colloquial register of speech allows for a more intimate and immediate encounter with Milarepa as a human being.

Additionally, His Holiness treatment of the character of Nangasa Kargyen, Milarepa’s mother, reflected great sympathy for her plight as a mother rendered powerless in her efforts to care for her children. With visceral scenes of the physical, verbal and psychological abuse inflicted on her children by their Uncle and Aunt, the drama made clear that Milarepa’s mother had exhausted all other options before charging Milarepa with the task of learning sorcery to bring low their enemies.

As she sends Mila off to study sorcery, she tells him, “Other people’s sorcery is the hobby of the rich and pampered. Our sorcery is the last chance of desperate people.”

Throughout, His Holiness made full use of the genre of theatre to bring Milarepa’s suffering and spiritual transformation to life, allowing the audience to connect with Milarepa’s in new and vivid ways. When Milarepa returns to his native land hoping to see his mother, he learns instead that she has long since died of a heartbreak, and her neglected corpse was left to rot in their abandoned home. Finding her weathered bones piled in the ruins of the house, Mila falls to his knees and tenderly gathers her bones in his lap. The viewing screens erected throughout the arena were put to great effect during this scene, as a close-up shot of the tears streaming down Mila’s grieving face allowed the audience to share in the depth of Mila’s emotions. At this point, tears were shed by many audience members as well.

One learned Tibetan geshe commented that while viewing this play he was moved to tears on five separate occasions, including the moment when Milarepa’s mother collapsed in anger when he arrived home drunk from the classes she had arranged in seeking to give him an education.

Another audience member—not herself a student of the Gyalwang Karmapa—noted that for her the drama brought Milarepa to life more vividly and movingly than any of the films or other performance she had observed thus far.

The drama offered moments of comic relief as well, much appreciated by the audience. When Milarepa introduces himself to Marpa as “a great evildoer from Lato,” Marpa replies: “Maybe you are a great evildoer. But why are you bragging to me about it? I’m not the one who made you commit evil deeds. What evils have you done, anyway?” prompting bursts of laughter from the audience.

A winter chill further heightened the realism and contributed to the intensity of audience involvement in the performance as well: As temperatures dropped steadily during the evening, the character of Milarepa appeared on the windswept stage, clad in scene after scene in a thin white cloth, as audience members huddled together shivering in their jackets and wool shawls. Viewers were left to reflect on the contrast between Milarepa’s unflinching mountaintop asceticism and their own responses to the relatively mild cold of the Bodhgaya night. Meanwhile, the 500 bhikshus and bhikshunis seated to either side of the stage continued to watch intently with right arms bared and shaved heads exposed to the night air.

During his concluding comments, His Holiness gazed out upon the many thousands of audience members for a moment, and then commented that the benefits of having heard Mila’s life story include protection from rebirth in the lower realms and liberation. Gyalwang Karmapa expressed how happy he was that everyone had come to the play, and with great generosity, thanked the audience for their forbearance of the cold.




Gyalwang Karmapa’s "Life of Milarepa" Play Performed in Bodhgaya

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