September 28, 2010
We now have edited video recordings of the 2010 Autumn Teachings by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa available for online viewing and download. Please click on this link or follow the “Teaching” tab on top of our main Karmapa Teachings website to view the teachings. We’ve implemented a video playlist so that each teaching session will follow by next day’s session automatically. There’s also a iPhone/iPad compatible version and audio-only mp3 version available as well.
Please send us an e-mail if you have any questions or issue to report.
His Holiness Karmapa’s Office of Communications
September 24, 2010
It is said:
As this indicates, recollecting the glorious lama's good qualities and activities of body, speech, and mind is the foundation of all the goodness there is in samsara and nirvana. For this reason, monasteries and dharma centers of the Karma Kagyu, the lineage of practice, are collaborating to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the birth, in Tresho, Kham, of the First Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa, the glorious crown jewel of the practice lineage. The celebration will open with two days of festivities at the sacred site of Bodhgaya, India, on December 8 and 9, 2010. An opening ceremony will be held on the morning of December 8, followed in the afternoon by a feast offering of the guru yoga of Düsum Khyenpa. In the morning of December 9, there will be a smoke offering ceremony, and in the afternoon, one hundred thousand Mahakala feast offerings.
Furthermore, for three days commencing on December 10, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa will grant public teachings on Atisha's Lamp on the Path of Enlightenment to the gathering of sangha and laypeople. The Kagyu Monlam Chenmo will then be held for eight days beginning on December 15.
From the Karmapa 900 Organizing Committee
September 19, 2010 - Gyuto
On the fifth and final day of his Autumn Teaching Series, the Gyalwang Karmapa continued linking wisdom and compassion, while shifting the focus from animals to human beings. To work for the welfare of animals, His Holiness observed, we need do little more than attend to their physical needs. Yet even this requires a great deal of knowledge. To much laughter, His Holiness related an anecdote about his own efforts to use a Q-tip to perform pulmonary resuscitation on a fly that had once fallen into a bowl of soup that he was eating. As difficult as it is to save animals, caring for human beings is far harder, he noted. Even should we be able to provide for their physical needs, human beings still have all sorts of complicated mental and emotional needs that are far harder to address.
In order to adequately care for the complex needs we humans have, ultimately what is needed is to be able to see into their inner dispositions and aptitudes. For this, nothing short of omniscience is required. However, His Holiness cautioned that we ought not to think that omniscience implies achieving a lofty birds-eye view of the world, or the ability to determine the exact number of insects on the planet at any given moment. Rather, omniscience is directly related to benefiting others. As such, the Gyalwang Karmapa suggested that we can aspire to attain a sort of omniscience within this life—an omniscience in which we come to know all the necessary topics, or know all that is directly needed to serve the purposes at hand.
In any case, His Holiness commented, whether we are experiencing pain or pleasure, happiness or suffering, we must always hold sentient beings in the corner of our mind and heart. In this way, we can aim gradually, step by step, towards the enlightenment that brings with it a buddha’s complete omniscience. Once we have reached that goal, the Gyalwang Karmapa said, this is not when our work ends, but when the real work of benefiting beings takes place.
The purpose of becoming a buddha is not to luxuriate in an exquisite pure realm, His Holiness stressed, but to be able to work most effectively for beings. When buddhas work, the Gyalwang Karmapa asked, where do they go? Where is their office? Their office is samsara, he replied. Our samsara is relatively small, His Holiness noted, compared to the vast samsara of all beings that buddhas voluntarily choose as their office or workshop.
With these comments, this five-day series of teaching on generating relative bodhicitta form this very embodiment of compassion neared their conclusion. The teachings were much enlivened both by His Holiness’ own recounting of numerous tales, and by his exchanges with his long-time English translator, Chak Ngodup Tsering, whom the Gyalwang
In keeping with the spirit of inclusiveness and harmony that His Holiness both encourages and embodies, the thanking mandala was offered at the conclusion of the teachings by four representatives of diverse Buddhist traditions: a great Korean Buddhist master, the abbot of the great Nyingma monastery Mindroling, a learned Kagyu khenpo and a lharam geshe from the Gelugpa tradition.
Yet even after the thanking mandala, His Holiness kept offering Dharma, as well as his own thanks to the audience. When it comes to receiving Dharma as well as to benefiting sentient beings, he said, we should not be like rich people who insist on nothing less than the latest model and most expensive goods. (The Gyalwang Karmapa noted that the Dharma equivalent is to take interest only in such elevated practices of Mahamudra or Dzogchen.) Rather, we should be like penniless beggars, who welcome with great gratitude and joy any Dharma they receive. Similarly, we can feel that we have waited many lives to have the opportunity to benefit other beings, even in small ways. In this way, we will embrace with tremendous joy and enthusiasm each and every chance we find to work for the happiness of our mother sentient beings.
In concluding, the Gyalwang Karmapa expressed his own gratitude for the opportunity to share the experience of the Dharma teachings with the audience, both at Gyuto and those listening online via Internet. During these few days, we have deepened our connection to one another, shared our joys and sorrows, and come closer in the process, he said. His Holiness then made the aspiration that this small gathering be only the beginning, and that from this beginning we extend outwards to be able to share the joys and sorrows with all beings of the world. If this should happen, his wishes will be fulfilled, His Holiness said.
One final moment of stillness fell over the hall—and surely too in the homes and Dharma centers around the world wherever the webcast reached—as those listening absorbed the sheer beauty of this closing aspiration of the Gyalwang Karmapa. With that, the cameras were turned off and people slowly headed home, like joyful beggars who had just been offered more riches than they could conceivably carry.
The Autumn Teaching Series will be made available in the future for viewing at http://www.karmapa-teachings.org/
September 18, 2010 - Gyuto
On this fourth day of the Autumn Teachings Series, His Holiness linked his discussion of compassion to the development of wisdom. Discussing the tremendous kindness of others, the Gyalwang Karmapa extended the previous days’ presentation to include all the kindness we receive from the natural environment as well. His Holiness pointed out that every single breath we inhale is the product of countless anterior causes and conditions coming together. We are the beneficiaries not just of a single lungful of the oxygen that is essential to our survival, but of a continual supply throughout our lives. The Gyalwang Karmapa then went on to relate a personal experience he had while circumambulating Gyuto some time back, in which he felt the enormity of all that nature is offering us at all times, and was filled with a sense of wonder at this fact, and with wellbeing and happiness. Often, the Gyalwang Karmapa commented, we focus on all our personal goals and projects, and on what we have failed to accomplish with our own efforts, rather than opening our perspective to the tremendous richness and goodness that nature is offering us at all times, with no effort whatsoever. Maintaining an awareness of this ever-available goodness could bring far greater contentment and joy to our lives.
Returning to the storyteller mode to which he so often turned in this teaching series, His Holiness related an incident in which a widow with a newly born child had trained his dog to bring the baby bottle to the child and otherwise look after the infant. One day the father was detained during a blizzard, and arrived home to find a trail of blood through the house. Seeing blood on the dog’s muzzle and not seeing the child, the father was filled with rage and despair. He slit the dog’s throat on the spot, only to find his infant shortly thereafter, covered with blood but otherwise unharmed. When he later discovered the carcass of a wolf near the house, it became clear to him that his kind dog had successfully warded off an attack on his child by the wolf. Connecting the narrative to our own situation, the Gyalwang Karmapa went on to underscore the urgency for us to supplement our compassion with wisdom. Though we may have a sincere wish to benefit others, as long as we fail to understand the fullness of the situation and of people’s individual aptitudes, we will fail to effectively benefit them. Having a wish to benefit is not enough, we need to develop the ability to benefit insightfully. The training that bodhisattvas engage in includes all six of the paramitas or transcendences, His Holiness reminded us, not just generosity but also tolerance, enthusiastic perseverance and wisdom.
Some times, His Holiness reflected, people feel that their own pain and sadness may increase as their compassion for others increases. This can only happen if we are merely focusing on the suffering rather than on the person, the Gyalwang Karmapa stated. We can avoid this error by shifting our focus from the suffering itself to focus instead on the person and on how to free them from their sufferings. Using the analogy of a valuable object that falls into the fire, we do not sit pondering the sadness of the situation, nor do we waste time wondering about the temperature of the fire and how much damage it is doing. Rather our thoughts will turn to the valued object and we will seek the most effective means to extract it from the fire. In this way, the primary object of our meditation on compassion is the being whom we wish to protect and care for, and not simply the forms of suffering they face.
September 17, 2010 - Gyuto
The teaching hall at Gyuto frequently rang to the sound of laughter today, as the Gyalwang Karmapa continued his Autumn Teaching Series with a third day of teaching on the generation of relative bodhichitta. Today’s serious message on the damage done by our anger and other afflictive emotions was leavened by a series of humorous stories that His Holiness related with great joy and mirth.
September 16, 2010 - Gyuto
The second day of Autumn Teachings continued today at Gyuto Tantric University in Dharamsala, with a growing number of viewers around the world also receiving the teachings via live webcast. As His Holiness continued on the topic of cultivating relative bodhichitta, he gave a moving account of the kindness of mothers. However, before beginning the presentation on mothers’ kindness, which many Buddhist texts taking as a starting point for the cultivation of relative bodhichitta, the Gyalwang Karmapa pointed out that if due to a difference in cultural background we feel some doubt or difficulties with this presentation, we should not worry. We all surely have someone who has shown us great kindness – if not our mother, then our father, or a friend, or even a dog has been kind to us. If nothing else, he quipped, we ourselves may have been greatly kind to ourselves!
His Holiness went on to describe the care he had received from his own mother during his childhood in a remote nomadic region of Tibet. Lacking such facilities as electric heaters or baby bottles, his mother nourished him with her own milk and protected him from the cold by holding him close and sharing with him the warmth of her own body. Right from the beginning, His Holiness commented, we started within our mother’s own body, and initially formed part of her very flesh and blood. The Gyalwang Karmapa added that he cannot say he personally remembers the events that took place when he was one or two years old. But since we all enter the world in a similarly vulnerable state and similarly count on our parent’s care in similar ways, we can be confident that we were all the beneficiaries of great parental care.
Though we may find it difficult to recognize or relate to others as
having been our own kind parents, His Holiness noted that when we
watch movies we are able naturally to empathize with and root for the
good guys. Since we are in fact the recipient of great kindness from
sentient beings and since we do have this capacity to connect to
others, what is it that impedes us in doing so? It is our own
self-grasping or egocentric fixation that limits our ability to
connect to others. As if trapping us in a prison with restricted
visiting rights, it is our own egocentric self-grasping that limits
whom we let in. In the end it is that simple a matter, His Holiness
September 15, 2010 - Gyuto
His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa commenced his five-day Autumn Teaching Series this afternoon to a packed hall at Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala, India. The teachings were entitled How to Generate Conventional Bodhichitta, and His Holiness is following the presentation by Lord Gampopa on the topic in his Precious Ornament of Liberation (Dagpo Thargyen). The Gyalwang Karmapa taught primarily in Tibetan, but often spoke directly in English as well. Translation was provided into English and Chinese for those in the hall, while translation was broadcast live into Polish and Spanish, and Korean and Vietnamese translators also making the teachings available in the hall for speakers of those languages.
September 12, 2010 - Gopalpur
On Sunday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurated Dorzong Monastic Institute in the presence of His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa. Dorzong Monastic Institute is a Buddhist learning centre located in a picturesque area covered with cedar forests, near Gopalpur village, some 20 km from Dharamsala.
The institute was established by the Eighth Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche, to preserve Buddhism in general and the tradition of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in particular.
September 4, 2010
The Karmapa's Office of Administration is delighted to announce that His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa has kindly decided to grant series of teachings each season.
The revised schedule of His Holiness’ Autumn Teaching is as follows:
September 15th –19th, 2010
The autumn teaching will be held at Gyuto Monastery from the 15th to 19th of September. The teaching will take place daily from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. His Holiness will teach in Tibetan, however, Chinese and English translations will be available.
The topic will be “How to Generate Relative Bodhichitta.”
To attend the teachings, advance registration will be required and will be conducted on site at Gyuto Monastery. Registration will be open from September 10th–14th, from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Passport or ID is required.
The teachings will be webcasted live, with the English and Chinese translations available on separate pages. The site for the web transmission will be on http://www.karmapa-teachings.org.
September 4, 2010 - Gyuto
His Holiness will be receiving the Kagyur Transmission from Sept 4 – Nov 4, 2010. Kyabje Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche will be giving the Kangyur transmission. 10 Rinpoches including: Kyabje Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche, Dorzong Rinpoche,2 Khenpos, and His Holiness' sister will also attend the transmission.
August 26, 2010 - Kolkata
His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa arrived at the Indian city of Kolkata on Thursday to pay tribute to Mother Teresa on her birth centenary.
His Holiness visited the Mother House in the afternoon where Sister Prema, the Superior General, Head of the Missionaries of Charity, received him. His Holiness offered a floral tribute at the place where Mother Teresa was laid to rest.
Later in the evening, His Holiness inaugurated a photo exhibition entitled "Spirit of Peace". The Exhibition has contributions from 11 international and 4 national photographers. The Karmapa was the chief guest of the Mother's birth centenary celebrations, organized by the Young Men's Welfare Society.
His Holiness has arrived back to Dharamsala on the 29th of August, completing his visit to Kolkata.
August 21, 2010 - Dharamsala
His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa led a special prayer at Tsuklag Khang temple in Mcleodgunj.
Hundreds of devotees including Tibetan Government officials, monks, nuns, and lay followers came to pay their respects and express their condolences and sympathy towards the victims and families of those affected by the natural calamity in the Drug Chu Zong area of Tibet. The calamity occurred on the 8th of August, 2010.
The prayer lasted two hours. All the attendees made deep prayers and were touched by the presence of His Holiness who was leading the prayer.
August 11, 2010
On the 11th of August 2010, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa visited TIPA (Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts) Dharamshal as a Chief Guest on the occasion of the 51st Yarkyid (Summer Festival) and celebration of its establishment. The celebration was opened by His Holiness by lighting a lamp in front of a glowing Buddha Statue, which was also a symbol of respect to those who had died in the tragic natural calamities in Tibet, Ladakh and other parts of the world.
His Holiness presented the award cups to the winner and the runners up, and other special prizes to the artists, and he blessed the gathering with the opening of a new book about TIPA’s historical records.
Judging the admirable presentation given by two troupes during the celebration, His Holiness expressed appreciation to the artists and concerned staff members for their tireless service and dedication. He further encouraged them to continue their good service in preserving Tibet’s unique culture and tradition, the combination of modern arts and the world of music.
The celebration was also graced by the presence of other dignitaries and officials of the Tibetan Government in Exile and many officials from different organizations and associations.
August 10, 2010
On the 10th of August 2010, His Holiness The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje called for a special prayer and ritual performance of Buddha Akshyobhiya. In His presence at Gyuto Temple, in His private residence Hall, prayers were conducted for the recent tragedy in Ladakh, during which more then hundreds of people had died and many had become homeless.
Two special members from the Karmapa’s Office of Administration have been sent to Ladakh with material gifts of clothes, medicines, and cash contributions to the befallen people in need.
A condolence and sympathetic message by His Holiness was also dispatched with the Office members headed for Ladakh, expressing His sincere prayers and blessings to all concerned.
August 7, 2010
I feel deeply saddened to learn of the recent calamity that struck Leh in Ladakh in the early hours of the 6th of August resulting in the loss of many lives and property. I understand the sudden cloudburst triggering raging floods have resulted in the loss of lives of more that 100 people of Leh and surrounding areas and over 400 people have been injured and many more are missing and have been rendered homeless. I have personally visited Leh and other places of Ladakh on two occasions and have been deeply touched by the warmth and hospitality the people of the region extended to me and others with me. I truly feel distressed that the peace loving people and the Buddhist community of this region have had to experience this tragedy.
On this sad occasion I would like to extend to the people of Leh and Ladakh my prayers and condolences to the bereaved families. I would also like to request all my monasteries and organizations to offer prayers and special pujas and extend any future help to the people of Ladakh who have had to suffer this tragedy.
My thoughts and prayer will be with the people of Leh and Ladakh and I pray that the pain arising out of this incident will ease swiftly and they develop the fortitude and strength to shoulder this loss and devastation.
17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje
August 6, 2010 - Gyuto
Dagyab Kyabgön Rinpoche met with His Holiness Karmapa at His Holiness' residence in Gyuto. Loden Sherab Dagyab Rinpoche belongs to the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. As "Kyabgön" (Lord Protector) of the Dagyab region in Eastern Tibet he is - like his predecessors since the 17th century - the spiritual and political head of the area. After the traditional study of Buddhist philosophy, Rinpoche graduated from the Drepung monastic college. Later Rinpoche joined the monastic communities of Nyagre Khangtsen of Ganden, and of Ratö Monastery.
July 7 - Gyuto. His Holiness performed the Gye-Dor Lha-Nga (5 Deities of Hevajra) prayer from Je-Duesum Khenpa's text Thug-Dham Nga. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, and all the monks in the Labrang, attended the prayers.
June 15 - Gyuto. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche offered Dhue-khor transmission to His Holiness, continuing last year's transmission. Gyaltsab Rinpoche arrived in Gyuto on the 15th of June.
June 7. His Holiness made a short visit to the Library of Tibetan Works and Archive.
June 7. His Holiness visited the exhibition of Tibetan traditional appliqué and embroidered thangkas at Tsuglakh-khang. Mr. Tenzin Gyaltsen Ghadong requested His Holiness’ visit.
July 6, 2010 - Dharamsala
His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa attended the 75th birthday celebration function of His Holiness Dalai Lama. Featuring a day-long cultural show, the event was held in the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglag-Khang) in the presence of the Dalai Lama.
Thousands of Tibetan exiles, joined by visiting tourists and members from local Indian and Nepali community, attended the birthday celebration.
Leaders of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, including Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister) Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament Mr Penpa Tsering, other senior officials of the Central Tibetan Administration, and local Indian dignitaries attended the function.
A group of Chinese from Australia also greeted the Dalai Lama on the occasion. Well-wishers representing local schools and the Indian and Nepali community of Dharamsala presented birthday gifts and greetings to the Dalai Lama. Tibetan, Indian, and Nepali artists performed cultural songs and dances in traditional costumes.
HH Gyalwa Karmapa
Detailed biographical information about His Holiness the 17th Karmapa is available from the drop down menus above. The materials are divided into:
17th Karmapa (His Holiness's current activities and schedule)
Background (Kagyu history regarding predictions about the 17th Karmapa)
In Tibet (His Holiness's early years, enthronement in Tibet and activity at Tsurphu Monastery)
In India (The Karmapa's escape to India and activities in India)
Reference (Official releases from the Kagyu Office and historical background documents referenced in other sections)
When not traveling, His Holiness holds regular public audiences at his temporary camp at the Gyuto Ramoche Tantric University in Dharamsala, HP, India
Kagyu Office of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa (about the Kagyu Office)
Web pages © Kagyu Office except as noted in the text of the page or on the copyright notice page (click link for copyright information); photographs, drawings and images © Kagyu Office except as noted in the text of the page or on the copyright notice page (click link for copyright information)
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