28th September – Tsuglakhang, Dharamsala.
This morning, the Central Tibetan Administration, on behalf of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, offered a tenshug (long-life prayer offering) to the Dalai Lama.
The heads of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism including the Bon tradition gathered together in the main temple to unanimously offer the tenshug. The four-hour-long prayer was led by the Sakya Trizin; he was supported by the Gyalwang Karmapa and Drikung Kyabgon representing Kagyu, the Gaden Tripa representing Gelug, Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche representing the Nyingma and Menri Trizin representing Bon.
This tenshug was organized at the end of the Second Special Meeting of Tibetans (September 25-28) which had been called by the Kashag and Tibetan Parliament in Exile in order to hold extensive discussions on campaign ideas and plans for action by exile Tibetans in light of the critical situation inside Tibet.
13th September – Gyuto, Dharamsala.
The Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism and revered as the Tibet's third highest lama. The Karmapa means "the one who carries out Buddha activity" and like the 14th Dalai Lama, the 27-year-old the 17th Karmapa too fled his homeland Tibet for religious and other freedoms and now lives in the Indian Himalayan town of Dharamsala also known as the de facto capital of Tibetan exiles which has come an epicenter of Tibetan Buddhism and politics far away from their homeland Tibet.
His dramatic escape from Tibet in 1999 made him a hero to exiled Tibetans and caught world attention fooling the Chinese government; he pretended to go into seclusion but instead slipped out with a handful of helpers. He was just 14, but the Tibetan movement straightway saw in him a young and a charismatic leader who balances his spirituality much with today's modernity.
The young and energetic Karmapa is the young voice of Tibet and many believe is the future face of global Buddhism especially after the current Dalai Lama passes away. Belonging to oldest school in the Tibetan Buddhism, the Kagyu - the 17th Karmapa holds the more than 900 years old lineage.
The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee is though recognized by the Dalai Lama and most Tibetans in and outside Tibet. New Delhi still restricts him from traveling to the Rumtek Monastery, his order's seat in exile in the Indian state of Sikkim near the Chinese border and also to the West where his Buddhists followers in Europe and United States, and his fans still await to seek his blessing and listen to his discourse.
Nevertheless his influence and unique position cannot be undermine, he is one of the holiest men in Tibetan Buddhism and his close attachment with the Dalai Lama are possible signs the world could see in him as a great future leader, particularly in relation to the Tibet's geopolitics. In an exclusive and rare interview, to the APA - Austrian Presse Agentur he speaks about his life, the situation inside Tibet and hopes on travel restrictions being removed so he could meet his followers in Europe.
Saransh Sehgal: Being a spiritual leader, you are also an influential figure and carry a lot of weight of Tibetans in and outside Tibet, how do you view this?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: Historically, the Karmapas already have high dignity and spiritual position - thus a role to play. For me the Tibetan people both in Tibet and exile have strong faith and I feel that I have a responsibility to serve the people and the nation. So it's both spiritually and social service.
Saransh Sehgal: The world portrays you as the future global face of Buddhism (especially when the HH Dalai Lama passes away), what are your views?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: I do not think that far. In Buddhism there is lot to learn, it's very deep and wide and I'm still learning the philosophy and practice. First it is important is to be a human being with good heart and be as a good person and next become a good practitioner so that can benefit on certain beings, this is my responsibility. But it's also not just me but lots of other Rinpoche and lamas and our Buddhist community in large, especially Tibetan community where young leaders are growing up, so it's not just me as a new face of Buddhism but maybe lots of other.
Saransh Sehgal: You are one of the most modern Tibetan spiritual leaders with an iPod, PlayStation and internet, how do you balance your spirituality and modernity?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: Sometimes I think the 21st century is more materialistic century, we need more than before. But sometimes these material things become more like obstacle to the practice because in lot of things one gets carried away and one can't focus and concentrate the practice, which is possible. But if I try to just use from those things then maybe it's not a problem. Actually, the point is one's mind, one can't just go away from the material things, it is difficult especially for a person like me, I can't escape from the society and go to some remote place. So by training our mind one can focus and not be driven by those material things.
Saransh Sehgal: What is the current situation inside Tibet?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: The situation inside Tibet is very difficult and sad, and there are lots of heartbreaking news because of many Tibetans set themselves on fire. It is tragic.
Saransh Sehgal: What are your views on the self-immolations of Tibetans which has crossed the 50 mark?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: I think that is quite difficult to say as there are lots of people, they have different ideas but I'm worried that one day it is just becoming like a number, already its 50 then maybe 70s, 80s… so just a number and not a positive influence or result, which is very sad.
We Tibetans consider the human life is very precious.
On the other I'm also wondering this period of time if the international community will support the Tibet issue more strongly or not as their there is global economics which is not so good, everyone wants strong relationship with China, so I am not sure.
Saransh Sehgal: Would you like the international community to press the Chinese government in engaging talks with the exiles?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: That is something I can't say in details, so it would be better to ask the Tibet government and Kalon Tripa (prime minister in Tibetan) Dr. Lobsang Sangay.
Saransh Sehgal: Could you tell about your relationship with His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: When I was in Tibet, although I didn't see him but have a strong connection, every Tibetans has this deep and holy regard. His Holiness is the Avalokiteshvara - the Buddha of Compassion or the living Bodhisattva. When I came to India I received lot of his teachings and guidance, the relationship became closer like a teacher and student.
Saransh Sehgal: Your Holiness, you have large followers in the Europe, if I may ask what advice you have for western practitioners.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: Immediately I have no special advice but I want to see them because they are longing for long time to see me, I also have that wish.
Saransh Sehgal: You have been denied permission to travel to the west where your teachings are being requested by your dharma centers and followers. Can you explain how this affects you personally and what would you say to those devoted to you who are feeling very disappointed due to your political restrictions?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: Personally for me it's quite sad and disappointing because when I was in Tibet I couldn't travel within the Tibetan area what the Chinese call the Autonomous region and when I actually arrived in India I thought things will change - I can travel freely, I can see what I want to see but since my arrival lot of political things and still it's not 100 percent free to travel. It's already 12 years which is a long period of time and I think I can't wait for another 12 years. I have already requested the Indian government to consider my request so I could travel freely.
Saransh Sehgal: When can Europeans see you touring the Europe? Could they followers expect something to see you in coming months?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: Nothing I can say now but I hope next year it could be possible.
Saransh Sehgal: What do you expect from Europe/the EU (maybe Austria in special) concerning the Tibet/China-conflict?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: Of course Austria and the European Union have done many things in the past and can still a lot of things but this is something I cannot advice but Dr. Lobsang Sangay head of the Tibetan government in exile can appeal.
Saransh Sehgal: You have a special affinity towards environment activism, could you us tell about it?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: I think the environmental issue is the issue of 21st century. We have done a lot of environmental damage and now it is the tipping point that we need to change our behavior. For the benefit of change behavior is the first thing that needs to be changed. In lots of people there is no realization, we have to be interconnected and dependent on natural environment and have a clear vision so that we can understand the value of nature and how important it is to protect and preserve.
Saransh Sehgal: What are your views on the first ever Tibetan athlete Choeyang Kyi winning a medal at the London Olympics but for China?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: It doesn't matter, for-example in the past when the Japanese controlled Korea that time one Korean athlete (Sohn Kee-Chung) won a gold medal for Japan but still she was a Korean.
So I'm proud about her achievement. She is the first Tibetan to win at the Olympics and I think it's a proud feeling for all Tibetans and especially in Tibetan women.
Saransh Sehgal: Do you think you will ever see your homeland Tibet and that China will ever change its policies and allow HH Dalai Lama, you and exiled Tibetans back to Tibet?
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa: I think so I will see. The exiles have opportunities as we know the world is changing very quickly in the 21st century and China should also change. I hope not than just me, His Holiness the Dalai Lama can also go back to home.
Saransh Sehgal is a contributor based in Dharamsala, India, who currently is pursuing further study in Vienna, Austria.
8th September – Gyuto, Dharamsala.
One of China's most persecuted writers, Liao Yiwu, had an audience with His Holiness Karmapa this morning at Gyuto Monastery.
" The current situation of His Holiness Karmapa and the fact of continuous self immolations of the Tibetan people has brought me here to visit His Holiness Karmapa" said the musician Liao Yiwu, he played xiao, an ancient flutelike instrument during the audience, the flutelike instrument that sustained him as a street musician during long bouts of joblessness after his release. In 1990, he was jailed as "counterrevolutionaries."He spent four years in jail after publishing a poem titled Massacre about the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Liao Yiwu, the outspoken Chinese dissident and writer, has won a top German literary prize recently.
The German book publishers' association named Liao as the winner of its annual Peace Prize. Previous winners of the $31,700 award, to be handed over during the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, include Orhan Pamuk and Mario Vargas Llosa. Liao has been living in Germany since 2011.
In the West, Mr. Liao is best known for "The Corpse Walker: Real-Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up," which was banned in China soon after it was published in Taiwan in 2001.
" I am very confident that he is the new hope for Tibet " said Mr. Liao Yiwu after meeting the Gyalwang Karmapa.
1st September – Dekyiling Tibetan Settlement, Dehradun.
His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa conferred the Tara empowerment (seng-den nag-kyi-dolma wang) and gave teaching at the Tibetan settlement of Dekyiling.
The empowerment was requested by the people of the Dekyiling settlement.
More then ten thousand people from the nearby Tibetan settlements and many students from Bhutan attended the empowerment and teaching at the Dekyiling.
Soon after completing the empowerment the Gyalwang Karmapa visited the Sakya center at Rajpur road, where His Holiness was offered mandala by Ratna Vajra Sakya and Gyana Vajra Sakya the two sons of His Holiness Sakya Trizin and had lunch together at their residence.
Later His Holiness visited the Drikung Kagyu monastery at Sahastrsdhara road. The Serbang welcomed His Holiness to the monastery and head abbot of the monastery offered Mandala to His Holiness.
His Holiness visited the "Ngoenga school" for Tibetan children with special needs, where the disabled children performed cultural dance and songs.
His Holiness also visited Samtenling Drikung Nunnery and Songtsen library.
31st August – Dekyiling Tibetan Settlement, Dehradun.
- His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa graced the 25th anniversary of Mila's Se-cham – a ritual religious ceremonial dance.
The day-long program commenced after short addresses from the organizers and the settlement head. His Holiness expressed his gratitude to the elders of the community, who have preserved this rare form of ritual religious dance (cham).
" I'm really grateful to the elders who have manage to keep this tradition of our forefathers alive so that it is possible to pass it on to the younger generation when Tibet was invaded by the Chinese, Tibetan culture and many traditions were affected and some were even lost. I hadn't heard about this Mila's Se-Cham until recently and I'm excited to see it. "
Thousands of people thronged to witness the Mila's Se-Cham and to have a glimpse of His Holiness Karmapa.
Mila's Se-Cham . This sacred dance was first, performed in celebration when Milarepa completed the task of building the nine-story house called Lhodrak Sekhar Guthok. Traditionally, the Se-Cham is performed from 12th -16th days of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar in Lhodrak, central Tibet.
His Holiness arrived at Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun yesterday. He was welcomed by a large number of well-wishers representing more then 30 groups of governmental and non-governmental organizations.
21st August -Dharamsala
His Holiness will be on a religious tour where he will give Tara empowerment and religious discourse to the Tibetan Settlement in Sahastradhara - Dehradhun, from 31st August to 2nd September. There will be a ritual dance of the Milarepa's heart-son and 52nd anniversary of Tibetan Democracy celebration - where His Holiness will be the chief of guests. His Holiness will also visit to the monasteries located in those areas.
After completing the tour of Dehradun His Holiness will visit TCV Suja school in Bir district from 3rd – 5th September where His Holiness will perform the ritual prayers (Phurab-Choega) and give teaching to the students.
8th August - Dharamsala
On the day of commemorating his first year in office as the elected head of the Tibetan people, Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay and his cabinet colleagues had an official ceremony. His Holiness Karmapa was requested to be the chief guest of the ceremony that was held at Tsuglag khang Mcleodganj.
Prior to the ceremonial speech, Central Tibetan Administration has organised a public prayer service in solidarity with the critical situation inside Tibet at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple.
His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa presided over the prayer session that was attended by officials of the exile administration and thousands of Tibetans and supporters.
Dr Sangay in his public address following the prayer session reiterated the 14th Kashag's guiding principles of "unity, innovation and self-reliance," and paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of the elder generations.
Earlier in the morning, His Holiness opened the new Tsuphu Bookstore that is located near to Gyuto Monastery at Sidhbari. The Tsurphu Bookstore aims to collect all the dharma teachings and art of His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa.
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)
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