Activities of the Karmapa January 2003
Holiness studying with
His Holiness completed this round of studies with the Venerable Tenga Rinpoche at the end of November, and began preparations for his trip to Bodhgaya and Varanasi in connection with presiding over the Great Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha (Pal Nyammay Kagyupay Sangha Monlam Chenmo) will take place from 30 December, 2003 to 7 January, 2004.
His Holiness Karmapa and the Kagyu Office have offered their sincere prayers and wishes in response to the passing of Her Majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden, affectionately known to the Bhutanese people as Gayum Angay. Her Majesty passed away on August 24, at the age of 92.
Her Majesty is the grandmother of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the current "Druk Gyalpo," who became King of Bhutan in 1974. Her family line traces back through centuries of Bhutanese history and includes the great terton Rigzin Pema Lingpa, one of the great figures of Bhutanese Buddhist history. Ashi Phuntsho Choden was married to the second Druk Gyalpo King Jigme Wangchuck, and gave birth in 1928 to the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third Druk Gyalpo and father of the current King.
During her life, Her Majesty was reknowned throughout Bhutan and Buddhist Asia for her role is supporting Bhutan's Buddhist traditions and practices. More information on the life of Her Majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden is available from this Kuensel article.
The purjang ceremony for Her Majesty was held on October 18, 2003 in Kurje Lhakhang in Bumthang, in the presence of His Majesty the King, the royal family, many honored guests and thousands of devotees. His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa and the Kagyu Office were represented at the ceremony by a delegation led by Venerable Dilyak Drupon Rinpoche. Rinpoche and numerous other representatives of the Kagyu Office and Rumtek Monastery paid their respect and homage to Her Majesty. At the Karmapa's temporary residence in Sidbhari, India, His Holiness Karmapa led prayer ceremonies throughout the day to mark the passing of Her Majesty. A report on the ceremony in Bhumtang is available from this Kuensel article.
Visit to Gopalpur and Meeting with Jet Li
His Holiness Karmapa with martial artist and actor Jet Li
In September, His Holiness Karmapa toured the Gopalpur TCV. SOS Tibetan Children's Village at Gopalpur. TCV Gopalpur is a children's community with 32 homes, educational complexes, a medical centre and hostels for boys and girls. His Holiness wil visit Uppert TCV in October.
Passing of the mother of HE Tai Situ Rinpoche
It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of the mother of His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche in August of this year. His Holiness Karmapa led prayer services and sent his wishes to the family. Drupon Rinpoche represented the Kagyu Office at memorial ceremonies at Sherab Ling Monastery, in Bir, India.
His Holiness studying with Ven. Bokar Rinpoche
His Holiness continues his studies with masters of the lineage. Bokar Rinpoche instructed His Holiness in his temporary residence at Gyuto Tantric University, in August and Tenga Rinpoche taught and transmitted lineage traditions to His Holiness in October and November.
His Holiness Karmapa with the Governor
of Himachal Pradesh
At the invitation of the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Society and area Tibetan settlements, His Holiness toured the Shimla area in July. A slideshow of photos of His Holiness during this visit is available from this site. On July 5th, His Holiness arrived and was greeted by local government representatives at Dorje Drak Monastery. On the next day, he was Guest of Honor at the Central School for Tibetans, where he was welcomed and addressed the large crowd who had come to celebrate HH Dalai Lama's birthday with the Karmapa. His Holiness gave teachings and empowerments at local monasteries, such as the Dorje Drak Monastery and Jonang Taranatha Monastery, and also made visits to the areaTibetan Senior Citizens' Home, the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Handicraft Society, as well as touring the Indian Institute for Advanced Studies. On July 8, while visiting the renowned Chail Palace Hotel, the Karmapa met with the Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje. His Holiness also visited sites in Naldehra and Kufri before returning to his temporary residence at the Gyuto Tantric College on July 9. Detailed journal of the visit
His Holiness at the birthday celebrations in Dharamsala
On June 26, 2003, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa turned 18 years old, according to the Western traditions of counting birthdays. (According to the Tibetan tradition, His Holiness was 19 years old as of the Tibetan New Year.) At Gyuto, though no large celebration was planned, many people showed up to wish His Holiness well. Offerings were made by representatives of the Tsurphu Labrang and Sherab Ling Monastery, and long life prayers were performed by a gathering of supplicants. His Holiness gave a teaching in the afternoon. In Rumtek, celebrations were presided over by HE Gyaltsab Rinpoche and a video message specially taped by His Holiness was played for the attendees.
His Holiness with football club in Dharamsala
On June 1, 2003, His Holiness was the honored guest at the opening of the Gold Cup Football tournament in Dharamsala. He gave an opening address, and watched the first day's games.
In May, His Holiness engaged in intensive studies and practice and curtailed his interview schedule. He resumed public interviews at the end of the month.
His Holiness at the Shoton Festival
In April, His Holiness attended the Shoton Festival, which celebrates Tibetan culture, and is held annually in Dharamsala. The opening of the festival on April 4th was attended by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa and other notables. On April 11th, His Holiness gave a public teaching to the attendees on the special quality of Tibetan culture and the importance of preserving the Tibetan heritage. Transcripts of His Holiness' teaching are available from this site in both Tibetan and English.
In March, His Holiness resumed his regular schedule of studies, practice, interviews, and public audiences at his temporary residence at Gyuto Monastic University in Sidbhari, India. During a question and answer session with the public, His Holiness was asked some questions by a 12 year old American boy about the war in Iraq. Following is the exchange between them:
Question: Is there a need for this war?
In general, wars inflict great harm on people.
Question: Will any good come of the war?
His Holiness: War plants the seeds of hatred and revenge. Temporarily, there might be benefits for some people, but in the long term, war creates within individuals a state of mind that is unsettled and unhappy. In brief, fighting wars brings harm to humans, to the planet, and to all the living beings who together inhabit this earth. For all these reasons, war should be avoided and peace should be sought.
With the Dalai Lama
On March 3rd, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa attended Losar celebrations with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. This year, Losar observations for the Phukluk calendar were observed one month after Losar according to the Kagyu Tsurluk calendar. (More on the different Tibetan calendar traditions)
His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa at Buddha Jayanti Park in Delhi in February
At the end of February, His Holiness returned to New Delhi on his way back to his camp at Gyuto Tantric University in Sidbhari. On February 23, at Buddha Jayanti Park in Delhi, the Karmapa gave a public teaching and offered a Chenresik empowerment. Some 6000 to 7000 persons were able to fit in the Park for the empowerment. A slide show is now available of His Holiness recent public conferral of an Avalokiteshvara ceremony in Buddha Jayanti Park in New Delhi. Some 6000 to 7000 persons were able to fit in the Park for the empowerment.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa and His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche at the Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya in January
His Holiness celebrated Losar, the Tibetan New Year of the Water Sheep, in Sarnath on February 2, 2003. The February celebration recognized New Year according to the Tsurphu calendar, which is the tradition of calendar calculation first developed by the Third Karmapa and maintained by the Kagyu lineage. (The two main Tibetan calendar calculating traditions are explained in more detail here; usually the New Year for both calendars coincide, but this year were separated by one month, as occasionally happens.)
February 16th was the first full moon after the New Year, as well as the anniversaries of the performance of miracles by Sakyamuni Buddha and of the parinirvana of Marpa Lotsawa. The Karmapa observed these important events by leading ceremonies at the stupa in Sarnath where the Buddha first turned the Wheel of Dharma.
At the conclusion of January through early February, 2003, the Gyalwang Karmapa was at the Kagyu Monastery in Sarnath. A photographic slide show of some of His Holiness's recent activities in Bodhgaya and Sarnath, India is now available here.
Sarnath, India, outside Varanasi, is one of the four most important pilgrimage spots marking the Buddha's life, and is where the Buddha first turned the Wheel of Dharma at Deer Park. While in Sarnath before Losar, His Holiness gave an Amitayus Empowerment on January 26th. On January 27th, he conferred Bodhisattva Vows on the assembly. On the 29th, he traveled through the area consecrating a number of new buildings, such as the stupa at the Universal Education Center. On the 31st and February 1st, he presided over the Mahakala Puja and other ceremonies for the New Year.
The Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha
His Holiness confers a long life blessing at the Kagyu Monlam in January 2003
In January, 2003, HH The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa presided over the conclusion of the Pal Nyammay Kagyupay Sangha Monlam Chenmo, "The Great Monlam Aspiration of the Glorious Unequaled Kagyu Sangha." The gathering of Kagyu monks from all over the world takes place annually at the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Bodhgaya, India, under the Bodhi tree, the site where the Buddha attained enlightenment. The purpose of the Monlam is to bring peace to the world and to increase happiness and wisdom for everyone.
His Holiness arrived in New Delhi on January 4th and Bodhgaya on the evening of the January 5th. He joined the Monlam on the 6th and in the afternoon conferred a Tara empowerment. On the 7th, the Monlam was graced by the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who joined the Karmapa under the Bodhi Tree for the concluding session. The Karmapa performed Tsok offerings and prayers, and joined His Holiness the Dalai Lama in extending great blessings, prayers and aspirations for an end to all suffering and that all beings without exception may quickly attain peace and enlightenment.
This was the second year in which His Holiness has presided over the Great Kagyu Monlam ceremonies. After the Monlam, His Holiness Karmapa left for Varanasi, where he will maintained a regular schedule while in residence for a few days at the Vajra Vidhya Institute, the monastery of the Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche, the Karmapa's main tutor.
From January 14-20, His Holiness returned to Bodhgaya to receive The Kalachakra ("Great Wheel of Time") Abhisheka from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. While there, the Karmapa held blessing audiences each day for the public. Many thousands of participants received blessings. The Karmapa also visited other sacred sites in Bodhgaya, such as the Buddhist temples representing Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Bhutan. Many persons attending the Kalachakra visited His Holiness in Bodhgaya, including high-ranking officials from Bhutan and many ordinary persons.
After the Kalachakra ceremonies concluded in Bodhgaya, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa both proceeded to Sarnath. On January 21st, the Dalai Lama and Gyalwang Karmapa dined for lunch together at Vajra Vidhya monastery in Sarnath, India, and spent time together. HH the Dalai Lama then departed for a short schedule in Sarnath and Varanasi before returning to Dharamsala.
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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